Galleri Riis Stockholm 2014 5th April
Styx
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The exhibition Styx takes the tale of the ferryman Charon as its point of departure, myths about the rivers in the underworld and the battles that took place around those waters. In this exhibition Fredrik Söderberg's detailed and skilfully executed watercolours are at the same time chaotic, swarming and strict. All the grand stories seem to merge in these works where he depicts many of history's most iconic tales along with architectural historical paraphrases.

The new works deal with differences and oppositions, order, chaos, movement and contemplation. There doesn’t seem to be any systematic or hierarchical order in the paintings, all destinies and historical legends are woven together. He describes them as a stage, a reflection on how the gods perceived humans in the myths, as game pieces, beings that could be used for their own purposes. In these works Söderberg wants to portray the archetypal conduct of a hero, and reproduces various sacrificial scenes. An image he has previously made use of, King Domalde from Carl Larsson painting Midvinterblot, reappears in one of the paintings. The king sacrifices himself for the country to achieve a better harvest - a classic mythological motif. The well-known image of Perseus holding the head of Medusa is also included in one of the works and William Blake's image of Los entering the tomb is depicted as a fragment, the image in which he carries the sun.

Söderberg portrays the idealized, his works are beautiful but the grotesque and sometimes violent and bloody is always present – in the shade of good. In it lays a duality that creates excitement and desire.

On the occasion of the exhibition, we will publish the richly illustrated book Styx, with a conversation between Fredrik Söderberg and Sara Walker.

Kshatriya, 2104
Watercolour on paper 97 x 66 cm


Alfa, 2013
Watercolour gold-leaf on paper 30,5 x 23 cm


Atlas, 2014
Watercolour gold-leaf on paper 98 x 68 cm


Styx, 2014
Watercolour gold-leaf on paper 98 x 67 cm




Galleri Riis Oslo 2013
Jag är den som Begraver Gudar i Guld och Ädelstenar –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––


This is Fredrik Söderberg's first exhibition in Galleri Riis Oslo, and also his most extensive presentation of recent paintings so far, following up on some of the themes in his exhibition in our Stockholm gallery last year. Söderberg's work is largely inspired and informed by the spiritual, the esoteric and the occult, with references to such Buddhist traditions as tantrism and other oriental teachings. The western occult movements appearing at the end of the 1800s and beginning of the 1900s, with several of their initially obscure yet eventually influential protagonists, have also been a major source of inspiration and field for subjective mapping in Söderberg's oeuvre.
The title of the forthcoming exhibition (I am He who Buries the Gods in Gold and Gems) is a quote from Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961), central to many of the works, especially in a series of monumental diptychs depicting the controversial psychiatrist, philosopher and mysticist’s houses in Küsnacht and Bollingen outside Zürich. Söderberg views the stylized architecture of these houses as vessels containing Jung´s ideas, his activities and knowledge lodged in them. In a striking large-scale portrait of Jung he is embedded in various religious cultures and mythologies growing wild.
Another contemporaneous reference is the founder of anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), visible in the exhibition through a series of works interpreting his representatives of humanity Lucifer, Ahriman and Christ.
In many of the works a cosmic abstract expression is paired with an accurate figurative and archetypal style, incorporating pure and intricate mandala images inspired from Tibetan Buddhism and Native American nature religion and traditional crafts, all meticulously executed in watercolour, mineral colours and gold leaf.
For Söderberg the artistic work is a tool for meditation and concentration, connecting with inner life. Through the use of genuine colour pigments and precious metals combined with labour-intensive execution he approaches the alchemical and magical craft which imbues the finished artwork.







Installation view from the gallery


Der Menschheits Representant, 2013
Watercolour, gold-leaf and palladium leaf on paper 150 x 100 cm


Dakota Building with Peacock Spirit, 2013
Watercolour and gold-leaf on paper 196 x 146 cm



A Warning from the Sun, 2013 
Watercolour on paper 101 x 101 cm

Paintings for upcoming show in Oslo, 10 October 2013 _________________________________________________________________________________


C.G Jung Portrait, 2013
Watercolor on paper 156 x 112 cm 


Meditation 38, A Rotating Sphere, 2013,
Watercolor on paper 54 x 54 cm 


Ether V, 2013
Watercolor on paper 67,5 x 52 cm


Paintings Summer 2013
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Das Haus des C.G Jung mit Geist / Der Traum V, 2013 
Watercolour and gold-leaf on paper 196 x 144 / 196 x 144 cm


Galleri Riis Stockholm 2012
At the Feet of the Guru
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Installation view from the gallery



Das Haus des C.G Jüngs mit Luzifer als Morgenstern / Der Traum II, 2012 
Watercolour and gold leaf on paper 197 x 116 cm / 196 x 115 cm


Ether 1, 2012, 74 x 54 cm. Black Square, 2012, 74 x 54 cm. Ether IV, 2012, 74 x 56 cm. 
All watercolour on paper



New paintings Spring 2012
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Snowdrops from a Curate´s Garden I, The Hidden Landscape of Subconscious I, 2012
Watercolour on paper 76 x 54 cm, 33 x 23 cm 

Snowdrops from a Curate´s Garden III, The Hidden Landscape of Subconscious III, 2012
Watercolour on paper 54 x 74 cm,  55 x 45cm 

Pan II, 2012
Watercolour and leafgold on paper 74 x 54 cm



Meditation 27, 2011
Watercolour and gold-leaf on paper 13 x 13 cm


Meditation 30, 2011
Watercolour and gold-leaf on paper 24 x 18 cm




Paintings from the book White Stains, by Aleister Crowley
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Edited and with an introduction by William Breeze. Illustrated by Fredrik Söderberg.

English poet-magician Aleister Crowley published White Stains in 1898, an era of intense creativity for the budding magus-to-be. The original edition of a mere 100 copies was printed in Amsterdam with the help of Leonard Smithers (publisher of Beardsley, Wilde, Burton et al). Part of the edition was later “appropriated” and destroyed by English Customs officers, due to the erotic nature of the poems. In a Victorian Zeitgeist that found Oscar Wilde intensely shocking, Aleister Crowley of course took everything one step further. The virile sexual force stemming from Crowley’s pen is but one of his trademark traits here. In this early collection, we also find examples of his remarkable wit, a thorough understanding of psycho-sexual dynamics, bombastic expressions of lyrical love, as well as his beloved Swinburnean structures of classical poetry. White Stains really is Crowley at his youthful best.
This edition contains six stunning watercolour paintings by Fredrik Söderberg, reproduced in full colour. Here's an example from the book:




Adul-Rune 
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Adulrunan III, Adulrunan IV, 2011. Diptych
Watercolour and gold-leaf on paper 150 x 100 cm


Adulrunan II, 2011
Watercolour and gold-leaf on paper 74 x 54 cm


Portrait of Pan, 2011
Watercolour and gold-leaf on paper 74 x 54 cm


Adul-Rune, 2011
Watercolour on paper 32 x 24 cm



Pictures from the exhibition A Journey Back and Forth 
at Historiska Museet, Stockholm Sweden 2011
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Interior from the collectors room 2011, lead glass, stuffed animals,
water colours, human bones, etc




Paintings
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                                              Night Spirits, 2009
                                    Watercolour on paper 50 x 28 cm

Day Spirits, 2009
Watercolour on paper 50 x 28 cm




C.G . Jungs House with Mandala, 2011
Watercolour on paper 76 x 56 cm
                                            
Johannes Itten Composition, 2011
Watercolour on paper 64 x 54 cm



The Temple in the Morning, 2011
Watercolour and gold-leaf on paper 76 x 56 cm




The Anatomy Sexuality IV - Franz von Bayros Dream, 2010
Watercolour on paper 150 x 110 cm



The Anatomy of Sexuality III, 2010
Watercolour on paper 74 x 54 cm

        
        
The Anatomy of sexuality-abraxas, 2010
Watercolour on paper 74 x 54 cm



The Anatomy Sexuality V - The Fountain of Fortune, 2010
Watercolour on paper 150 x 110 cm



Konx Om Pax, 2011
Watercolour on paper 74 x 54 cm

                                       

Summer Solstice II, 2010 
Watercolour on paper 54 x 74 cm




Gallery Milliken, Stockholm 2010
We Pray to the Sun and Hail the Moon 
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Installation view from the gallery


Fay çe que vouldras. 

However, we know that in our desire and others' expectations after some time will be a general reformation of both divine and human things. For, before sunrise, the sky illuminated by the dawn light.
                                                                                                                    Fama Fraternitatis, 1614

Above all, one must soberly accept Fredrik Söderberg’s new paintings as the sacred atlas of his spiritual search for an answer to life’s fundamental question: “What happens after death?”  In Judaism, Christianity and Islam the divine resurrection of human beings by means of a spiritual awakening and transformation into a life after death, is a central doctrine.  And while Söderberg shares this spiritual optimism with conventional religions, he finds his comfort within the realm of the esoteric and occult, especially from the teachings and prophecies of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a complex fusion of teaching and ritual magickal practice that brought together Kabalistic cosmology, the Rosicrucian initiation system, ritual magick, Egyptology, astrology, tarot, and various other occult lineages.  To stare into his paintings therefore, is to see the hand of a seeker, a spiritual artist at work, as much as it is to gaze into Luca Signorelli’s Resurrection of the Flesh, 1499-1502.  In Symbols and Tools, 2009 we see a complex array of iconography including the Rose Cross Lamen, but far from an inert visual inventory, the iconography has the spiritual power to sink Söderberg into his occult trance life as he paints them.  In this painting, as well as others like Meditation 7, 2009, the symbols of the Golden Dawn literally instrumentalize his spiritual search. Of course the Golden Dawn has its own history around personalities like Aleister Crowley, the infamous occultist, drug addict, social provocateur, and sexual libertine who the British press demonized as “the wickedest man in the world,” but this doesn’t rub off on Söderberg.  He makes solemn claims for his art spawning alternative experiences, especially where the mysteries of life are concerned. In this sense Söderberg’s art discovers new spiritual vistas, while being earnest, proactive, pre-scientific, and post-critical.  His art is allergic to irony.  Seeing beyond his untethered life, the heart of Crowley's writing tells us True Will is our essential spiritual core as we move from a relatively unenlightened state to a state of pure selfhood. "Do what thou wilt" was Crowley’s moral and spiritual compass, yet he never meant it to refer to the outer emotional self, but rather to the sacred core of personal divinity.  His conception of God was as a force within oneself.  Söderberg has found faith in these basic tenets, and his art thus becomes the face to his search for spiritually.  Why not?  Do you have a better alternative?    

Ronald Jones, Stockholm 2010





Pictures related to the works of Aleister Crowley, from left to right Crowley in his ceremonial robe, Version of The Lamen made by the Master Therion 1920-1930, Magical designs of the Vault of the Adepts used by the Golden Dawn, Lam an extra-terrestial Intelligence with whom Crowley was in astral contact with, Watercolour on paper, different sizes, 2010



Works related to the history of Ahriman and a version of a spirit made by Ithell Colquhoun, and a portrait of a young Austin Osman Spare, Watercolour on paper, different sizes, 2010



Pictures related to the British history of witchcraft and paganism, Watercolour on paper, different sizes, 2009 - 2010


Pictures related to the British history of witchcraft and paganism, Watercolour on paper, different sizes, 2009 - 2010


Pictures related to the British history of witchcraft and paganism, Watercolour on paper, different sizes, 2009 - 2010


Pictures of tarot card sketches, and a Tattwa calculator, Watercolour on paper, different sizes, 2009 - 2010


AOS - London 1956, 2010
Watercolour on paper 76 x 56 cm



AOS - The Black Brother II, 2010
Watercolour on paper 76 x 56 cm



AOS - The Black Brother, 2010
Watercolour on paper 172 x 128 cm



Avebury, 2009
Watercolour on paper 21 x 34 cm



Ritual II, 2009
Watercolour on paper 51 x 51 cm



Symbols and Tools, 2008
Watercolour on paper 68 x 50 cm



Treat the Gods as if they Exist, 2010
Watercolour on paper 178 x 138 cm



The Beginning of Magick II, 2009
Watercolour on paper 165 x 119 cm



In the Beginning of 1900 II, 2009
Watercolour on paper 105 x 75 cm





AOS III - The Black Spirit in my Dreams, 2010
Watercolour on paper 105 x 75 cm




Meditations
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Meditation 1, 2009
Watercolour on paper 18 x 18 cm



Meditation 8, 2009
Watercolour on paper 14 x 14 cm


Meditation 12, 2009
Watercolour on paper 11 x 11 cm 
 

Meditation 23, 2009
Watercolour on paper 17 x 17 cm

Meditation/Stele 7, 2009
Watercolour on paper 27 x 17 cm





Schnittraum//Lutz Becker, Cologne
Everythings Entity
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Installation view Gallery Schnittraum//Lutz Becker, Cologne








Magasin 3 Stockholm Konstall 2008
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Installation view 2008

Out of Light Out of Life, 2008
Watercolour on paper 76 x 56 cm


Knights of Abstraction, 2008
Watercolour on paper 76 x 56 cm


Green Ghost, 2008
Watercolour on paper 76 x 56 cm


Hay-making, 2008
Watercolour on paper 76 x 56 cm


Magick Flower Circle, 2008
Watercolour on paper 76 x 56 cm

























© FREDRIK SÖDERBERG