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NORWEGIAN ARTS: Anatidaephobia by Martine Poppe at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery

Analogical Change #3

Anatidaephobia by Martine Poppe

at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery

October 17 to November 16, 2014


Born in Olso in 1988, painter Martine Poppe went from trawling for food in Tesco’s bins to being discovered by Charles Saatchi, who fell head over heels for her mesmeric, reflective and haunting artwork.


Her new exhibition at Wandsworth’s Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery examines the relationship, and distance, between the original subject and the finished work by using meticulously layered brushstrokes to obscure the photographs her pieces are based on. The overall effect is surreal and compelling, like looking at reality from a distance, through a gauze.

Poppe’s work plays with perspective and the nature of her artwork shifts depending on how you look at it, offering up secret glimpses of hidden motifs from certain angles.

To get the most from her paintings, try moving in a semi-circle around them. Head-on, you can see the the main subject of the work, but move to the side, and a watery landscape appears, while the image in the main photograph disappears into the brushstrokes. Look from behind, and Poppe’s use of transparent fabric ensures you see a completely different image.

By making the viewer’s gaze an active participant in the way the artwork is displayed, Poppe makes sense of her title: ‘anatidaephobia’ is a tribute to Far Side cartoonist Gary Larson, and is defined as ‘the persistent fear that one is being continuously watched by a duck’. In fact, catch one of Poppe’s paintings from a particular position and you might just see one looking back at you.