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MUNTHE ART MONDAY: Pia Fonnesbech

Name: Pia Fonnesbech
Profession: Painter and sculptor
Website: piafonnesbech.dk
Instagram: @piafonnesbech

Introduce yourself and what you do.
My name is Pia Fonnesbech. I am a painter and sculptor. I am educated mainly in Stockholm. among other things in the painting line at Konstfack, but I have also been a guest student at the Academy in Copenhagen and Gothenburg.

I love to paint, and I am obsessed with colors and especially the combination of complementary colors. Right now, I am in love with the combination of violet and green. I work very coloristically and I like working with chaos in my pictures and lately I have started to dissolve the space.

For the last 15 years I have been working with still lifes. The things I have in my still lifes are things that symbolize life and death. My pictures are a tribute to life, but at the same time also a reminder of the chaos life also is. That we cannot control everything. We may think that life is in a way and then we turn around a corner and then cut something that changes our conditions or our way of thinking. Life is fragile.

I am also very fascinated by patterns and I use them a lot to create music in my pictures. I always have a project where I have made some rules for how the picture should be built on and I try to constantly develop with painting and become a better and better artist.

Which artists inspire you and who would you like to own a piece by?
The artist who inspires me the most is Sigrid Hjerten. She was Swedish but went to Matisse’s Painting School and was his favorite student. She is a talented colorist. She mostly painted pictures from a female universe. I would love to have one of her pictures at home. Paula Modersohn-Becker is also very inspiring and was very experimental and staged herself in her paintings. She was German but went to Paris and was very inspired by the French painters of the early 20th century.

Has anything happened to gender equality in art since you started in the art industry?
Not much has happened and I'm sorry to say that. The difference today is that we have become aware of it, but there is more talk than action. When I was young and going to art schools, I thought female and male artists had the same conditions, but when I look back now, I can see that a large number of very good female artists that I have met have either stopped or are working a lot.

I have met many male artists who were not very good, but who today live by their art. The advantage for them is that since they can work as full-time artists, they quickly get better. Of course, there are also many great male artists.

It is common that female artists have several jobs. It is also not a good idea to have children as a female artist and I know some women, who had chosen not to, because of it. That is a very high price to pay.

Very little female art is still being bought for the museums. An artist is a white man. It sits deep within us. I was at a lecture at Christiansborg in CPH, where a man from Asia presented his research on the conditions of female artists all over the world. He had made a very beautiful and certainly expensive book. I looked up at the front of the book to see who had made all the drawings in the book. It was a white man.

Imagine that an Asian man who has been researching the conditions of female artists for four years anyway chooses to use a white man. Unfortunately, I think it will take many years because it sits so deep inside us. I am clearly in favor of quotas that they have in Norway and I do not believe that the quality will be worse for that reason and I am fully aware that the museums will be more interesting. There are lots of talented female artists out there and I'm happy with your project Art Monday, which makes female artists visible.

How has Covid-19 affected your work?
During this year, nature has become a bigger part of my pictures. I choose to go in insulation in my house in Sweden, which is where I can be completely alone with my own mind.

I think many of us have become even more climate conscious by Covid-19 and that might be a good thing coming out of the pandemic. If we really understand that we need to take care of our environment and do something about it and not just talk.

I lost three shows due to Covid-19. One was a separate exhibition in London. Denmark closed three days before my vernissage, so I had to stay home and could not attend the vernissage and two days after the opening, the exhibition closed, and everything came to a standstill.

I hope that I get a new exhibition in London, because it is hard to get a foothold inside the galleries in London. Meanwhile, the curator became head of the highly acclaimed Marlborough Gallery. So of course, I hope to be able to exhibit there. I should also have exhibited in Norway and that exhibition was also canceled. Covid-19 has made it difficult for artists. Many have lost much of their income.

Each Monday we bring you an interview with a female artist. Follow MUNTHE ART MONDAY.