Julia Adelgren

Roseate Nights

15 March 2413 April 24

Julia Adelgren’s paintings are an address to the sensual, characterised by a prismatic palette - gothic purples and saccharine pinks - and a distinct use of world-building, blending the fantastical and idealistic with a quiet, earthy solipsism.

Made pensively over a period of eighteen months, the paintings in Roseate Nights adhere to their own intuitive logic. Though inspired partly by the arboreal landscape of Copenhagen, where Adelgren’s studio is based, and also partly by the aimless, exploratory nature of dreams, for the most part, the works are an exercise in imagination and childlike wonder, born out of the ‘application of paint itself’.

Adelgren’s use of landscape is suggestively allegorical, drawn intuitively to the mythic and the ideal. In Aerial, a mermaid leans on a rock, pensively; children explore sublime viewscapes and mountainous coves; trees glow magically, butterflies twinkle, shadows sparkle. Though each work has its own distinct tableau, like chapters in a fairytale compendium, or postcards from a paradisaic destination, the same world-building thrums throughout. The works span corners of a world familiar, but unknown: sunsets rippling over pearlescent water; the sky through gnarled woods; a riverbank, heady and red. Here, the works take on a strange tense, feeling heavy with the memory of places that never existed, simulacral.

Adelgren’s paintings are not always peopled, and when they are, they are enigmatically silhouetted. In Hover through the Fog, a majestic horse gazes pensively into an apocalyptic sky; in Predestination, a child curls embryonically, encircled within a glowing forest-scape, branches stretching with maternal touch. Much like the allegorical impulse of Romantic painters such as Casper David Friedrich, Adelgren’s paintings invite viewers to direct their gaze towards the ‘metaphysical dimension’, to step into the exploratory shoes of the adventurer, taking on, by proxy, a state of childlike wonderment. So too, do the works' limited palette and hazy, evocative brushwork create a suggestive gaze. Using predominantly purplish blacks against a palette of reds and pinks, the paintings’ heavy use of silhouette lends the shadows a synecdochal power, revelling in the possibility of darkness. If Caspar David Freidrich’s work were described as a celebration of ‘divine creation, set against the artifice of human civilization’, Adelgren’s sensuously indulge in the iridescent imaginary, underscoring normality’s monochrome.

The exhibition takes its title, Roseate Nights, from a poem by Baudelarie. Much as Baudelaire’s poetry recaptures memory and desire through the senses, Adelgren’s blooming works delight in their evocativeness, luxuriating in memory without origin, inconclusive dreams, and perpetual possibility.

Written by Lydia Earthly


Julia Adelgren Bio
Born in 1990 in Stockholm, Sweden Lives and works in Copenhagen

2014 – 2016 Bergen National Academy of Art
2016 - 2020 Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, in the class of Prof. Tomma Abts

Recent exhibitions include, 2023 ACT IV - The Balcony, Ombrella, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2022 Dragonfly Den, MAMOTH, UK, 2022 A Room of Ones Own, Clint Roenisch Gallery, Toronto, Canada.

  1. Roseate Nights