Ernst Billgren, Born 1957, Sweden
The Gate Between East and West, 2010
Ernst Billgren is a Stockholm-based artist who works across a variety of media: sculpture, painting, text, sculpture and glass. Billgren plays with familiar art historical motifs in his work, in particular animals and mythological subjects inspired by the landscape paintings that adorned 18th-century European salons, focusing on creatures in frozen motion as they appear to move from one element to another. Committed to making modern art with traditional craft techniques, Billgren challenges the notion of a distinction, between fine art and the decorative arts, between good taste and bad.
At Donum Billgren has created two large-scale bronze works, both in the lost wax technique: the massive bronze ‘Pegasus’ (2017) appears to be rearing out of water’s edge at the far side of the pond, is a more recent addition to Donum. His first work here is the ‘Gate Between East and West’ in the garden near the Donum Home, a smaller version of which is in the home of Allan and Mei Warburg, the owners of Donum. This work refers to a connection between East and West, Europe and China, a reference both to the Warburgs’ marriage and to their wider interests in connecting these two cultures in their life and their art.
Ernst Billgren studied at the Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg (1982–1987) and at Birkagården, Stockholm (1979–1981). Since 1997 he has been a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Stockholm. He has had numerous solo shows in Sweden as well internationally. His works are included in numerous public collections, such as Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Kiasma Museum, Helsinki; Malmö Konsthall, and the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo.