In recent years Lars Lerin has cemented his position as one of Sweden’s most loved artists. People queue for hours to see his exhibitions and the television and radio programmes he participates in attract millions of viewers. We feel that we know him; his openness gives voice to our own shyness.
Lerin, however, is not only a very popular and folksy guy from Värmland, he is a passionate, obsessed and serious artist. Widely regarded as the premier watercolourist of the Nordic region, he also works with graphic art and photography as well as text.
“Lars Lerin’s watercolours and Liljevalchs’ beautiful galleries are the perfect combination. The importance and greatness of his art will be supremely evident to all and sundry, were it not so already. It’s as if Lerin has come home,” an emotional Mårten Castenfors, Director of Liljevalchs, explains.
Lars Lerin was born in 1954 in Munkfors, Värmland where he grew up. He received his artistic training at Valand Academy in Gothenburg. Currently he lives in Hammarö, outside Karlstad. Karlstad is also the location of the museum Sandgrund Lars Lerin, inaugurated in 2012, which houses a permanent exhibition of his works.
In addition to holding exhibitions at galleries and museums in Sweden, the Nordic countries, France, Germany and the United States, Lars Lerin has published some 30 books in which he speaks of meetings and environments from his many travels and of life at home.
“Lars Lerin is a thematician. It is easy to follow his biographical journey through his motifs: Värmland, Lofoten, Egypt and Syria,” Mårten Castenfors writes in the extensive foreword to the exhibition catalogue.“The exhibition at Liljevalchs is an attempt to concentrate on that which testifies to his passion. What we have looked for is his obsessiveness, which, noticeably often, finds its form in mellow moods, which, however, should not be personified. Lerin may paint darkly but when he paints he is not sad, but rather happy.”
The catalogue boasts reproductions of over 200 paintings and sketches, in addition to Mattias Lindbäck’s richly detailed photographic portraits from the artist’s studio.
Captivated by Lars Lerin’s pictorial world, this year’s Tranströmer Prize winner, poet Eva Runefelt contributes 22 newly written poems to the exhibition catalogue, to be enjoyed independently or in dialogue with the paintings.
“Eva Runefelt is a poet who embodies the written word, who is in language, or rather, who is language, in the same way Lerin is in his material. They are so different, but so alike in their obsession and responsive search for the exact formulation, in words or in images,” Mårten Castenfors concludes.
Opening hours during the exhibition period: Monday–Thursday 10.00–18.00, Friday-Sunday 11.00–17.00. Entrance fee: SEK 80, free entry for under 18s. Free entry for all on Mondays.