Ditte Ejlerskov’s paintings use the most traditional of subject matters. She paints still lives, landscapes, portraits, the female nude and the choreographed history painting.Yet while apparently following the conventions of representational painting, she aims to challenge its established languages and unsettle its assumptions.
Ejlerskov often returns to the same subject, but change the approach each time. Some paintings are purely experiments in composition, light, colour and technique. In other works, she chooses to capitalize on the tension between subject matter and medium – her brush strokes both affirming and contradicting what they depict. In Ejlerskov’s work she uses a wide variety of painterly styles – not to give a hit parade of different methods – but in order to examine what kind of technique can host what kind of atmosphere. In short, she is in her practice looking at what paint can be made to say and do – but also what it has said and done – and how that can be applied on canvas today. Her interest is to question the activity and history of painting as well as being confined in it.
When deciding to do a painting she seldom just start on one canvas. She almost always thinks in multiple frames leaving the idea hanging between the frames in the installed exhibition. For that reason Ejlerskov’s work is never finished until it is installed. She is more interested in building up a situation in a series of paintings than trying to form a statement in one painting.
No matter how attracted she might be to the strong approaches by other painters in history Ditte Ejlerskov is not interested in developing a certain style and be a producer of signature work herself. To her it is not possible to communicate a question through painting just by using a standard format. This problem has been an ambivalent brainteaser for her since she admires the play with visuals and the consistence of these artworks. At the same time she also wishes painting could be more than that. For her at least painting is more than that. Working out a subject matter in paint is however not only an attempt to communicate a question. It is motivating for her to try to find the exact format for this question. Painting then becomes an examination of what kind of technique can host what kind of atmosphere, as mentioned above. In that situation politics, emotions and the physicality of paint is cooperating with one concurrent goal – to make a functional painting.
In Ejlerskov’s studio she establishes sceneries using different images – each image and each stylistic method on a separate canvas. She enjoys the building of different visual research achieves, but in the end “meaning” is created in the installation of the show. The installation is the key to understanding her process. She paints whatever and however she likes – and by doing so there is a lot of spill energy and spill material – and then the play of making sense of it all is by sorting, trashing and installing the show. She simplifies the energy and “publishes” the work.
Her work focus on the social, psychological and political relationships between the canvases more than it focuses on a visual standard for communication and even a thematically point. Ejlerskov is a sampler of things and she allows herself to forget the pressure of having to perform originality. As she puts it, “originality today is when you make a choice. For me decision represents “work” as much as the actual implementation of a painting”.