Anker Mortensen (b. 1961) is one of the most renowned people of his generation and belongs to the absolute elite of Faroese art in general.
With colour on canvas Anker Mortensen tries to visualize the invisible. The starting point for the artist is traditional Faroese culture as can be seen in his titles which refer to folk art, children’s rhymes, hymns and verses from the Bible as well as locations and weather conditions.
An example of these titles is the work by Faroese folk-artist Díðrikur á Skarvanesi “Maanens Duuer” (Moon Doves) from the 1830s. Other titles are more literary such as the opening words to the Faroese children’s song “Row out to Sea” and the Danish baroque poet Thomas Kingo’s psalm “Like the Golden Sun Ascending”. Several of the titles are Bible verses from the Gospel of John: “The wind blows wherever it pleases”. Other titles refer to the promontory Reynsmúli at Kirkjubøreyn, located between Torshavn and Kirkjubø, and various descriptions of wind strength.
With Anker Mortensen the Faroese world is transported into an abstract universe, where shapes and moods can refer to the starting point, but the diffuse and changeable whole is characterized by beauty, idea and spirituality. The cultural roots connect with a meditative being in a magic – often blue – space of colour.
With their reference to an otherworldly reality Anker Mortensen’s art relates to the old icons which also sought to depict a higher realm. In more recent art history his paintings are in relation to the magical visionaries like the Swiss modernist Paul Klee and the Danish Cobra-painter Carl Henning-Pedersen. Regarding the imaginative a relation can be seen to Faroese artists like William Heinesen and especially the surreal works by Elinborg Lützen.