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About the Artist
Born in Sweden in 1979, Kristoffer ‘Krs’ Kullengren graduated from the top University on Asian culture SOAS in London 2004, Kristoffer Kullengren, is a multicultural hexalingual Swedish artist and a representative of contemporary Nordic artist who expresses and connects cultures through art in Asia. Owning to his new voice, his art has a unique expressionistic style that is widely accepted by the new generation of art audience in China and Japan.
Krs has done more than ten solo exhibitions in China and Japan in the past 3 years. The exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Museum of Xi An, Yunjian Art Museum in Shanghai, Bai & Yun Art Museum in Moganshan, and Iwasaki Art Museum in Japan inspired much with local influence. The artist is also an avant-garde advocate in championing art into new spaces than galleries and museums. Previous partnerships with Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group, BMW Shanghai, Danish Design Centre, IKEA China and Mizuno Japan were successful in expressing art and culture to a wider audience. Because of his unique life experience, many of Kristoffer Kullengren’s works are reflections on the cosmopolitan life with a philosophical pondering into social issues and humanity. His unique expressionistic style gives his art a signature voice and is loved by the new generation of art audience. His themes which are often philosophical and thought provoking also manages to inspire the playfulness in our hearts through its naiveite. Topics range from his daily experiences through his travels and the people that he meets along the way to a wide range of social issues. Technology, humanity, love as well as nature are themes that are commonly reoccurring.
His imagery lives in the world of dreams which comes through is his art which is often semi-abstract letting the mind float and find its own meaning in the symbols that reoccur. In his own words his art ‘lives in that place in the morning where you are not sure if you are awake or still dreaming’ Krs loves to travel and has a knack for finding nteresting individuals and adventures wherever he finds himself. From hair raising taxi rides in Beijing to selling cabaret tickets in Dublin or spending time with Mexican street preachers in San Diego there is always a story to be told.
Dream is My Voice Kristoffer Kullengren
Whilst I enjoy the company of others, I prefer getting lost in fantasies of my own creation, dreaming away, being a swashbuckling pirate or a pilot flying an old airplane across the oceans.
With a thirst for knowledge and the uncontrollable urge to create, I left Sweden and went to the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies and the University of Waseda in Japan to study human history and philosophy. That is why, in my art, there are philosophies, stories, places and people that have made my life.
When I create, I believe: That all humans are equal and beautiful and carry the seed for greatness inside. That we can achieve what we can dream. That everything is cyclical in nature.
There is a constant battle for the human soul, and I need to decide where I stand. I believe in connection rather than friction, unity rather than division. That is why I chose to stand in the light and carry the dreams through my art.
2017 Mar: “Love & Dreams” – Homeless Gallery, Shanghai
2017 Nov – 2018 Feb “Love・Nature ・Balance” Bai & Yun Art Museum, Moganshan
2017 Nov: “Love・Nature ・Balance” Deqing Museum, Deqing
2017 Nov: “Love & Dreams” Artree Gallery, Shanghai
2018 Feb: “Love & Dreams” Commune 2nd Tokyo
2018 Apr: “Love & Dreams” Quattro Gallery, Japan
2018 May: “Love Knows No Bounds” with Danish Embassy, the artwork symbolizing the 10 years’ strategic partnership between China and Denmark, Yu Jian Gallery, Shanghai
2018 July: “Fading Humanity” – Yun Jian Gallery, Shanghai
2018 Oct – Nov: “Between Dream & Reality” – Xi An Contemporary Art Museum
2019 Jan: “Between Dream & Reality” – Artree Gallery, Shanghai
2019 Jan: “Between Dream & Reality” – BMW Experience Center, Shanghai
2019 May: “Decoding Dreams”, first digitally-gamified art exhibition – Mercedez-Benz arena, Shanghai
2019 Aug: “Art Q” for post-disaster community – Iwasaki Art Museum, Japan
2019 September: “The World of Dreams” – Tokyo Love Hotels Gallery, Tokyo
2019 November: “The Fika collection” with 447,000 live viewers for art, Shanghai
2019 December: “Blue & Yellow” Swedish Embassy Tokyo
2020 February “Valentine Love” – Ol Gallery Tokyo
What the critics say:
“The Truth of ‘Karumi’ in the Balance Between the Cultures of East and West, Love and Death, Beauty and Filt”
Bijutsu-Techo Editor, Tokyo, Japan
Hearing that Kris was holding an exhibition in Shanghai this May I decided to head over there. I saw him surrounded by people of all nationalities, chatting and pulling down laughter with an art explanation mic performance ending the night by Dj-ing himself. I asked Kris whether perhaps he, who was born in Sweden, lives in Tokyo and does art in China whether perhaps the way of looking at his paintings might vary depending on the country the person is from so I asked him if it is so. When I hear his answer; “To me it is not about where they are from but rather to treasure the meeting and communicate with respect” I felt myself strangely accepting the truth in that.
Kris’s works freely moves between the concrete and the abstract leaving interpretation to the viewer. Using light color strokes and pop icons like hearts it often creates a feeling of happiness while sometimes lancing the boils of humanity to release the poison within.
“From where comes this laissez faire attitude” I found myself thinking while watching his works. Perhaps this is why to him, the Japanese modern art scene seems difficult to grasp, full of rules and a culture, which awards “association” rather than originality. This interpretation of the scene seems natural when you considered he grew up in an area where borders are diffuse and now lives on an island where land is limited and which has a very distinct Eastern Culture.
There is a concept in Japanese art known as “Karumi軽”in Japanese art. It was minted by the legendary Haiku poet Matsuo Basho (松尾芭蕉) as a truth that he arrived at in his thoughts. It means to not to be intrusive but simple and part of everyday life. To simply add a touch of beauty to stir the heart is the meaning of this truth of beauty. When I look at the balance that Kris walks between the cultures of East and West, Love and Death, Beauty & Filth, I feel this truth of “Karumi” that Basho found only in his later years.
It seems to me that not only is it no coincidence that his art finds a following in China but that it transcends the ideas of impression and the meaning of the word artist and suggest that perhaps this is just what is needed right now.
I had just finished writing these sentences after going through the list of work that he has submitted for the exhibition when I checked my phone and saw a chat from Kris. It was two new AR pieces that he had just produced. I read it and was immediately struck by the thought that, this ambivalent balancing act he keeps doing between strong adversity towards technology and his ability to use it is a large part of who he is. I see him smiling at me with that mischievous glint and I knew that this exhibition would be a great success.
The Balance of the Existential Conflict Between Dream and Realities
Xirui Hao Xi An Contemporary Art Museum
With inspiration coming from dreams, Kris chooses to tell his dreams between the conscious and unconscious, to express the emotional truth with colors and images, to construct what he calls as ‘between the dream and reality’. His works, with a touch of mystery and conflict, bring forward an existential conflict that reaches a balance between the inner emotions and external visual constructs. This is a reflection of Kris’s duality perspective towards humanity with a philosophical bent that pivots on a contradictory yet mutually-reliant existence between dream and reality. Resonated with the naturalistic philosophy of August Strindberg, Kris’s works called by a primitive force that liberates from nature and humanity, sensitive and solitary. Kris uses strong colors to illustrate the images of dream combined with a free expression of inner emotions, leaving the audience a fantasy filled with contagious energy and whimsical imaginations as if the audience is experiencing his dreams between realities. Full of passion and individuality, his works break through the objectivity and hinge on a subjective touch to the soul.