Reality or fantasy? What is the difference between fantasy and fact, between night and day, between torment and transports of delight? Yrjö Edelmann’s pictures are frequently located in the territory between dream and experience, in a vacuum where the eye wanders through a labyrinth of almost infinite proportions.
For centuries artists have endeavoured to delude the eye of the observer by conjuring forth a trompe-l’oeil image. And so too does Edelmann, with his wrinkled wrapping paper — storm-tossed seas that may just as readily be clouds sailing through a clear blue sky, or mysteriously undulating packages.
Ever since he stepped onto the stage as a thirty-something artist, Yrjö Edelmann has devoted himself to oil painting and graphic art. More recently his works have caught the eye of both public and critics, not only here at home in Sweden, but abroad as well, with exhibitions in New York, Tokyo and Paris. Since 1976 his works have been on display continuously in the USA.
Yrjö Edelmann was born in 1941 and moved from Helsinki in Finland to Sweden with his family ten years later. He started to draw at an early age, initially in comic strip magazines, and worked for many years as an illustrator with the publishers Åhlén & Åkerlund in Stockholm. While there he produced several book covers and other works in the magazine genre. Towards the end of the 1950s he studied freehand drawing at the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm. Influenced by French surrealism with its irrational, dreamlike motifs, he developed his own pictorial language and also experimented with hyperrealism before becoming increasingly engrossed in his packages, wrapping paper and pieces of string.
His paintings play with shape and shade, with proportions and the properties of colour. His creations challenge our senses, capturing the sensation of hovering between what truly exists and what is merely the shadow of a dream.