The worst thing a painter can do is flowers … part 1

For the past few years the Danish artist Tal R has made paintings and drawings of flowers in vases. Each work depicts a bunch of flowers picked by the artist from around his home in the Danish countryside, presented in a vase on a tabletop within a closely cropped interior space.

See more here:

https://vimeo.com/719780431

I have chosen to transcribed parts of this short video, not because it is difficult to understand, but because it really speaks to me, and my own development as an artist – here is what Tal R says:

“The worst thing a painter can do is flowers, if somebody had told me, ten years ago, that someday you’re going to paint flowers, I would have been very embarrassed. Because flowers, in some ways, are so banal. You pick them up, put them in vase, and then they fall down and you throw them out…

Today I would say it’s too good to be true. The older you get (the better) you understand the possibility of banality. Sometimes to walk into something that is banal is much better than walking into something that on the surface is very complicated.”

This is very much in line with my experience of doing still life. I would not have used the word ‘banal’, but rather something like ‘trite’, I never imagined this (still life with or without flowers) would be my “thing” …

… now,

I’m not so sure anymore

Tal R: Untitled Flowers, Victoria Miro, London

“To make art is kind of a carnival, you dress up the world to be able to walk into it.”


Tal R (b. 1967) is a Danish painter and former guest professor at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Born Tal Rosenzweig in Tel Aviv to a Danish mother and Czechoslovakian Jewish father, the family moved to Denmark, where Tal R was raised.

A longer video on him & his way of thinking about art can be found here

9 Comments Add yours

  1. pflanzwas says:

    Very interesting and I like his paintings. I ask myself who makes these statements? It sounds like “you shouldn’t wear this or that, it is out of fashion” or “you shouldn’t behave like that”. If someone likes to do it, why not? And yes, I agree, I am often surprised how exciting simple things can be 🙂

    1. Sigrun says:

      I like him sharing his “a-ha moment”, it has stirred new thoughts on my own process and on art in general ❤️

      1. pflanzwas says:

        Yes, that is a good thing and so inspiring 🙂👍 I will watch the video about him. He seems to be a very interesting painter.

      2. Sigrun says:

        I hope you find time to watch the longer one too, it’s very interesting to hear him reflect on his own process 🙂

      3. pflanzwas says:

        Yes, I started it yesterday evening, but it was a bit late. I will continue later. Really interesting! Thank you for presenting all these different kind of artists 🙂 There is always something to learn.

  2. I love these, they’re really interesting styles. I love paintings and drawings of flowers. Winifred Nicholson said that she was always happiest when she let herself paint flowers. 😀

  3. bluebrightly says:

    The long video looks very good – I’ll bookmark it and come back to it. For me, flowers are too important to say “no” to. Doing something new and interesting – maybe it means different things at different times in one’s life.

    1. Sigrun says:

      Agree. It would be interesting to work “longitudinal” to see what changes appear in ones thoughts & feelings on the theme.

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