YRJO EDELMANN | Structure and Spectrum | NOV 5 – 30 | View Artwork


Yrjo Edelmann’s paintings of mysterious, wrapped packages appear to float a few inches off the wall as ambiguous sculptural objects.  Hovering between illusion and hyper-realism, they are painted in perfect trompe l’oeil, capturing every crinkle and tear in the wrapping paper and the subtle reflections of light off the creased surfaces.  The outside edge of each canvas exactly conforms to the shape of the painted subject, giving it a sense of three-dimensionality and a lifelike presence.  With exquisite technique, Edelmann elevates the mundane imagery of wrapped parcels to become haunting and sensual.

About his 2012 exhibition at the Museum of Art and Design in Singapore, reviewer Skii Chung wrote, “Inspired by French surrealism, Yrjö has cultivated a distinct style of transforming everyday objects into visual masterpieces. Perhaps this is why he is hailed as one the finest trompe l’oeil artists of contemporary times.” Originally influenced by the irrational, dreamlike motifs of surrealists such as Rene Magritte, Giorgio de Chirico and Marcel Duchamp, the artist has developed his own distinctive pictorial language over the years.  He captured the attention of an international audience in 1993, when he was selected to participate in the famous Absolut Vodka advertising campaign. The artist wrapped the vodka bottle in colored paper and taped it with masking tape; he then created a shaped painting of the wrapped bottle.

Born in 1941 in Helsinki, Finland, Edelmann moved with his family to Sweden ten years later. Towards the end of the 1950s, he studied at the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm.  He has exhibited worldwide in cities such as New York, Tokyo, Paris and Singapore.  His works are held in many collections, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Brooklyn Museum; the Denver Art Museum; the Fred Weisman Collection in Pasadena; Utrecht Modern Art Museum, Netherlands; Malmo Museum, Sweden; and the collections of both Swedish Parliament and the Swedish Royal Family.