Matteo Cantarella is pleased to present Julia Selin knows nothing about the trees, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Swedish artist Julia Selin. The exhibition is Selin’s first with the gallery, and first solo show in Denmark.

Julia Selin: Julia Selin knows nothing about the trees
5 April - 18 May 2024
Matteo Cantarella, Copenhagen


Returning to landscape motifs as a source for intimate reflection, in this exhibition Selin debuts a new body of paintings that formally and conceptually hearken to a world that upsurges from below. Much like ascending through the murky waters of a swamp with only a single light, or looking at the world from the perspective of a crawling snail, Julia Selin’s work is characterised by a desire to make visible something present but unseen, to look beneath the surface of our physical and incorporeal surroundings. In this pursuit, Selin contends an ongoing correspondence between the natural world, omantically contextualised as a repository for inner longing, and a deeply existential, turbulent disputation with the lived moment. Her work coalesces these impressions within the same space, suggesting the idea of an holistic affinity on the one side, and an abrupt feeling of alienation on the other - a turmoil that stems from the artist’s memories and unresting preoccupations.
Selin’s process begins by working the unstretched canvas with an impasto of pigments applied in layers of varying thickness. Pushing the colour around the canvas while still wet, she approaches the surface with brushes, scrapers, fingernails and hands, immediate means that allow her to imprint gestural lines and markings into layers of coagulated paint. To further challenge the medium’s possibilities, her palette is restricted to a few constricting hues which, depending on the modulation of the colour, reveal distinct shifts in texture and gradations. The direction and depth of the colour paste, and Selin’s subsequent actions on the pictorial surface emphasise areas of light and darkness, two poles that the artist finds herself drifting between.
Just as the process invokes Selin’s bodily relation to what she sees, the paintings here suggest a way of seeing through the world. From painting to painting, there are incessant leaps in directions and motifs: in some works vertical bands demarcate the picture space to create a mirroring image, a double that alternatively reveals and expands atmospheric underworlds through a play of surface and chromatic depth. In others, lines dissolve in a burst of undulating, quivering forms that delineate an obsessive tension underlying the passages of loosely gestural movements. As if the images were on the brink of breaking past the picture plane, the paintings envelope the viewers into a sublimity that Selin once beheld, and that they are now inextricably ushered in. Julia Selin conjures environments where the unsettling leads us to resonances otherwise inaccessible - painting experienced as a transitory convergence of bodies - human, natural and otherwise - resurfacing in a perpetually encircling emanation.

Julia Selin (b. 1986, Sweden) is a Swedish artist living and working in Malmö, Sweden. Selin graduated from the Umeå Academy of Arts (2013) in Umeå, Sweden. Her work has been exhibited at Tara Downs Gallery (New York, US), Malmö Konsthall (Malmö, Sweden), Porte (Leipzig, Germany), Galleri Cora Hillebrand (Gothenburg, Sweden),
Wanås Konst (Knislinge, Sweden) and at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Stockholm, Sweden), among others.