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Article from Frederikssund Newspaper, August 18th 2008.

Lars Rahbek getting ready
for New York

Artist Lars Rahbek is to have an exhibition in New York and could be on his way to a bit of a breakthrough in the USA.

The Agora Gallery in New York’s Manhattan has really taken to Danish artists. Earlier this year they had an exhibition of works by Majken Hejnfelt from Frederikssund. Next month they will host another local artist. Now it is the turn of Lars Rahbek from Uvelse to show his works in "The Big Apple”. Lars Rahbek’s are big and rich in messages. They leap out at the viewer. Some works look more like unusually well composed graffiti than actual paintings and it is easy to understand why they have caught people’s attention on the other side of the Atlantic. They are like a cross between Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Roy Lichtenstein and Jackson Pollack and are full of references to "the American way of life”.

Title: Twenty Four Thoussan Every Day

Collective faulty gene
When Lars Rahbek paints, he likes to tackle big subjects. "This one is called 24,000 Every Day and refers to the 24,000 people who die every single day of poverty and hunger,” explains Lars Rahbek, introducing one of his latest works. A little, almost indistinguishable, African boy gazes longingly at Mario from the Super Mario Brothers computer game. Mario is a symbol of the rich, western world, which the little boy will never gain access to, but only ever perceive from afar. "This one I have called Wannabe Darth Vader. It’s about how all of us in the western world have been brought up in the belief that each and every one of us will create their own little empire. It is like a collective faulty gene that makes us believe in this as the meaning of life,” says Lars Rahbek. He does not start a new painting with a clear strategy for the final look of a painting. "I start a painting the moment something grabs me. What is influencing me at this particular moment? That is what I paint. It is a bit of a semi-naïve way of getting started, but I seldom paint something where you can point to my ‘belief’. I want a painting to be an open discussion. You should never be controlled by what other people want.”

Title: Wannabe Darth Vader

Lucky break
Lars Rahbek’s art career has gone pretty well so far, especially in view of the fact that he only started painting seriously a few years ago. "I have been amazingly lucky,” he says in his studio in his house in Uvelse. "It takes some people between ten and fifteen years before they get their work seen in a gallery. It took me just one year.” He has a background in advertising and still does freelance work for his own clients. "I want to live from my painting, but I still have to pay the bills,” laughs Lars Rahbek, who is married with a five-year old son. He has made contact with the Dane, Tonny Sørensen who lives in California. This is someone who can really help get Lars Rahbek noticed. Tonny Sorensen is owner of the successful fashion firm, Von Dutch. His friends include film stars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and he frequently creates events with various major American artists. He has bought several of Lars Rahbek’s paintings, which will maybe help Lars Rahbek to get his foot in the door of the American art market. However, even though the future is looking bright, Lars Rahbek is taking it all quite calmly. "I am happy if I can just create a dialogue with the people who look at my paintings. That is my goal. Of course, if the paintings get sold, that’s great, but this isn’t something I focus on a great deal,” he explains. Lars Rahbek will be showing six works at the Agora Gallery from 24 October. The New York opening is 6 November.

Rahbek - Photo: Tue Schioerring

Rahbek • Strandstraede 11 • DK-3550 Slangerup • DENMARK

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