Born in Stockholm 1990, Cecilia is known for her large-scale paintings of fleshy human bodies appropriating nude images from the media. Klementsson has just earned a Master in Painting at the Royal College of Art in London 2022. after receiving a Bachelor of Fine Art at Curtin University in Perth, Australia in 2015. Klementsson has exhibited in Berlin, Leipzig, Perth, Stockholm and at Dragongate in Älvkarleby. Klementsson also had a three-month artist-in-residence at Pilotenkueche in Leipzig in 2019.
“I paint fleshy naked bodies that are appropriating nudes from fashion advertising from the 90s to early 00s, by switching genders on the model and in making them come to life by extracting colours in the skin. The viewer then sees men pose as women and women pose like men in a transparent iridescent skin. My paintings are painted in oil using four colours only. I apply one colour at a time, like a manual silk screen printing process where each layer leaves traces of previous layers. By revealing the skin’s transparency the skin’s fragility is also revealed.
Silk screen printing has been much used in advertising since the 60s – the technique which started the conversation on the use of the body and the gaze in the first place. While oil painting has the ability to capture the skin’s fleshiness and make it come to life like no other medium.
I am interested in the 90s and the 00s because it is an era when big fashion brands particularly pushed the boundaries of nudes in their advertising, with Kate Moss and Calvin Klein at the forefront. That period is over today now that fashion brands are more concerned with being politically correct.
I have chosen poses from models and photographers I am fascinated by for their strong presence. Which in turn my models have as I adjust them until the pose and the gaze is the same. Yet I see tired gender norms and an always recurring flat monochromatic skin tone in this era I like to challenge. A surface that makes the nudes appear less naked and more sculptural.
Perhaps a strategy for the 90s and 00s fashion advertising was to get away with nudity. Still, many of the adverts I have appropriated were reported and taken down in certain places. Such as Sofie Dahl for Yves Saint Laurent’s Opium perfume which was banned in the US when it came out in 2000.
The second aspect I challenge is therefore the gender norms I find while searching through the archives – women sensual but passive, men sensual but active. When the viewer is met with opposites the poses become more confronting, something is odd. In their suggestive poses, the models in my painting dare the viewer to be attracted to them despite their colourful flaws.”
– Cecilia Ulfsdotter Klementsson