In conversation with Kristian Touborg

at Kristian Touborg studio, Copenhaguen

I came across Kristian’s body of work a couple of years ago in Copenhaguen and I felt attracted by his sculptural works. After following his practice whithout knowing him personally, I wanted to discover more about his works, hearing directly from him.

MG: How do you describe your practice?

KT: My practice is about itself, it is about you and me, it is about us, it is about being alive now, it is about living today but also about being here tomorrow and what it was like yesterday. 
I like to use the idea of a whirlwind as an analogy – it is like I am experiencing a whirlwind of emotions and impressions every day and my practice is a way of realizing this infinitely plural experience in individual material forms. 
To say that any individual work is about one thing alone would be reductive. My practice is a way of navigating the world, it is a compulsion just as much as feeding or resting, but crucially it is a way of navigating the world in a way that other people can relate to.

MG: Would you define yourself as a sculptor? For me that I know what you are doing, I consider yourself a multidisciplinary artist but I wanted to know your opinion about that.

KT: A lot of people like to pigeon-hole painting or sculpture. I can’t seem to differentiate my two- and three-dimensional work as everything is produced, and draws upon, the same inspiration and wide range of methods. However, you might say that the sculptures are paintings, that didn’t belong on the wall. My urge to create sculptural bodies has been accelerated since I started to have some issues with my own body that has effected the way I work.

Music is somehow a good analogy for the work I produce, it is composed by combining a lot of different elements and it draws upon a variety of cultural influences. If my work was body music, there would be a lot of natural sounds and it would be mainly instrumental. I like to think of the occasional figuration you see in my paintings as a brief and occasional example of lyrics accompanying the music.

MG: In your sculptures, we can see photographic images, from where do you take those ones? Do you modify these pictures? How and why?

KT: I don’t take photographs in my work anymore. The last works that incorporated photographs were from 2017. At that time, I would take iPhone pictures of my neighbors in Nørrebro and then manipulate the images using photoshop, there is a plugin that uses algorithms to generate more of the image, like a reverse crop, that I found strangely beautiful.

Another path was that I would take close up photos of painterly surfaces and then print them digitally onto fabric, only to paint onto the surface again, rephotograph and repeat. I have also worked with 3-D scanning technologies a number of times. It all feeds into this interest in making a multiplicity of experiences unified and available simultaneously.

MG: I can see a mix between digital tools and the utilization of typical mediums. What makes you create this mixture?

KT: I am not too big a fan of focusing too much on the tools used for what is most importantly an emotional practice. I don’t want people to fixate on the digital aspects. The nerve of my practice is the analog but there is definitely a digital smell. The way I see it, the brush, the staple gun, photoshop, a camera, and needle and thread are all tools of equal status that are available to me in the task of manipulating the material image. There are fewer boundaries to paint once you incorporate all of these tools, it’s really a testament to the time in which we are living and I think it would be foolish not to make use of all the technologies available.

MG: Your latest works are now being shown at El Jundi. How is the process of creation of those three-dimensional wall works?

KT: Two years ago I began feeling like my paintings needed some sort of body and that was when I created the first of these three-dimensional wall works that was called “A Stretched Structure”. This was the first way of giving real shape to the paintings and amplifying the painterly forms using strong spatial elements – extending the shapes of the paintings into outer space beyond the stretcher.

MG: What are you creating now? Where can you see your work soon?

KT: The future holds a range of exciting projects following my participation in the exhibition at El Jundi. Presently I am working on three exhibition projects for commercial galleries in Spring 2021, a solo show in Florence in February, works for a group show in Antwerp in March, and then another solo show in Palma de Mallorca in April. In addition to that, I am also participating in the Socle du Monde

Biennale at The Herning Museum of Contemporary Art (HEART) scheduled for April 2021.

María Gracia de Pedro


In a time in which it has become impossible to draw a line between the analog and the digital, Danish artist Kristian Touborg (b.1987) has epitomized a new kind of subjectivity in painting, pairing intimacy and playfulness with art historic references and new technologies. In Touborg’s works, a personal library of varied imaginary has been used as vital elements in an investigation of the multiple and branching paths that contemporary painting and sculpture can embody in an increasingly digitally image-saturated world.

Expanding on meditations on modern image ecology Touborg has constructed a range of two- and three- dimensional works by applying a mixture of painterly gestures led by spontaneous brushstrokes of vivid oil paint as well as demonstrating a profound interest in new media and technology.

The enchanting imaginary presents motifs rooted in all the consequences we face because of the omnipresent, yet unnoticeable, a technology that penetrates and defines our present-day social interaction and communication.
In Touborg’s alluring imaginative compositions, a careful mixture of figurative and more abstract extracts sets the scene for interlinked, yet wholly autonomous works, in which a lively dialogue is established between repetition and variations in colors and form.

Demonstrating an innovative approach to figuration and a distinctive choice in subject matter, Touborg’s works feature an assorted cast of characters, seemingly pulled directly from his mobile phone camera. The results in a painterly vocabulary constituted by a free expressionistic voice, as Touborg paints and collages vivid luminous, and vibrant wall pieces using private motifs drawn from everyday life.