Are you square?

It’s amazing how the square image format has conquered the (online) world – not least thanks to the social media.

Almost all icons are square, most profile pictures you upload are cropped to square format (sometimes with unexpected amusing results), and image sharing websites like Instagram, Twitpic and Facebook support Lars Pryds: "Flatiron Building, New York", 2011. Photo © Lars Prydsyour beautiful snapshots better if they are square-shaped. Two years ago, many photos from our trip to New York were shot with the then popular Hipstamatic which gives you no other choice than the square. Even this WordPress website resorts to a square thumbnail when I choose the small size of my shot of the Flatiron Building on 5th Avenue.

For artists, the square format has often been a challenge – it’s not as easy as one should think to balance the visual elements within a square. It’s nearly as difficult as working on a circle- or oval-shaped canvas – with which only a few artists have made really good results.

Nevertheless, right now I’m working on a new series of small (ca. 15 x 15 cm) square collages – which will be in the “Parløb” exhibition in October. Below is a preview of two of them – “38 and Pink” and “Two Ts, Both With Sugar Please”, the title of the latter inspired by an old Elton John song from the magnificent Captain Fantastic album.

But, come to think of it, the very first paintings I ever exhibited in public were in fact square. Ten works in the format 122 x 122 cms, acrylic and chalk on plywood, shown in a group exhibition with Kaj Nyborg and Arthur Tudsborg at Koldinghus Castle back in 1985 (see below). To accompany my first paintings were twelve prints (soft ground / line etching and drypoint) which were, you guessed it: square – 24,5 x 24,5 cm. Even the invite for the opening was a square. Scroll down to see the three young artists – and one of the twelve etchings from the “Holbæk Suite”, four of which are reproduced in my book, Pages of a Non-Existent Diary.

Lars Pryds: "38 and Pink", 2013. Collage, acryl og lak på pap. 14,5 x 14,5 cm.
Lars Pryds: “38 and Pink”, 2013. Collage, acrylic and laquer on cardboard. 14,5 x 14,5 cm. (Private collection).

 

Lars Pryds: "Two Ts, Both With Sugar, Please", 2013. Collage, acryl og lak på pap. 14,5 x 14,5 cm.
Lars Pryds: “Two Ts, Both With Sugar, Please”, 2013. Collage, acrylic and laquer on cardboard. 14,5 x 14,5 cm. (Private collection).

 

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Artists Kaj Nyborg (left), Arthur Tudsborg (middle) and Lars Pryds (right) with works of art for the exhibition “Fragmenter” at Koldinghus, Kolding, 29 September – 20 October 1985. Photo: Lene Frantzen.

 

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Lars Pryds: From “The Holbæk Suite”, 1985. Etching and drypoint in zink, 24,5 x 24,5 cm.