I take photographs of people in the streets, in Stockholm and when travelling around the world. Photographs that make sketches for my paintings. Paintings give a sense of presence that the photos lack: volume, depth, strokes of the brush – traces of life.
The gestures, looks and airs that people express when they are among others, I catch with my camera. Expressions that are given quite another meaning when laid bare, put into new contexts and transferred into paintings.
It is a way of making things visible or mysterious, of intensifying your awareness of the small dramatic incidents that occur all around us – if we take the time to see them.
When did this begin? It might be during the period when I recently had become a father and was strolling around the square of Hötorget and its neighbourhood in Stockholm. With the baby sleeping in the pram, I started taking photos of people around me. Only elderly men, maybe because I felt my new responsibility as a father.
Gradually, I started painting portraits of the men in the photos. Paintings made in a realistic matter-of-fact sort of style. I certainly did not want it to look like I had copied a photo; on the contrary, I wanted to give the impression that I had painted their portraits without taking their photos first. Furthermore, I took away the backgrounds and replaced them with black colour so that the men would stand out with no context or indication of time.
They were anonymous men and that also became the title of the installation at the Swedish State’s collection of portraits at the Gripsholm castle that I accomplished later on. My portraits of these men were shown on easels, placed in different halls among portraits of named and renowned people from the 16th century until the present. From royalties to celebrities.
These men, spotted in the street, were given a temporary place in the history of art.
Quotations from reviews:
“… Although he has an ability of interpreting in detail peoples’ body language, he avoids complete realism. Torbjörn Länk adds an ambiguity, a shifting, a psychological filter to his paintings, which give them a slight surrealistic feeling. This awakes our curiosity.
What are these people really doing and why do they sit together when they apparently have nothing in common? So self-absorbed …”
Gunilla Petri, Barometern
Konstfack, MFA 1985 – 1990, påbyggnad murala tekniker, Konstfack 1990 – 1991
Gerlesborgsskolan, Stockholm 1980 – 82
Birkagårdens Fhsk Måleri, Stockholm 1976 – 78
2016 Galleri Kim Anstensen, Göteborg
2016 Galleri Jan Wallmark, Stockholm
2014 Höstsalong, Edsvikens konsthall
2014 “Färgäkta”, Bryggeriet i Nora, samlingsutställning
2014 Lindesbergs bibliotek
2013 Galleri Kim Anstensen, Göteborg
2013 Karibakka, Sölvesborg
2013 Galleri Jan Wallmark, Stockholm
2012 konsthall, Borlänge
2008 Galleri Olsson&Uddenberg, Göteborg, samlingsutställning
2008 Teatergalleriet, Kalmar
2008 Tyresö konsthall
2006 Galleri Eklund Wallmark, samlingsutställning
2003 Galleri Jan Wallmark, Stockholm
1997 ”alla dessa okända män…”‚ installation på Kalmar Konstmuseum; Underjordiska Konstlabyrinten
1996 ”Anonyma män på Gripsholm”, installation på Gripsholms Slott, statens porträttsamling
1995 Nordiska Teckningstriennalen
1993 Galleri Ludvig, Stockholm, separatutställning
1991 Lidingö Konsthall, samlingsutställning
1990 Konstfacks avgångsutställning
1990 Galleri Movitz, elevutställning
1990 Conrad Andersson, Skövde, samlingsutställning
1989 Galleri Grythyttan, samlingsutställning