[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]
EKHOLM [given name and dates unknown]
Bål / Bonfire
oil on canvas / 16 inches by 22 inches
Images of landscape are never without meaning. Whether photographed, sketched, or painted, the very choice of which landscape to record is infused with being in the moment, a phrase borrowed from contemporary pop psychology. Witness the painting we have titled “Bonfire”, wherein the human presence suggests an activity that borders on ritual — a ritual we may never understand.
One thing is known about “Bål” (Danish for bonfire) because there is a famous Danish poem written in pencil on its paper backing: “Flyv, fugl! Flyv” (“over Furesøens vove!” as the first line continues). Its author was Danish lyric poet Christian Winther; written in 1828 and set to music ten years later by J. P. E. Hartmann. What the artist Ekholm, the image of a bonfire, and Winther’s poem have in common is just one of the several mysteries that season the Community Collection.