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Spotlight on the Collection: Stieg Persson

In this series, we explore some of the interesting items from Bayside City Council’s Art and Heritage Collection.

This week we look at Stieg Persson's 2015 painting Duck and quail eggs, Italian herbs, which is part of a larger body of work inspired by the artist's local suburb of Brighton.

Painting of advertising chalkboard listings of various food items.

Stieg Persson, Duck and quail eggs, Italian herbs 2015, oil on linen, 183 x 227 cm. Bayside City Council Art and Heritage Collection. Purchased 2019. © Stieg Persson.

Duck and quail eggs, Italian herbs

In this work, Stieg Persson reflects on contemporary parallels in changes of taste and the desire for decadence as a political and social drive. Inspired by Brighton’s iconic Church and Bay Streets, the artist addresses the social currency of luxury and high-end cuisine by depicting rococo style blackboards which offer the latest in fine dining, alcohol, exercise classes, skin treatments and lavish linens. Persson is presenting a subtle critique of the contemporary obsession with food; as contemporary society places greater significance on the connoisseurship of eating, it does so in lieu of engagement with culture as it is traditionally conceived (music, theatre, literature and art).

Splicing various elements together to create a collage effect, the blackboards are superimposed onto a backdrop which feature gilded graffiti tags, also drawn from the local area. According to the artist, ‘my feeling on tagging is that it is actually about neo-liberalism; it is just rampant individualism that’s gone way too far. It is not marginalised youth doing it - it is the children of the middle class’. Persson further states, ‘I am painting in my world. Like the painters of the past who painted the world around them, whether it was biblical stories or paintings of ladies in their finery or people undertaking their daily activities; they painted the world that they lived in. I paint the world I live in, this is the street that I shop in, the suburb that I live in.’

About Stieg Persson

With a career spanning over 30 years as a painter, Stieg Persson is a well known figure within the Australian and international art world. Persson’s work is celebrated for his distinct (yet eclectic) style, which consists of elements associated with abstraction, figuration and decorative art, as well as the artist’s deeply intellectual interrogation of Australian culture and society. Combining an array of disparate influences and reflections, Persson’s paintings appropriate found imagery, Rococo design, calligraphy and text, and signifiers of class and taste. In combining these elements on a single pictorial frame, Persson investigates the relationship between figuration and abstraction.

Persson’s work is represented in all major Australian collections including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth; plus the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. He was a finalist in the inaugural Bayside Acquisitive Art Prize in 2015 and won the Local Art Prize with his work Brighton Signerie

To find out more about Stieg, follow him on Instagram @stiegpersson

Interested in learning more about the Art and Heritage Collection?

Bayside City Council is the custodian of the Bayside Art and Heritage Collection, a collection of around 2,000 items that was principally formed when the former Sandringham and Brighton City Councils merged in 1994. Artworks and heritage objects are displayed at our Corporate Centre in Sandringham, Bayside Gallery in Brighton and other Council owned buildings.

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