It's about tenderness. The human is never as naked as when exposed to the gaze of others. In Niklas Holmgren’s paintings the body is freed from inhibitions and the norm. What is invisible is visible here. The young men, so far untouched by time, are affected by their inner selves. Sitting, lying, adrift out of time and space, their presence weighs heavy in the room. Can a mirror preserve an image?
About photorealism in painting, Roland Barthes would probably say the same as he would about the photograph. Irrespective of who and how a portrait is depicted; the painting can become invisible. It's a person that we see. However, this is not due to the technical abilities of the camera but rather the bewitching mystique of the painting. The faces, the core, the limbs.... The sofa, the pillow, the tattoo... Every detail concealing or uncovering something.
With a virtuous paintbrush and great sensitivity, Niklas Holmgren seizes fleeting moments and captures them in his work. Unlike the click of a camera, painting with the meticulous care seen here consumes time. Possibly the act of depicting is about turning the gaze towards one self.