Malene Kyed

Malene Kyed

Malene Kyed is a Danish Bornholm-based artist whose work is inspired by the David Attenborough quote “ALL LIFE IS RELATED”. She zooms in on the details of what we call life and her work reflects the evolution and human moods. Malene Kyed’s beautiful artworks can be enjoyed at Marchal from January 17 until April 17.

Learn more about the event. 


How would you describe your artistic style in a few words?

High focus on craftsmanship. High degree of detail. New contemporary installation art paired with classic European 15th century techniques.

Are there any artists, movements or styles that have had a significant influence on your work?
Earlier European artists such as Albrecht Dürer and da Vinci I use when training my technique. And then I am inspired by the way in which Donald Judd occupies the space.

Can you explain any unique techniques or approaches you use in your art?
I have invented a technique where, with goldsmith's tools, I engrave high quality polished stainless steel. I call these works mirror pieces.
For a long time, I have trained the classic chiaroscuro drawing technique, which can already be seen in the 15th century.
I always work freehand from loose sketches. In this way, the same motifs become unique. That is I often draw herring skeletons, and because it is done freehand, all skeletons become unique.
The French term for chaiaro scuro is clair-obscur. I also use this technique for ink drawings and copper engravings. They are carried out as they have been done for centuries. The only change is that I now use an exceptional Montblanc ink that can withstand sunlight and UV rays.

What themes or concepts do you explore in your art? Are there recurring motifs or subjects?
My theme is always sea life. I am continuously working on a project I have dubbed "Archive of The Sea".
It is always species from the sea. Either I grow the skeleton of a specific species - or I give the species human expressions or organs.

Can you share the story or inspiration behind one of your favorite pieces?
"All life is related". Here David Attenborough talked about evolution in the sea - and that quote started my project.
It always lies somewhere in my consciousness and applies to all my works, that we are all connected via the development of life.

Are there any significant milestones or experiences that have shaped your artistic journey?
I have worked as a freelance graphic designer and art director for 20 years, until in 2016 I chose to dedicate myself entirely to my art.
I was a sole breadwinner in inner Copenhagen and without a financial network. When my son flew from the nest and became 100 percent independent, I allowed myself to listen to a desire I've had since childhood; to draw for a living - to wake up every day to create art.
I moved to Bornholm and established a workshop by the sea, where I can concentrate on the demanding work that my technique constitutes.

Can you share a moment in your artistic journey that you consider a breakthrough?
From the moment I show the public my works in 2016, my art and sales of my art have been on an organic upward curve.

Who do you create art for and what do you hope the recipients take away from your work?
I am lucky to have several clients from the gastronomic world. Several Michelin chefs have my art hanging.
I think my strong focus on the technical and artisanal has resonance with these people.
Compared to other artists I know, I can see that my audience and buyers of works are younger.
With my art, I hope to achieve that you see yourself in the mirror when you look into the eyes of my fish - or see a fish skeleton, where the fish skull has an emotional human expression that can reflect the mood you are in yourself.
Since I also work with mirrors, it happens quite concretely that you see yourself reflected in a species from the sea.
The series of associations I hope to achieve is the following: We come from beautiful strange creatures - we are beautiful strange creatures - we are those in the work - we are the fish. We are connected. "All life is related".