Bente Christensen-Ernst

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The Young Century, 2011 Oil On Canvas 140x140cm
Self portrait Oil On Canvas 150 X 150 Cm © Bente Christensen-Ernst
Abdulhamit III, 2006 Oil On Canvas 150 X 150 X 3 Centimeters © Bente Christensen-Ernst
Dress code (Arab girl in Denmark), 2004 Oil On Canvas 250 X 150 Cm © Bente Christensen-Ernst
Istanbul, Fatih, 2002 Oil On Canvas 150 X 150 X 3 Centimeters © Bente Christensen-Ernst
Istanbul, Nişantaşı, 2002 Oil On Canvas 150 X 150 X 3 Centimeters © Bente Christensen-Ernst
Şeyhülislam, 2007 Oil On Canvas 130 X 130 Cm © Bente Christensen-Ernst
Twins, 2005 Oil On Canvas 120 X 120 Cm © Bente Christensen-Ernst
The Yellow Peril, 2003 Oil On Canvas 125x175cm
Varangians, 2006 Oil On Canvas 150 X 150 Cm © Bente Christensen-ernst
Young Love, 2010 Oil On Canvas 100x160cm
Antioch I, 2009 Oil On Canvas 120 X 200 Cm © Bente Christenen-Ernst
Barren, 2008 Oil On Canvas 120 X 160 Cm © Bente christensen-Ernst
The National Team, 2005 Oil On Canvas 130 X 130 Cm © Bente Christensen.Ernst
Young Danish Art Critic, 2005 Oil On Canvas 150 X 150 Cm
Integration (Arab girl in Denmark), 2004 Oil On Canvas 150x150cm
Guilty, 2009 Oil On Canvas 100 X 120 Cm © Bente Christensen-Ernst
Today wine tomorrow work (old arabic saying), 2007 Oil On Canvas 150x150cm
Urlaub macht spass, 2008 Oil On Canvas 120 X 200 X 3 Centimeters
Designer, 2003 Oil On Canvas 100x125cm
Widow, 2001 Oil On Canvas 105 X 130 Cm © Bente Christensen-Ernst
Harem, 2008 Oil On Canvas 130x130cm
Ladies and Gentlemen, 2006 Oil On Canvas 130x130cm
Helena, 2010 Oil On Canvas 120x120
Dark Matter, 2010 Oil On Canvas 120x120cm
Zenobias Hair, 2010 Oil On Canvas 120x120cm
Breadwinner, 2011 Oil On Canvas 120x120cm
Window-shopping in Damascus, 2011 Oil On Canvas 120x120cm
Sugar babies (Sweets from Syria), 2011 Oil On Canvas 120x120cm
Window-shopping in Baghdad, 2011 Oil On Canvas 120x120cm
George of Arabia, 2011 Oil On Canvas 150x150cm
Feeling Blue, 2012 Oil On Canvas 140x140cm
La Dolce Vita, 2012 Oil On Canvas 120x120cm
Let the weak one say: I am a warrior!, 2012 Oil Ov Canvas 140 X 140 Cm
If eyes could kill., 2011 Oil On Canvas 140x140cm
Public Bath, 2012 Oil On Canvas 140x140cm
Ready for the future, 2012 Oil On Canvas 140x140cm
Are you looking at me?, 2013 Oil On Canvas 120x160cm
Kain , where is your brother?, 2013 Oil On Canvas 130x130cm
George Bey , 2013 Oil On Canvas 135x135cm
Abla (Big Sister), 2013 0il On Canvas 120x120cm
Together we are strong, 2013 Oil On Canvas 120x120cm
Kain where is your brother, 2013 Oil On Canvas 140x140cm
In the groove, 2014
The Party, 2013
The Young Bride, 2014 Oil On Canvas 120x120 Cm
Before the wedding , 2014
After the Wedding, 2014
The Thin Red Line, 2014
Dubai, 2013 Oil On Canvas 120 X 100 Cm
The Grim Reaper, 2016
Spineless, 2016
The Syrian Artist with his Mona Lisa cake, 2016
The Levantine, 2016
Faceless, 2016
Sign O' The Times, 2016
The Selfie Generation, 2016
Botox, 2016
Palmyra in My Heart, 2017
Miss Wadi Rum, 2017 Oil On Canvas 120 X 120 Cm
Quick Facts
Lives in
Antioch ad Orontem, Turkey
Representing galleries
Gallery ArtHouse Damascus | Syria. Gallery Mark Hachem, Paris | France. Gallery Dar al-Anda, Amman | Jordan
figurative, modern


Born in Aarhus, Denmark, in 1941

Studios in Copenhagen, Istanbul, and Antakya


Member of the Danish Society of Artists, affiliated to The Royal Academy


Collaborating with:

Gallery ArtHouse, Damascus,

Gallery Dar al-Anda, Amman,

Gallery Mark Hachem, Paris, and

Teşvikiye Sanat Galerisi, Istanbul


One-man shows

2016 Gallery Khawatem, Beirut, Lebanon

2015 Galleri Oxholm, Copenhagen, Denmark

2014 Gallery Artifact, East Village, Manhattan, New York, U.S.

2014 Gallery 169, Saify, Beirut, Lebanon 

2014 Teşvikiye Sanat Galerisi, Nişantaşı, İstanbul, Turkey

2012 Galleri Oxholm, Copenhagen, Denmark

2012 Galerie Wolfsen, Aalborg, Denmark

2011 Art House, Damascus, Syria

2011 Karma Art Gallery, Aleppo, Syria

2010 Görüntü Sanat Galerisi, Adana, Turkey

2009 Galerie Wolfsen, Aalborg, Denmark

2007 C.A.M. - Contemporary Art Marketing, Istanbul

2005 C.A.M. - Contemporary Art Marketing, Istanbul

2004 Galleri Wolfsen, Aalborg, Denmark

2004 C.A.M. - Contemporary Art Marketing, Istanbul

2003 Christian Dam Galleries, Copenhagen,

2002 Millî Reasürans Galerisi, Istanbul, Turkey

2001 Galleri Wolfsen, Aalborg, Denmark

2001 C.A.M Contemporary Art Marketing, Istanbul, Turkey

2000 C.A.M. Contemporary Art Marketing, Istanbul, Turkey

1999 Kastrupgårdsamlingen, Copenhagen, Denmark

1999 Christian Dam Galleries, Copenhagen, Denmark

1998 Galleri Torso, Odense, Denmark

1998 Galerie Wolfsen, Aalborg, Denmark

1997 Asmali Mescit Sanat Galerisi, Istanbul, Turkey

1996 Gallerihuset, Copenhagen, Denmark

1996 Galleri Torso, Odense, Denmark

1995 Galleri C, Århus, Denmark

1994 Galleri Torso, Odense, Denmark

1994 Galerie Wolfsen, Aalborg, Denmark

1992 Gallerihuset, Copenhagen, Denmark

1992 Galleri 11, Danish National Television

1990 Galleri Sommersko, Copenhagen, Denmark

1985 Galeri Black & White, Ankara, Turkey

1984 Studyo Fabrika, Ankara, Turkey

Joint exhibitions

2016 "Tutti Frutti", Teşvikiye Sanat Galerisi, Istanbul, Turkey

2015 ArtExpo, New York, U.S. (with Art UpClose, East Village, New York)

2013 Scope, Miami Beach, U.S. (with, Brooklyn, New York)

2012 Parallax Art Fair, Soho, New York, USA

2012 Parallax Art Fair, London, England

2011 Istanbul Summer Exhibition, Istanbul, Turkey

2011 Art Herning, Denmark

2009 "Kunst og Bæredygtighed", Frederiksberg Municipality, Denmark

2009 "25 Years" - Siyah Beyaz Galerisi, Ankara & Istanbul

2008 The St. Petersborg Biennale, St. Petersburg, Russia

2008 Contemporary Istanbul (with portrait of Hüseyin Alptekin)

2007 Portalen, Greve, Denmark

2006 Natür mort, Galerist, Istanbul

2006 "European Reflections" - PRO 2006, Charlottenborg, Copenhagen

2005 PRO, Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Denmark

2005 Istanbul Art Fair, Istanbul

2005 ART-Copenhagen - Forum for Modern Art, Forum, Copenhagen, Denmark

2004 PRO, Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Denmark

2004 Pakhuset, Nykøbing Sjælland, Denmark

2004 "Two Worlds Meet", Galerie Wolfsen, Aalborg, Denmark

2004 "Meeting Point", C.A.M. - Contemporary Art Marketing, Istanbul, Turkey

2004 "Frederiksberg på Plakaten",Frederiksberg Municipality, Copenhagen, Denmark

2004 "Eight from PRO", Travelling exhibition of The Association of Danish Art Societies, Denmark

2003 PRO, Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Denmark

2003 "Danish Summer", Gallery Christophersen, Copenhagen, Denmark

2002 Rundetårn, "Istanbul", Copenhagen, Denmark

2002 PRO, Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Denmark

2001 Skovhuset, Værløse, Denmark

2001 Salon d'Automne, Paris, France

2000 Skive Museum of Art, Denmark

2000 Salon d'Automne, Paris, France

2000 C.A.M., Contemporary Art Marketing, "Nudes", Istanbul, Turkey

2000 Art Fair, Herning, Denmark

2000 Art Copenhagen, Forum, Copenhagen, Denmark

1999 PRO, Filosofgangen, Odense, Denmark

1999 Galeri Yantra, Istanbul, Turkey

1998 MuséETT, Kristinahamn, Sweden

1998 Art Fair, Herning, Denmark

1998 Art Copenhagen, Forum, Copenhagen, Denmark

1997 PRO, Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Denmark

1996 ART-Copenhagen - Forum for Modern Art, Copenhagen, Denmark

1996 "Small Canvasses", Gallerihuset, Copenhagen, Denmark

1996 "Danish Portraits 1985 - 1995", The Øregaard Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark

1995 Galerie Bollhagen, Kunstcentrum, Worpswede, Germany

1995 ART-Copenhagen - Forum for Modern Art, Forum, Copenhagen. Denmark

1995 "25 Years on the Job", Jyllandsposten, Copenhagen, Denmark

1994 ART-Copenhagen - Forum for Modern Art, Forum, Copenhagen, Denmark

1994 "Tyve Veje til Gåsepigen", Galerie Wolfsen, Aalborg, Denmark

1994 "Hundred Years of Danish Authors", Frederiksborg Castle, Hillerød, Denmark

1993 The Danish Art Fair, Copenhagen, Denmark

1993 "Spejlbilleder", Brandts Klædefabrik, Odense, Denmark

1992 "Spejlbilleder", Frederiksborg Castle, Hillerød, Denmark

1991 Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition, Copenhagen, Denmark

1991 Charlottenborg Autumn Exhibition, Copenhagen, Denmark

1990 Vestslesvig Art Society, Tonder, Denmark

1990 Vestslesvig Art Society, Rensburgh, Germany

1990 The Easter Exhibition, Århus, Denmark

1990 The Autumn Exhibition, "Den Frie", Copenhagen, Denmark

1989 Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition, Copenhagen, Denmark



The National Gallery on Frederiksborg, Denmark (with a portrait of the poet Henrik Nordbrandt)


Henrik Nordbrandt, poet

Ove Sprogø, actor

Hans-Ole Skovgaard, chairman of the Association of Danish Engineers

Knud Akselsen, former mayor in Elsinore

Finn Nørbygaard, entertainer

Alex Steen, art critic

Thomas Kluge, painter

Jes Høeg, former football player on the Danish national team

Mehmet C. Garan, general manager of Fuji Film, Istanbul

Esma Edgü, designer, Istanbul

Mary, Princess of Denmark

Orhan Pamuk, Turkish Nobel prize winner in literature

Defne, daughter of Merve and Kagan Gürsel, Istanbul

Sinan, son of Αyşe Ataman, Istanbul

Nina, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Kınay, Istanbul

Peter Bjerregaard, chariman of the Danish Shipowners Association

Ηüseyin Alptekin, late Turkish Artist


 Decoration, illustrations &c

2007 Restaurant Zazie, Teşvikiye, Istanbul

2006 The Art Calendar of C.A.M. – Contemporary Art Marketing, Istanbul

2003 "Portrættører," The National Gallery on Frederiksborg, Denmark

2003 "Danske Portrætter," Aschehoug Dansk Forlag, Denmark

2001 The calendar of R82, Denmark

2000 The Artist of the Year, Mediolog, Denmark

1998 The calendar of Chr. Hansen's Laboratories, Denmark

1997 Nestlé Denmark,

1996 The Calendar of Gallerihuset, Copenhagen

1996 "Litteraturens Veje", Gads Forlag, Denmark

1996 "Danske Portrætter 1985 - 1995", Gyldendal , Denmark

1996 "Dansk Standart", The DS-catalogue, Denmark

1993 Café Victor, Copenhagen


- - - - -


"Realisme Orientale"

The graphic universe of Bente Christensen-Ernst


”Melancholy is as seductive as Ecstasy”, Mason Cooley


Realism is not just realism. There is an immense difference between the objective realism of the Danish author Henrik Pontoppidan (1857-1943, Nobel Prize winner in literature) who used to ”submit problems to debate” and the magic realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The same is true when speaking of other art forms: The early dramas of Henrik Ibsen and the cinematic art of Ingmar Bergmanin contrast with the videos of Shirin Neshat and the films of Pedro Almadovar. The first two carry the stamp of Nordic serenity, rationality and stringency in narrative, the second exhibit strong passion, mystery and a complicated (melo)dramatic plot. The first two try to get the skeletons out of the closet while the others keep them as an integrated part of life.


When looking at the art of Bente Christensen-Ernst one is not in doubt. Although being a Danish citizen her realism is the southern type. Even when with her sharp satiric approach in her paintings she criticizes the social conditions in Denmark – especially the integration controversy – her realism is never one-dimensional, but rather playfully ambiguous. The reason behind this is found in her colours. In contrast to the cool and bright colours that have been typical for North European painting since the Dutch painters in the 17th century the colours of Bente Christensen-Ernst are palpable, glowing and smouldering. They nearly feel like velvet. These are colours that have been influenced by a totally different landscape, a totally different nature and a totally different mentality than those of Scandinavia where light does not permit the same saturation in colours as it does down south.


When speaking about what the art of Bente Christensen-Ernst is not, one also has to mention the Pop Art. At first glance the saturated colours, the sharp outlines and the graphically confident composition might remind of American Pop Artists as Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist and Mel Ramos. There is however a striking difference in her approach to the subject. Generally speaking Pop Art is optimistic, rational and deliberately anti-narrative while the paintings of Bente Christensen-Ernst are narrative, enigmatic and rather melancholic. When Bente Christensen-Ernst paints a pear, a couple of cherries, a rose or a fish they do not appear as if in an advertisement. On the contrary, she elevates them to an unearthly sphere where they come to appear preternatural. It is as if she is painting the idea of the flower, of the fruit or of the fish just as a poet in his poetry attempts to catch the fickleness of life or the memory of the scent of a woman he once loved.


The paintings of Bente Christensen-Ernst elevate the familiar to a transcendent reality where flower and fruit turn into human beings and vice versa. This is a world where physical pleasure derived from the sensuous aspects of life is mixed with sadness at the shortness of our lifespan. This is a world where beauty is inextricably and inescapably bound up with pain and where ecstasy and melancholy are two sides of the same coin. This approach to life and to art is far from that of Scandinavia. But this is also how I view Bente Christensen-Ernst: She is an "easternised" Scandinavian. And this is meant as a compliment

 Tom Jørgensen, author and art critic, BA in art history