Danish Architect Rune Bo Jakobsen to Showcase Collection of Art at The Phoenicia This August

Rune Bo Jakobsen’s vibrant exhibition, curated by Dr Charlene Vella, is open at The Phoenicia Malta from 1 – 30 August.

Titled ‘Green City: from Floriana to Mdina’, the paintings portray land and streetscapes that aim to draw attention to the available greenery of the Maltese islands, which is sadly being lost due to indiscriminate construction.

Jakobsen’s art is about giving hope and inspiring us to improve the potential of our environment and society. In doing so his paintings portray spaces with emotion, capturing dappled light and reimagining a soft regenerative ambience.

At times the paintings also include the people who inhabit and experience beauty in the spaces. The paintings titled ‘Ensemble’ start as a conversing group of friends clustered together in the Arcades of St Anne’s Street, Floriana. The theatrical space is illuminated in a green light from beyond and from canvas to canvas the scenographic composition is abstracted into a dreamy space that could be future or past.

In a subliminal way Jakobsen states the exhibition conveys an important urgent message: ‘We can choose to make Malta green’.

Born in Denmark in 1975, Jakobsen is an artist, sculptor and architect. He studied at the Istituto Statale d’Arte di Orvieto & Monopoli in Italy between 1993-94, followed by a Master’s in Architecture in Denmark between 1994 and 2000. Knowing his background, it therefore becomes clear how and why the urban and rural context is key to Rune Bo Jakobsen’s art.

Being also a sculptor, his public sculptures include the travelling one tonne concrete cast ‘Popcorn’ (MAF 2013), the 4m tall stainless steel sculpture ‘Olive Twist ’in Zejtun (MTIP 2021), the 23-foot fibreglass paperboat ‘Hope’ a Malta-Australia Child Memorial at the Valletta Waterfront (2007), and the 100cm bronze ‘Embryonic Horse ’in Floriana (in progress, 2023).

In this solo exhibition, recognisable landmarks such as Robert Sammut Hall are evident, as well as the iconic city of Mdina perched on the hilltop portrayed at different times of day and viewpoints. Other elements are the distinguishing dominating church steeples, Maltese timber balconies, boats in the harbour and precipitous fortifications, all bathed in the warm Mediterranean light as seen throughout the year and changing seasons.

Jakobsen is here proving his ability to see colour in any object, and colour is a distinguishing element of his paintings. This is testament to his power of observation and maturity in the use of a broad palette. Colour is seen through the light as well as in the shade and shadows that is cast on and by limestone buildings and trees that play an equally important role.

Executed with broad brushstrokes and bold, block colours, this is where Jakobsen’s emotions shine through even in the ever-changing Mediterranean skies.

Some of these paintings that were executed en plein air as well as in the artist’s Birkirkara studio, also display drawings that show through the painted layers or which were added to finish off the composition, creating more definition.

Also significant to this exhibition is a 2.8m high sculpture titled ‘Green heart ’which is exhibited in the lush gardens of The Phoenicia Malta, an adequate location for this artist’s silent commentary.