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Passionism is a contemporary art movement in Scandinavia, anti-avantgarde in its approach. The term was coined by art critique Merete Sanderhoff in her work Sorte Billeder [Black Pictures] [1] as an attempt to categorise talents outside the avantgarde canon, that did not fit into any known art category. They are referred to as the black sheep of the contemporary art scene.[2]

The passionist artists are concerned with the continuation of pre-avantgarde painting traditions without turning into a repetition of these works. They are not simply postmodernists because they actually take the content and the techniques of these traditional paintings seriously. The content focuses on narratives of riddles, yearning, and solemnity. That does not mean they lack humour, but their paintings are meant to be taken seriously. There is a tendency to create very dark paintings hence the title black pictures. Furthermore, they often comment on the doctrines of the modern and postmodern art and art theories, moving beyond these rigid constraints.[3]



  1. ^ Merete Sanderhoff (2007): Sorte Billeder – kunst og kanon. Rævens Sorte Bibliotek.
  2. ^ Merete Sanderhoff (2007): Sorte Billeder – kunst og kanon. Rævens Sorte Bibliotek, p. 37ff.
  3. ^ Merete Sanderhoff. This is not a canon. Canonization and its effect on contemporary art. In Nordisk Museologi 2005/2. pp. 74-88. Abstract: How does canonization affect contemporary art and the definition of cultural heritage? This subject is right now topical in Denmark, where the Ministry of Culture recently issued a much debated canon of Danish culture. This article looks behind the concept of canonization and examines the structures that determine why some artists and art works are canonized, while others are disregarded. The focus of the article is a marginalized group of contemporary Danish artists, named passionists, who have deliberately chosen to oppose the prevailing standards of art production. These standards are based on the tradition of the avant-garde, which itself forms a canon within art historiography today. "Untitled Document". Archived from the original on 2007-10-07. Retrieved 2008-01-19.