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Charlotte Neel Ritto

Charlotte Neel Ritto (b.1954) is a Danish artist living and working in Copenhagen. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from DOGtime, Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, and studied at both Kunstskolen Spektrum and Jagtvejens Billedskole in Copenhagen. Charlotte Neel Ritto has been exhibited in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Provincetown. Her work is also included in Vestjyllands Kunstmuseum collection.

“I tried a lot of different mediums but painting is what I do best. To me it’s like a dance, a dialogue between the medium, the paint and it’s always new, it never gets boring to me. It’s the way I best can express myself. Painting is slow, it suits me. The reflection on the subject matter lies at the start of a process or before I decide what to paint. 

Ideally, when I paint I don’t think. All my paintings so far have been based on real life events recorded by a camera. I might start with something the photograph invites, but along the way it’s a matter of a balance between harmony and tension in the painting. 

Edvard Munch was one of my first heroes, actually since childhood, and maybe he still is. But I also have a rebellious side that I mirror is some of Martin Kippenberger’s paintings. Cecily Brown’s free-flowing paintings inspire me to let go and follow the flow. Other female contemporary artists I admire and have been inspired by counts, Marlene Dumas, Elisabeth Peyton, Helen Vernhoeven, Karin Mamma Anderson, Sarah Vide Ericson, Anna Bjerger. 

The term decadence interests me for several reasons. In nature, after sprouting and blooming comes decline, the rotting process is necessary in order to fertilise the soil for the next generation. At the end of the 18th century a movement called the Decadence Movement started in France around writers like Baudelaire, in England Oscar Wilde and on the painting side, Edvard Munch started to go against society’s traditional values and the focus on development for development’s sake. They said: yes, we do go against the traditional values and we invite you to reevaluate yours. 

The photos that initiated the paintings are from the glory days at Studio 54 in New York just before AIDS became a big issue - we also lived very carelessly and didn’t think about tomorrow. The missing face is because faces in paintings are so demanding for attention.”