Emma Rytoft is a Swedish-born artist, living and working in Berlin since 2012.
Rytoft has a Master of Architecture from Lund University. She studied color theory, land art, and drawing at Paris La Villette and painting at Central St. Martins in London.
With a focus on large-scale murals in public and private spaces, as well as works on paper and canvas, she creates magical scenes that invite the viewer to reflect on our place, as humans, in the universe. Painting details from her daily life; endless afternoons in front of a computer, fleeting moments of tranquility in a warm bubble bath, and including apparently unrelated objects, plants, and animals in these scenes, she addresses the concept that everything in the universe is one. Using bold black outlines and bright colors, she combines elements from surrealism with pop art sentiments such as irony and repetition to create her own language.
Rytoft has completed more than 20 murals in places such as Berlin, Malmö, Zürich, and Dubai. Her most recent projects include a 350 m2 mural covering the ground floor of an apartment building in Berlin and a mural for the street art gallery A-fence at Alexanderplatz. She has exhibited at galleries in London, New York, Shanghai, and Berlin and has worked on commissions for magazines such as Elle Décor.
I am inspired by the colors of Mexico, the feeling of my daughters hand on my belly and the IDEAS OF NATURAL ORDER.
2022 F*ck the Algorithm, Berlin
2019 Monumenta, Leipzig
2019 Spring Break, Galerie Baull, Berlin - SOLO
2018 Wandelism, Berlin
2016 Shark, YBDD, Berlin - SOLO
2014 Anonymous Shanghai, Art Collective, London - SOLO
2014 Anonymity, Matzform, New York - SOLO
2013 Anonymous City, YBDD, Berlin - SOLO
2023 Arbol de la Vida - Querétaro, Mexico
2022 Urban Art for a Better World - Northside Gallery, Berlin
2021 A-FENCE - Street Art Berlin and COVIVIO, Alexanderplatz
2021 Bayernring - Heimstaden, Tempelhof, Berlin
2020 Litfassäule am Hackescher Markt, Berlin
2019 Foajen - Jernhusen, Malmö
2019 Das Ministerium, Berlin
2018 100 Jahre Revolution - Kulturprojekte Berlin, Alexanderplatz
Emma Rytoft b.1982
My works are dreamlike, alternate realities where human figures, often with their heads replaced by clouds, plants, or animal faces, exist in vibrantly enigmatic settings.
Drawing inspiration from philosophy, physics, and biology, I paint details from my daily life; long nights of comforting my infant daughter, endless afternoons in front of a computer, and fleeting moments of tranquility in a warm bubble bath. Everyday happenings hold feelings of utmost tenderness, excruciating boredom, and lighthearted joy. When we rest for a while on these seemingly ordinary occasions, we perceive a connection to something greater than ourselves. My paintings explore this sentiment.
Including apparently unrelated objects, plants, and animals in these scenes, I address the concept that everything in the universe is one. Clouds, birds, and cacti appear repeatedly, symbolizing the importance of dreams, freedom, and resilience. Obscuring the heads of figures, they question the place of humans in the world order and challenge the role of rational intelligence as superior. The colorful vistas surrounding the figures evoke a sense of alienation from nature and, as a result, from society. My paintings tell stories of longed-for connections between individuals and their surroundings.
Using bold black outlines and bright colors, I combine elements from surrealism with pop art sentiments such as irony and repetition to create my own language. My works are lighthearted upon first sight and encourage the viewer to pause and smile. I wish to trigger childhood memories and bring back the magic of innocence. In breaking the rules of perspective, I allude to the limitless imagination we possess before being shaped to fit into society. With the free mind of a child, we can imagine exquisite settings where humans live in harmony with plants and animals, and anything is possible.
Since the birth of my daughter in 2021, the power of women and the importance of pregnancy, childbirth, and childcare have become prominent themes in my work. Giving birth has made me question our hyper-capitalist, quantified reality more than ever. Growing a child inside you is a tremendous transformation, and the responsibility for that life is overwhelming. Modern society leaves little space for the profound nature of these experiences and often leaves new mothers feeling isolated and undervalued. My latest paintings encourage reflection on women's fundamental role in humanity's survival. They highlight the resilience required to bring new life to this world and celebrate the power of the female body and spirit.
I work with ink on paper, acrylic on canvas, and large-scale private and public murals. My work is scalable; I create my murals from small sketches and scale them free-hand to fit surfaces up to 20 x 25 meters.