Ole Ahlberg har siden sin debut i 1975 arbejdet i et fotorealistisk formsprog inden for maleri, collage og grafik. Hans motivverden har sit udgangspunkt i den tidlige surrealisme, hvis figurer og symboler A. har indføjet i sit eget kunstneriske udtryk. I hans tidlige arbejder visualiseredes hulhed og splittelse gennem en habitklædt mandlig model. Siden blev et frodigt landskab med surreelle elementer inddraget. Op gennem 1980erne blev denne motivkreds afløst af dyresymbolik og, sideløbende hermed, poetiske billeder med kvinden som tema.
Ole Ahlberg’s painting has undergone a distinct development during the last few years. Whereas earlier his pictures were formed by the maxim “a picture in a picture in a picture”, like a set of Chinese boxes, now there is only one central picture surface, one central scene where the action takes place.
Thus Ole Ahlberg has abandoned his subtle illusionism in favor of a more “normal” painting. This hasn’t made his pictures any less enigmatic or ambiguous as he concurrently began making use of a one-color background, black or dark blue, like many of the Dutch Baroque still life artists employed. A background that appears even more inscrutable and mysterious in relation to the brightly illuminated objects in the foreground.
Ole Ahlberg has created a universe where the baroque vanitas symbols, such as peeled lemons, hourglasses, unlit candles, and skulls, have been replaced by a more contemporary repertoire. The most obvious difference being between things and people from the “real” world contra comic strip characters. His many scantily-clad women, swans, porcelain objects, and clouds are painted in a very convincing life-like manner while the comic strip characters, mainly taken from Hergés’ Tintin, are painted with a clearly defined outline that makes them appear flat on the canvas. A difference that is almost tangible....