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"Asger Jorn: A Retrospective"
2002-09-14 until 2003-01-19
ARKEN Museum of Modern Art
Ishoj, , DK Denmark

One of the great innovators in twentieth century art is the Dane Asger Jorn. Throughout the autumn of 2002 ARKEN presents both well-known and rarer sides to Jorn’s comprehensive scope of activities. Among the more than 200 exhibited works is Denmark’s most expensive painting ever, ‘In The Beginning Was The Image’ Asger Jorn (1914-73) had international stature as few Danish post-war artists. He mastered countless media: Painting, sculpture, graphic prints, ceramics, drawing, collage and literary productions.

By establishing a dialogue between the many media ARKEN sheds new light on the artist this autumn. The juxtaposition of the many works shows on the one hand the playful, ironic Jorn, on the other the solemn and existential aspects in him. It will be possible, then, to see for yourself that Jorn was something more than abstract art and CoBrA.

The exhibition presents more than 200 works and thus will be one of the most extensive Jorn exhibitions in Denmark to date. Several of the exhibited works are loans from Danish and foreign museums but just as many are from private lenders. One of the paintings in the exhibition recently became the object of attention at the art auctioneers Christie’s when it became the highest selling Danish painting ever, fetching the Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich DKK 16.5 millions for In The Beginning Was The Image.

Jorn was both very Danish and extremely international. Originally he trained to be a teacher but in 1936 he left Silkeborg for Paris to attend the French artist Fernand Léger’s academy of art. From 1953 onwards he took up permanent residence abroad. However, Jorn never forgot his Danish roots. His art as well as his writings reveal a lifelong fascination with Nordic folk art. Some of the subjects that caught Jorn’s interest were depictions of the Nordic Helhesten, a three-legged ghost horse, and animal struggles between snakes and men.

Throughout the years Jorn’s art has been the subject of many exhibitions here and abroad. Considering the interest in painting held by the artists of today he may be more relevant than ever.

From November ARKEN supplements the great Jorn exhibition with an exhibition of contemporary Scandinavian painting. Among the artists are the Danish John Kørner and Tal R.

The Jorn exhibition is mounted by ARKEN (Per Hovdenakk and Stine Høholt) and subsequently will be shown at COBRA MUSEUM of Modern Art in the Netherlands and at Kunsthalle zu Kiel in Germany.

Asger Jorn
Feligrams, 1942-43
Fyns Kunstmuseum/Odenses Bys museer
©Asger Jorn/COPY-DAN, BILLEDKUNST/200201141.
Foto: Wermund Bendtsen Fotografi ApS

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