In contrast to the first four books in the series, which took their point of departure in nature and in culture in all its breadth, the motifs of Feltbog 5 centre upon Kirkeby’s relationship with architecture and the elements of form and structure that he derives from architecture; not just as inspiration for his paintings, but also in the brick sculptures that are located round about in the public arena, and for which Kirkeby’s small bronze models form the basis.
At the exhibition "Per Kirkeby – Architecture", visitors can see all the original collages from the book, along with a selection of Kirkeby’s bronze models.
Kirkeby’s architectural models
Kirkeby’s interest in architecture has its roots in his upbringing in Copenhagen’s Northwest district, which in terms of building stock is characterised by classic 19th-century workers’ apartment blocks, together with public housing in a functionalist style from the inter-war years, as well as the enormous Grundtvig’s Church, which was finally completed a few years after Kirkeby’s birth in 1938. Kirkeby’s brick sculptures play with references to the Danish tradition of brick construction, but inspiration has also been drawn from the rest of the world, including the ruins of the Mayan temples that Kirkeby saw as a young man during a trip to Central America.
Although the bronze models are directly related to the brick sculptures, they should not be seen as models in a technical, architectural sense. On the contrary, through his distinctive awareness of materials, Kirkeby creates alternative narratives in bronze from the same starting-point as the brick sculptures – and vice versa. Or as the renowned American art historian Robert Storr put it in the exhibition catalogue for Louisiana’s major retrospective exhibition in 2008: “Often smaller than the bricks of which the larger constructions are composed, these poked, prodded and squeezed lumps suggest a grandeur he steers away from when the same forms are raised to human scale, as though the artist was actutely wary of slipping into the clichés of visionary architecture but able to delight in smaller excursions into the Romantic’s territory without looking over his shoulder.  The beauty of these shapes – and they are beautiful – resides in their elemental qualities, their humbleness, their authority and their irreducible physicality.”
The field book series
Per Kirkeby’s field book series is published by Forlaget Bjerggaard in an edition of 500 numbered and signed copies. The field books are inspired by the artist’s early original collage books, which today belong to ARoS, and his records from his many study trips to Greenland during the sixties – the so-called ‘field books’. In the book series, the collages are reproduced on 1:1 scale. It is still possible to acquire all five field books with the same edition number.
Per Kirkeby will be personally present at exhibition opening and book reception which will take place at Galleri Bo Bjerggaard from 4.00-6.00 pm on Thursday 20 November. All are welcome.