Per Kirkeby, The Blue Avant-garde

27.01.2016

The Blue of the Avant-garde builds further on the critically acclaimed exhibition The True Image, which was shown at the HEART Museum of Contemporary Art in Herning in the autumn/winter of 2015. The starting point for the exhibition in Herning is the considerable support that Kirkeby experienced in the Herning area in the 1960s from selected collectors, and the resulting important works by the artist that can thus be found in the Central Jutland area today. At the wish of Per Kirkeby the exhibition in Copenhagen will present new dimensions of the theme: What the artist met and particularly paid attention to in the local situation in Herning.

At the beginning of the sixties Per Kirkeby was associated with the “Eks-School” – The Experimental Art School in Copenhagen – and worked with like-minded artists such as Poul Gernes and Bjørn Nørgaard under the influence of the international art movements. Through manufacturer Aage Damgaard, Herning had become a focal point for Danish and international artists, who traveled to the city and created works under the auspices of the Angli factory. One of the most famous is the Italian conceptual artist Piero Manzoni (1933-63), whose works Per Kirkeby (b. 1938) had first seen in Copenhagen, but met again when he came to Herning, accompanied by art dealer Svend Hansen.

Manzoni’s radical position; among other things he exhibited his own breath and famously canned his own feces, had an immense impact on the artistic community and later in public as well. The period of time and meeting this artistic point zero initiates the exhibition and from there displays a wide range of Kirkeby’s work toward the year 1990. From the radical idioms of the 1960s Kirkeby’s images have developed towards increasing complexity, and the exhibition shows his continued work towards the emotionally charged and compositely coloristic works up until the year 1990.

The exhibition includes works by Piero Manzoni and displays them in a dialogue with Kirkeby’s paintings and books from this period. From the radical expression of the 1960s Kirkeby’s images have evolved towards a continuously picturesque complexity, and the exhibition shows his continued work onto the emotional and complex coloristic until the year 1990.

The exhibition Per Kirkeby. The Blue of the Avant-garde is created in collaboration with HEART and is a processing of the exhibition The True Image, which was shown at HEART in autumn / winter 2015/2016

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