Born in 1938 in Copenhagen, Per Kirkeby is one of the most diverse artists of our age – a creative polymath. His work encompasses painting, architecture, sculpture, as well as film and literature. Having completed a PhD in Geology, he began studying at the Experimental Art School in 1962 – a background that embeds his viewpoints as in the scientific as in the artistic world.
The exhibition juxtaposes the »Blackboards« (1992–2001) and bronzes of the »Læsø-Heads I–IV« (1983), bringing together Kirkeby's entire canon of shifting elements and themes. The works, all in some way, depict stone and plant structures metamorphosing into human shape, and vice versa.
For the »Blackboards« Kirkeby used square Masonite panels – typically measuring 122 x 122 cm – as painting ground. He created the »Black Pictures« by priming the panels with a chalkboard coating in order then to apply drawings with varnish, white chalk or coloured chalk. Resembling school blackboards with scientific notation from Rudolf Steiner and later from Joseph Beuys, who was also interested in Steiner's anthroposophy, these works share a conceptual premise, nevertheless they are given an artistic twist by adopting forms with references to nature such as branches, tree trunks or other organic structures.
The bronzes »Læsø-Heads« also originate in the amorphous structure of nature. These black patinated bronzes, with jagged surfaces, massive and block-like, allow us to perceive the human body as a form that corresponds with both mineral and vegetable structures.