Down to work with Asger Jorn

Asger Jorn and highlights from the collection

With this presentation of works from our collections, Museum Jorn would like to take you on a tour of Asger Jorn’s artistic universe. The exhibition uncovers Jorn’s practical work methods and techniques as well as disclosing the artistic ideas behind his works. Read more...

Peter Louis Jensen: Strukturtavle, 1965 (udsnit)

The Ex-School

From the collection

ART STRIKES BACK - From Jorn to Banksy

Art as a watchdog for freedom of speech and democracy

Museum Jorn’s large autumn exhibition considers artists’ use of other artists’ works. Examples of this are the Chapman brothers’ use and transformation of Adolf Hitler’s original watercolours, Banksy’s use of Monet and van Gogh to create politically powerful pictures, Asger Jorn’s painting of the disquieting duckling or Gee Vaucher’s image of the Statue of Liberty with her hands clasped over her eyes in an artwork which is as poignant now as it was 25 years ago.

The pivotal point of the exhibition is the artistic strategy of ’détournement’, meaning distortion or twisting. Asger Jorn called his détournements ’modifications’. Jorn’s take on them was that by painting over paintings by older artists, he could modernise them. In this way, the old was given new relevance. Détournement usually employs iconic pictures along with satire, parody, and humour to comment on and rebuke current political and ethical issues.

Jorn’s art, too, was political and his modifications caricatured the self-invention by the elite while also criticising the commercial aspects of art. It is a natural choice for Museum Jorn, therefore, to show art that casts a critical eye on various issues. Especially at a time when we see national and global political initiatives that were unthinkable ten years ago. It makes extremely good sense to Museum Jorn to open its doors to this provocative exhibition, which provides a rare glimpse of the critical potential of art, says the director of Museum Jorn Jacob Thage, who then goes on:
– This is a unique and very relevant exhibition which we believe will challenge the audience – and definitely also provoke them. This is precisely what art should be able to do, namely transform people’s perception of the world, explains the director of Museum Jorn, Jacob Thage.
The exhibition curator, Christian Kortegaard Madsen, says:
– We’ve worked intensely to secure highly acclaimed and seminal works in contemporary art, some of which proved very difficult to get hold of. So, it would not be an understatement to describe the exhibition as a world event coming to Denmark. We hope that very many people will visit the exhibition – from all over Denmark and our neighbouring countries, and even from the rest of world.

Even today, many artists are working in direct continuation of Jorn. The exhibition sets out to showcase, discuss, and present these affinities. Apart from Jorn and Banksy visitors will experience major works by Ai Weiwei, Paul McCarthy, Jake & Dinos Chapman – who have modified works by both Adolf Hitler and Francisco Goya as well as Marcel Duchamp’s ’Mona Lisa’ – Hans-Peter Feldmann, Barbara Kruger, Peter Kennard, Joan Miró, Max Ernst, Gee Vaucher, John Heartfield, kennardphillipps, Jamie Reid, Sue Webster & Tim Noble, Tom Gallant, Enrico Baj, Daniel Spoerri, Tom Gallant, Superflex, Elmgreen & Dragset, Jonathan Meese, Richard Prince, Gary Brotmeyer, Martin Kippenberger, Christof Kohlhofer, Caspard Delanoë, and the Spanish art-activist group Democracia.

To accompany the exhibition, we have produced a richly illustrated catalogue featuring large picture spreads and brand-new articles on the subject.
The exhibition catalogue is designed by Studio Claus Due, who has explored Museum Jorn’s extensive archives to find inspiration for the catalogue layout.
The catalogue can be sent on request.

Quotes and facts:

‘Why reject the old
if one can modernize it
with a few strokes of the brush?’
(Asger Jorn)

‘Bad artists
imitate, great
artists steal.’
(Pablo Picasso / Banksy)

‘The exhibition is like a prickly hedgehog:
No matter how many times you turn it over,
you will get pricked. It will penetrate your mental filter
and challenge your preconceptions.’
(Christian Kortegaard Madsen, exhibition and museum curator, Museum Jorn)

Détournement [distortion or twisting] is an artistic strategy where artists alter works made by other artists by using that work’s specific expression and idiom to create a radically different statement than was originally intended. Détourned works often apply satire, parody, and humour to rebuke, for example, the art institution and the art market, but will also often target political and ethical issues.

Press photos may be downloaded here:
The attached image Oh America, 1989 was created by Gee Vaucher

14 September until 8 December 2019
Museum Jorn, Silkeborg

Download press release here


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