GALLERI SUSANNE OTTESEN
THE HAFNIA FOUNDATION
Much dreaming and many words are meaningless
From 19 August to 24 September 2016
Bjørn Nørgaard's recent sculptures cover a wide field; they range from material accumulations on the scale of the body to monumental works spanning the gallery space from wall to wall and from floor to ceiling. The sculptures are made of numerous materials including cast iron, basalt, bronze, glass, stucco marble, aluminium, concrete, wood, steel, plaster, ceramics, gold, enamel, felt, copper, clay, granite, beeswax, everlasting flowers, bird feathers, - all of which have their own histories, meanings and sensualities.
The first part of the exhibition consists of aluminium figures standing on tall pillars made of ferro-concrete and profiled steel. The sculptures are conceivable as modern versions of so-called stylites or pillar-saints; Christian ascetics from the 5th to the 12th century who opted to live for years or for their whole life on pillars, preaching, fasting and praying. In the actual works the pillars in question are translated into recognizable objects that have been cut in half, such as a bureau, a pile of newspapers or the front part of a car. Only the front of the pillar is elaborated whereas the reverse side shows its construction. The aluminium "saints" on top are scale models of actual people in everyday poses.
The second part is a group of open steel cages containing horizontal female torsos combined with other elements into assemblages of contrasting materials and forms. These intimate spaces are in a close relationship to allegorical vanitas motifs dating back to the art of the baroque. They are images of life's vanity but also of the abundance and passion of life, as long as it lasts.
The third part of the show is a massive winding figure in cast iron measuring more than 7 meters and weighing approx. 12 tons which is placed on a large block of basalt carved as a kind of stairway or ramp. The cast iron figure alludes to scientific models of DNA and more precisely to what in molecular biology is referred to as "DNA mismatch repair", a system within the DNA for recognizing and repairing mismatches in the DNA strand.
There are many layers of meaning and allegories in these works, and also many links to Bjørn Nørgaard's other works and ideas over the decades. One of the primary motifs in the exhibition is the changeable image of our body in religion, art and science: As ideal and commonplace reality, as desirable and perishable, as weakness and strength.