LASSE ANTONSEN: IN THE STUDIO WITH PER KIRKEBY 

17 SEPTEMBER - 10 DECEMBER 2020

"Per Kirkeby was the closest I have been to an artistic genius, and he was extraordinarily multifaceted. I mentioned that, because his inner studio, if we can call it that, had so many aspects to it, operating all at once in mutually reinforcing directions.

 

By the 1990s he had a studio in the northern part of Copenhagen, and also on the island of Læsø, and he had a place in Germany, in Frankfurt am Main, where he was a professor. He also stayed occasionally in a large old, renovated villa he had bought in southern France.

 

The studios were important, but more so were the seasons. He would start a painting and become aware of how much the colors were part of that season, and how much they changed as the season changed. 

 

The studio in Hellerup, in the northern part of Copenhagen, was the only studio I experienced. It was where he lived permanently and where his family lived. Especially impressive in that villa was how the studio was directly connected to the house through a large library and study. Per constantly painted, wrote, and studied. Everything flowed ceaselessly. (...)

 

Per Kirkeby was very open about how he worked. As many great artists, I believe he was himself puzzled by the creative process, and also at the same time constantly afraid of loosing the connections that made it possible for him to manifest significant imagery. 

 

He would constantly talk and write about the creative process, never theoretically, but rather how it manifested itself for him and how he saw it in other artists. There are many interviews and documentaries on him at work. Especially important is the documentary, “Per Kirkeby: Vinterbillede,” from 1996. Also important is, “Per Kirkeby Interview: We build upon ruins,” on the Louisiana Channel, from 2008.

 

In the Louisiana Channel video you can observe Per Kirkeby drawing while he is being interviewed. I had a similar experience one afternoon in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1993, where Per Kirkeby had an exhibition at the Laura Carpenter Gallery, and I had been invited to give a talk on Per Kirkeby at the Center for Contemporary Arts. 

 

While talking, Per Kirkeby kept drawing, looking partially at the drawing, partially at at me, yet he never lost the thread of our conversation. I marveled at how easily forms and lines and spaces manifested themselves on the paper, almost without hesitation, though sometimes with a redrawing, or reworking, of some areas, and then suddenly, he would turn the page in the notebook and start another drawing." 

Lasse Antonsen, in his interview to Zephyr and Maize, August 2020.

Zephyr and Maize proudly presents Lasse Antonsen's photographic recollections of his two visits to Per Kirkeby's studio in Hellerup, north of Copenhagen. Taken in 1996 and 2000, respectively, these works mark significant moments for both Kirkeby and the photographer, who developed his own artistic practice to further include writing, curation and visual art. Through Antonsen we can see Kirkeby as genius, witty and charismatic, but also as an inspirational artist, constantly driven by creative force. These unique photo-essays, exhibited in the gallery's viewing room for the first time, allow visitors to travel in space and time and give a glimpse of how Kirkeby's artistic space resonated with his incomparable artistic vision. Last but not least, these works reveal an ideal that guided Antonsen throughout his career: to illuminate art in its purest form.

Varia Serova, curator of the exhibition

Hudson Heights (Figment 17) (fragment), 2018

Acrylic and sand on paper.

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