Per Kirkeby (1938- ), A Romantic Picture, 1965
A Romantic Picture is certainly a principal work within Per Kirkeby’s oeuvre.With its five wings, each 122 cm wide and three times that in height, it is directly linked to the series of standard formats of 122 x 122 cm that formed an objective structure for his works in the 1960s and 1970s.
The picture's motif
The picture is based on silhouettes from women’s magazines, comics, and soft porn magazine, images that, like US Pop Art, refer to the modern pictorial reality created by modern media. They do not form a coherent narrative, but float like fragments in a painterly, tactile space.
The title A Romantic Picture
The title itself, A Romantic Picture, can be viewed as a declaration of intent, creating an explicit framework for our interpretation. It can refer to the subject matter shown in the picture, to the effective and dramatic suggestions of strong landscapes, heroes in dashing and energetic poses and ladies in alluring, seductive postures. Or it can refer to the widely different moods created tonally with the violent contrast between each of the five vertical fields.
The use of the indefinite article – this is A romantic picture – dissolves the concept of an autonomous statement, thematising the picture itself as merely an example, a fragment.