Per Kirkeby (1938- ), Untitled, 1995
A central issue in Per Kirkeby’s scenes from nature dating from the 1980s onwards is his exploration of the relationships between and conjunctions of the structures of nature and culture.
The Romantic tradition
In themselves, pictorial representations of nature constitute a very significant category within art history. To Per Kirkeby, the Romantic notions of nature as something that reflects moods and states of mind are particularly important. And he is very much aware of the artistic effects and meanings that this tradition activates – not least in Scandinavia.
The processes of nature
Per Kirkeby is interested in the processes of nature. The interplay between disintegration and resurrection,
the layer of systematics superimposed on a sudden and unpredictable expressivity, the paradoxical figuration of abstraction, the tactility of materials and the sensuous potential are all properties of nature, but they also become characteristic of Kirkeby’s method and the way he forms his images.
Thus, both nature and painting become a grand narrative eloquent of insights beyond language, establishing an organic connection between sense perception and reflection instead.