SMK Art Journal 2003-04
Overview of the articles in SMK Art Journal 2003-04
Saying one thing and meaning another - An allegory by Peter Land: The Children's Unit - II
By Vibeke Vibolt Knudsen, senior researcher
Peter Land’s huge allegorical drawing can be interpreted on several levels. On the surface, everything appears calm and peaceful, but underneath monstrous things are taking place. An exploration of the work reveals it to be a piece of social criticism, but hidden by the direct meaning of the picture, there is an amorphous fear for the nothingness that is so life-threatening to the individual. The allegorical point of view chronicles things, and destroys them, but this insight into the fragility of all things is also the allegoriser’s attempt to save them from decay.
The Politics and Poetics of Gender - Conceptualising the feminine: Lene Adler Petersen's Cuttings in Paper with the woman sign
By Birgitte Anderberg, Ph.D.-student
Under the title "The Politics and Poetics of Gender", Birgitte Anderberg writes about Lene Adler Petersen’s Cuttings in paper with the woman sign, an enormous collage series in no less than 484 parts. The series is almost like an encyclopaedic critique and poetic probe of the concept of the feminine in the image reservoir of art, daily life and the media in the juxtaposition between the political message’s unambiguity and the poetic ambiguity. The work is analysed in relation to both the feminist discussions of the 1970s and the philosophical trends of contemporary international conceptual art.
Studies in the Formation of Danish Abstract Surrealism in the Early 1930s, part II: Sonja Ferlov's sculpture Two Living Beings, 1935
By Jan Würtz Frandsen, senior researcher
This article is a follow-up on Würtz Frandsen’s article on Ejler Bille in Journal 2002, and is thus also centred on an important early piece in the artist’s complete works. Through a formal analysis and iconological, psychosexual interpretation of Sonja Ferlov’s Two Living Beings, the author investigates to what extent Ejler Bille’s and Richard Mortensen’s artistic practices and theoretical involvement, as well as Gustaf Munch-Petersen’s poetic orientation, played a liberating role in her own art. The author also investigates whether her works, despite common formally-aesthetic and iconographic premises, appear in their meaning and potential significance to communicate a fundamentally different outlook on human relations than that of her friends. The interpretation discusses the contemporary new vitalism, with its social utopia-oriented sexual point-of-view and primitivism as history-of-thought aspects in Ferlov’s universalism founded in surrealism. This basis of interpretation ultimately promotes a new reading of the artist’s most important work from the 1940s, the Museum’s Untitled sculpture, 1940-46 (KMS6654). This article includes previously disregarded aspects in understanding Ferlov’s peculiarity compared with Bille and Mortensen. The sources are primarily visual, but also quite literary, including several hitherto unknown letters from the artist found in SMK’s Mortensen archive.
"The cultivation of the entire people" - changing display contexts for plaster casts in the Royal Danish Kunstkammer collection, and later the National Gallery of Denmark
By Britta Tøndborg, researcher
Plaster casts have, since their days of glory as museum pieces in the 1800s, figured in a variety of exhibition contexts. And the status of casts has changed throughout time, from the great period, when large collections were accumulated in order to display and demonstrate the history of sculpture, to periods of decline, when museums decided that the copies took up too much space in their original collections. This article sheds light on different approaches to plaster casts and their various exhibition contexts based on the Royal Cast Collection at the National Gallery of Denmark.
Cross-readings and Biblical Criticism - on a group of drawings and paitings by Abildgaard
By Thomas Lederballe, researcher
Nicolai Abildgaard is known as the great Danish painter-philosopher of the late 18th century. New research suggests that there is a connection between his famous “portrait” of the Scottish bard Ossian at SMK and the painting of Archangel Michael and Satan fighting over the body of Moses (ARoS), of which there are two significant sketches in the Department of Prints and Drawings. The portrayal of Michael and Satan’s clash was produced as a companion piece to the portrait of Ossian, but it is still widely debated how the connection between the two motifs should be interpreted, especially because written testimony on the works from the artist and others is extremely limited. The article suggests one way the two works can have appeared as a meaningful image pair. The study is based on contemporary philology and biblical interpretation, and adds a new aspect to the thought processes of the difficult-to-understand artist.
Cornelius Gijsbrechts and the Perspective Champer at the Royal Danish Kunstkammer
By Eva de la Fuente Pedersen, senior researcher
The Dutch artist, Cornelius Norbertus Gijsbrechts (active 1659-1675) produced a series of trompe l’oeils for Frederik III and Christian V between 1668 and 1672. Was the fact that many of them ended up in the Perspective Chamber of the King’s Kunstkammer a previously planned strategy or was it just chance? Can the earliest inventories from 1674 and 1690 tell us which of Gijsbrechts’ paintings were on display in the King’s Kunstkammer, and whether they represented a meaningful whole? In the existing literature, Cornelius Gijsbrechs’ paintings have been analysed based on a biographical and iconographical model, which has viewed them as trompe l’oeil paintings with the vanitas motif as the overall theme. The presence of Gijsbrechts’ paintings in the Perspective Hall of the King’s Kunstkammer, however, gives reason to reflect over their decorative function in the room. The article builds on the historical explanation and interpretation based on analyses of the function of the works, the mental-historical context, the perspective genre in relation to contemporary theory-of-art treaties and written sources, as well as the artist’s biography and sociology-of-art aspects of patronage to the Danish king.