Exhibitions
Donation Jorn, Silkeborg/billedkunst.dk. Asger Jorn, On the silent myth, opus 7, 1953. Silkeborg Bibliotekerne.

© Donation Jorn, Silkeborg/billedkunst.dk.
Asger Jorn, On the silent myth, opus 7, 1953. Silkeborg Bibliotekerne.

1949-1954: Nordic folk culture

Jorn regarded Nordic folk culture as unique and distinct from other cultures. He believed that while the classic Southern European tradition is based on the written word, the Scandinavian cultural tradition is based on images. This idea would infuse Jorn’s entire artistic project.

How images shape ideas

From 1949 to 1952 Jorn and the archaeologist P.V. Glob worked together on a draft for a book about ancient Danish art. The book was intended to describe ancient culture on the basis of the Marxist tenets about how the means of production shape a society’s power structures, religion, and culture.

The book was never published, but nevertheless it formed the basis for several of Jorn’s subsequent books, all of which accentuate the special significance of images as important vehicles for expressing human thought and emotion through the ages.

Donation Jorn, Silkeborg/billedkunst.dk. Asger Jorn, Gossip plate, 1953. Museum Jorn, Silkeborg.

© Donation Jorn, Silkeborg/billedkunst.dk.
Asger Jorn, Gossip plate, 1953. Museum Jorn, Silkeborg.

Reinterpreting the past

Jorn’s interest in the Nordic past expressed itself as an attempt at reinterpreting traditional elements. He wanted to give them a new format that reflected his own times. 

Jorn’s first important work with ceramics – which he created in co-operation with local ceramicists in Jutland – offers one way of reinterpreting a popular, folk-art tradition.


Donation Jorn, Silkeborg/billedkunst.dk Asger Jorn, The Wheel of Life: January Picture of the Seasons Cycle, 1953. SMK.

© Donation Jorn, Silkeborg/billedkunst.dk
Asger Jorn, The Wheel of Life: January Picture of the Seasons Cycle, 1953. SMK.

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Updated: 7.jul.2014
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