Bjørn Nørgaard in brief (b. 1947)

  • As a young man, Nørgaard seeks out the experimental art school “Eks-skolen” as an alternative to the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts
  • Bjørn Nørgaard is ready to “empty himself of all he had learnt” and becomes inspired by the other artists at Eks-skolen and their desire to challenge conventional concepts of art
  • As part of the work aimed at forming a new vein of art, Bjørn Nørgaard stages a number of actions that take place directly in front of the audience. Overall, Nørgaard’s practice evinces a conceptual consistency that links up his actions, works in the public space, and sculptures
  • In 1968 Bjørn Nørgaard meets the artist Lene Adler Petersen; they are married the next year. The couple explore how art can interact with society in jointly executed works and actions
  • With the action A Ritual Dissection of a Horse (The Horse Sacrifice) from 1970 Nørgaard demonstrates a strong willingness to take his artistic vision and work to the logical conclusion
  • A keen interest in human beings and the human figure in relation to the world is a principal element in Nørgaard’s art. In his works he demonstrates different approaches to the figure, often while engaging classical sculpture in new dialogues
  • Up through the 1980s Nørgaard acted as visiting professor abroad. From 1985 to 1994 Bjørn Nørgaard was a professor at the Sculpture School at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen
  • Perhaps the best-known work by Bjørn Nørgaard is a series of tapestries for the Great Hall at Christiansborg Palace, seat of the Danish Parliament; he was commissioned to create the tapestries as a gift to Queen Margrethe II, and the series was made over the course of the years 1988-2000. His work has received funding from The Academy Council, the Danish Arts Foundation, and many other foundations and grants.
  • Nørgaard has received distinctions such as the Eckersberg Medal, the Prince Eugen Medal, the Thorvaldsen Medal, the Ingenio et Arti order, the Pro Europa European culture award, the Order of Dannebrog, and the Årets Håndværker (Artisan of the Year) award.

Year by Year – from social critic to court artist

Enrols at The Experimental Art School Eks-Skolen. Here he meets fellow artists Poul Gernes (1925-96), Peter Louis Jensen (1941-99), Per Kirkeby (b. 1938), and Henning Christiansen (1932-2008).

Is invited by the artist Joseph Beuys (1921-86) to perform Sculptural demonstrations as part of Beuys’ action Manresa/Hommage à Schmela in Düsseldorf.


Member of The Congress for Contact, Communication, and Love, an organisation inspired by the Provo movement. Director of the Anti-Drugs League. Member of the happening group Cart 13.

Meets the artist Lene Adler Petersen (b. 1944); the couple get married the next year. Co-editor of the underground journal Hætsjj.

At Charlottenborg, the Academy Council removes Bjørn Nørgaard’s Gold Medal project on reasons of lése-majesty.
Co-editor of the journal ta’ box.
Co-editor of The North Star Wall Paper.
Co-founder of experimental film company ABCinema.
Chairman of The Artist’s Autumn Exhibition/KE.
Slump 1 builds a city in a field near Kirke Hyllinge with

The action The Horse Sacrifice attracts coverage from popular tabloid newspaper Ekstra Bladet and
sparks off considerable debate in Denmark.
Co-editor of the journal A+B.


Creates the made-for-television film Diary of a Seducer for the Danish broadcasting company’s series of portraits of artists. The film is censored and never shown.
The Livø Action, a settlement project on the small island of Livø. The participants wish to create a space
for creativity, diversity, and autonomy and to highlight the shortcomings of the capitalist production apparatus. The settlement is brought to a stop by the police; instead, the group sets up a working collective at the market garden farm Haugård.

Co-founder of the Eks-skolen Printing Press, co-owner up until 1977.

Works with the assistance of craftsmen for the first time in connection with the execution of Christian
lll’s Mausoleum.

Represents Denmark at The Venice Biennial together with Per Kirkeby.
Co-founder of The Eks-Skolen publishing house.

The Human Wall is exhibited at The Guggenheim in New York.

Professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen (1985-94). Works to promote the
tradition of craftsmanship.

Commissioned to create The Tapestries (1988-2000) for the Great Hall at Christiansborg Palace, seat
of the Danish Parliament.

Member of the artist’s association The Free Exhibition.

Receives the Order of Dannebrog.

Chairman of The Special Buildings Authority.
Member of the Ministry of Culture’s Cultural Committee.

Member of the Committee for Visual Art (under the Ministry of Culture).

Member of The Committee for the Preservation of Crafts.

Chairman of The New Public Service Council, the purpose of which is to promote public discussion
regarding the content and quality of media offerings.

Member of the Canon Committee for Visual Arts.

Creates illustrations for new Danish edition of The Bible as translated by Anna Sophie Seidelin.

The Danish broadcasting company channel DR2 devotes a theme night to Bjørn Nørgaard on 19 May 2007 on the occasion of the artist’s 60th birthday.

President of Kunstforeningen for kunstgalleriet 44 Møn (Rene Block’s Kunsthal).

Reveals model for tomb for HM Queen Margrethe and HRH the Prince Consort in Roskilde Cathedral.

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Updated: 19.nov.2015
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