Ordrupgaard will present the exhibition BALKE & KIRKEBY. Distant Horizons from 6 March to 16 August 2009, showing paintings by the Norwegian romantic landscape painter, Peder Balke, together with works by the Danish contemporary artist, Per Kirkeby. The exhibition will for the first time confront the Danish artist with one of the spiritual affinities he values the most. Both artists have each in their own time reached for the sublime, whether it was for the grand dramas of geology or for the landscapes of distant and desolate areas.
The point of departure of the exhibition is the book which Per Kirkeby wrote in 1996 about the romantic and visionary Peder Balke. Although the wanderings and inspirations of the two artists are almost 200 years apart, there is a clear kinship as to both motifs and painting techniques. Both artists seek to frame their sublime experiences in renderings of landscapes with very simple but radical means. Kirkeby calls them his painterly tricks. These ‘tricks’ have a long and vivid but overlooked tradition, represented by the way Balke mixes the techniques of an artist with those of a housepainter and the way Kirkeby uses graining and marbling techniques.
The curator of the part of the exhibition showing the works by Peder Balke is the Austrian art historian Dieter Buchhart in collaboration with Ordrupgaard. This part of the exhibition is currently on view in Kunsthalle Krems in Austria as the first retrospective exhibition on Balke outside Norway. It will show the fascinating paintings of mountains and rough water that Balke painted during the 1830s and 1840s and it will follow his development in the 1850s towards radical works characterised by an outstanding, experimental technique. With approximately 40 paintings from major Norwegian museums and private collections, including works never exhibited before, this part of the exhibition will provide a substantial view of Balke’s works.
The curator of the part of the exhibition showing the works by Per Kirkeby is the Danish artist Erik Steffensen in collaboration with Ordrupgaard. This part of the exhibition will consist of a carefully selected series of works from monumental masterpieces over blackboards and modifications to the large bronze Resurrection, emphasizing the artist’s early romantic experiments and visions as well as his more recent painterly tricks. There is currently a growing focus on Per Kirkeby with considerable exhibitions in Denmark as well as abroad. The aim of this exhibition is to focus on the artist’s peculiar “Bravura” themes and to take his declared kinship to the Norwegian painter as a point of departure.
The exhibition is supported by Oticon Fonden