24 March – 25 June 2023


Brand-new works by Klara Lilja (b.1989) introduce young contemporary art to the museum in a topical encounter with Jean René Gauguin (1881–1961), who is represented by several works in the permanent collection. The exhibition builds on Gauguin’s main work Merman and Mermaid from 1928, which will be moved into Zaha Hadid’s building and placed openly in the room, so that it can be viewed from all sides. The drama embodied in Gauguin’s monumental ceramic sculpture group is accentuated in the interplay with Lilja’s works, which depict existential transformations in a quirky universe of beauty and horror. The boldness used by Gauguin to challenge the elasticity of the clay and the responsiveness of the glaze adds tension to the voluptuous rivalry enacted by the two figures. We rediscover a similar boldness in Lilja’s work with the malleable material.

The exhibition receives generous financial support from

Grosserer L. F. Foghts Fond 

Arne V. Schleschs Fond


Statens Kunstfond

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Klara Lilja. Flesh Vase with Heart, 2023. Photo Anders Sune Berg

Jean Gauguin. The Kiss. (ca. 1930). Photo Anders Sune Berg

Jean Gauguin. Merman and Mermaid. (1928). Photo Anders Sune Berg