28 March - 23 May 2015

Michael Werner Kunsthandel is delighted to announce the upcoming exhibition with recent works by the Danish artist, Per Kirkeby (*1938). Following the highly successful show in our Cologne gallery two years ago, which focused on his paintings on canvas from 2010 to 2012, we are now proud to present his monotypes, drawings and masonites from the same period.

Per Kirkeby, who studied Geology from 1957 to 1964, has travelled widely and undertaken numerous expeditions in the course of his life. These experiences continue to provide a rich source of inspiration for his contemporary work. He combines scientific objectivity with artistic sensibility reflecting his experiences in a unique aesthetic form. Masonite, a special hardboard that Kirkeby used extensively in the early 1960’s, is particulary suited for recording his impressions during his trips: hidden huts, tree trunks, cave entrances, cloud formations, cliff faces, frozen fields of ice and stagnant ponds, all provide more or less overt models in his work. However his representation is never descriptive . His work creates an unusual synthesis of naturalism and abstraction, and spatial depth constantly dissolves into an interplay of colour and form.

Per Kirkeby’s intense fascination with landscape goes far beyond a mere geological interest. His pictures probe the existential questions of humanity and the essential condition of human existence. He is a master at capturing our attention and even his small sketches have the power to reveal the energy and beauty inherent in a landscape, even when it is unfamiliar to us.

„Landscapes are about beauty and death. The only way you can define beauty – in a tree, for instance – is to know that death is hiding behind it. This is what haunts you when you’re doing a so-called landscape painting.” (Per Kirkeby, 1991)

Recent major exhibitions of the artist’s work have been held in the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2014), the Kunsthalle Giessen (2014), the Phillips Collection, Washington (2012), the Ny Carlsberg Glyptothek, Copenhagen (2012), Museum Küppersmühle, Duisburg (2012) and in the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels (2012). The major retrospectives in 2008/2009 in the Lousiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, in the Tate Modern, London and in the Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf were also greeted with international acclaim.