The Answer by Jørgen Haugen Sørensen at Frederiksberg Court. Photo by Dan Møller

28 April 2022

Frederiksberg Fonden - Another unique work of art is thought-provoking in the Court

The sculptor Jørgen Haugen Sørensen gives us even more, to think about in the Court in Frederiksberg, where a newly inaugurated frieze by the deceased artist builds on the message in the sculpture The Shadow outside the courthouse.

Since the sculptor Jørgen Haugen Sørensen erected his bronze sculpture The Shadow at Frederiksberg's new courthouse in September 2017, there has been a special connection between the artist and the Court at Frederiksberg. Initially, the idea was that The Shadow, which was part of several monumental works for a significant exhibition in Pietrasanta, Italy, should be set up temporarily at the courthouse. However, it became so popular that the Court sought, i.a., Frederiksberg Foundation for money to keep the sculpture and give it its own space on Skyggens Plads next to the courthouse.

The answer to empty white walls 

When Jørgen Haugen Sørensen himself came by in 2017 to look at the trial set-up of The Shadow, he was given a tour of the courthouse on that occasion and passed the bailiff's waiting area. The artist found the area barren and thought he could come up with something better to utilize the large white walls. And then it did not last long before Christian Lundblad, President of the Court at the Court in Frederiksberg, received sketches, for which he applied on behalf of the Court to the Frederiksberg Foundation and the Beckett Foundation for funds to prepare the deadline.

The sculptor began work on the watercolour frieze in 2018, and it has been a long time coming. Unfortunately, a pandemic got in the way. However, the finished work was also of such a particularly unique nature that the frieze meanwhile had to pass Prato in Italy, where it was exhibited and received much attention.

Jørgen Haugen Sørensen died in November last year, aged 87, and therefore did not manage to see the work set up a month later in the courthouse in Frederiksberg. However, the frieze was recently inaugurated as part of a well-attended memorial service for Jørgen Haugen Sørensen in the courthouse.

Questions and answers

The frieze The Answer is closely connected with the sculpture The Shadow outside the courthouse and which Jørgen Haugen Sørensen himself has described as follows:

"The Shadow looks at himself; the Shadow is about the self's relationship to itself. It is a picture of an experience - a self-inflicted experience. The Shadow is a beautiful symbol of what is going on in a courtroom. The whole meaning of the Court; is that the inappropriate incidents taken place are dealt with. For society to function, we need to work with ourselves and suppress the actions that hurt others."

While the Shadow asks questions, the frieze is about seeking answers. The frieze expresses a call for a democracy that can and must be critical of the forces in society that believe they know that they have the answer and know the path everyone else must follow.

"In the first part of the frieze, you see many people standing and looking at a bullet. It can be a symbol of the answer or the truth. They are not many, but others are on their way there: the curious and those who can wonder. A larger group stands still in a group and believes that they have long since arrived at the answer. Others look on as witnesses to a ritual.

Maybe they would rather be without the answers? The frieze is a picture of the essential human condition and not a condemnation. The conditions of our lives are constantly changing, and perhaps the answer is to avoid clinging to truths and doctrines. We are all looking for clues in life, a life that is fleeting and changeable," as Jørgen Haugen Sørensen expressed his thoughts for the work.

For President of the Court Christian Lundblad, the frieze contains an eternally current message: "In my opinion, the message is about honor and the will to free oneself from cowardly ties, about democracy and the rule of law in the face of anarchy and chaos, and that is also what the courts stand for to that extent. However, furthermore, it is a message that is so universal and not least fiercely topical. So, I think that the thoughts behind Jørgen Haugen Sørensen's art, in many ways, but also in the frieze The Answer and the Shadow we have outside, have so much to give us in our everyday lives."

Photos by Dan Møller

The Shadow (by Jørgen Haugen Sørensen) is one that looks at itself. The shadow is about the self's relationship to itself. It is a picture of a self-inflicted experience that is decided in court. Photo: Dan Møller The frieze The Answer (by Jørgen Haugen Søresen) expresses an eternally current message, explained President of the Court Christian Lundblad at the inauguration. Photo: Dan Møller