A Dark Story in White

According to the legend, God modeled human figures out of clay. He breathed life into them, let them live and will determine if they deserve to burn in hell or not. Jorgen Haugen Sorensen models the human figure but chooses to burn them right away. Instead of leaving them free to live, he captures a moment and keeps them still, giving us the opportunity to live with them. It’s not easy.

In front of his work, we lose our sense of position and we experience uncertainness for a moment as we determine if we are looking at sculptures or if we are looking at ourselves. With the positions he chooses, the situation of the human and the clay, Jorgen unveils the relationship between the human and his own filth. When we look at his figures, we don’t know what to see: the humanity of the clay or the muddiness of humanity. Is he presenting to us a humanity we don’t know or what we don’t want to know about our humanity?

In the Dark Story in White series, we sort of resist the idea of being one of them; we experience denial and acceptance at the same time. The sculptures penetrate us. Either you accept that you belong to them and that they belong to you, or you reject them. You try to forget them, but how? Once you see them, they are already part of you.

Jorgen traveled the world but has spent a significant time in Italy surrounded by sculpted human figures by the greatest masters; the bravura of the masterpieces are familiar to him. After inhaling them all, Jorgen exhaled the human figure, mastered in just one touch. The sober gesture reflects the richness of his human experience; and by his touch, Jorgen doesn’t touch only the clay, he tends to touch the human conscience in each one of us.

In the round reliefs, Jorgen stretches the clay on the surface with only one intense touch, managing to clone for us another human, who we don’t dare ignore even if we don’t know how to relate to him. The figures are modeled simply with great ease, one after the other, but they put us at a deep unease. We see the spontaneous execution of the human figure and the simplicity in creating the 3rd dimension in perspective. We see powerful compositions accommodated in the rounds, but above all, we see the other side of ourselves.

In the past, Jorgen worked with various materials: clay, stone, plaster, bronze, etc. In this body of work, we see Jorgen down to earth, decisively insisting to glorify his intimate relation with one of the most basic materials in a kind of ascetic approach. Saint Augustine said, “I sat on the top of the world when I desired nothing in this world.” It is very clear that Jorgen doesn’t desire to take anything by doing the Dark Story in White, but he has a lot to give. He is giving us the chance to reevaluate our position regarding our self and the other. The Dark Story is the present and the past. Jorgen corners us by asking: Is it necessary that it be the story of the future?

We talked about God, Clay, and Jorgen. Let’s now focus on this image, a human models a human figure to be seen by a human, pointing out inhumanity….

Jorgen is not indifferent toward the people around him. That is his choice. However, if you are one of them, as I am, he doesn’t let you remain indifferent — and that is not your choice.

We don’t know if the whiteness of the Dark Story is Jorgen’s statement of optimism or if it is an acceptance of a future reality. He doesn’t give us the answer. Jorgen only tirelessly asks the question.

Armen Agop, 2016.