Bornholm Art Museum

18 November 2022 - 29 May 2023

We are not butterflies. Jørgen Haugen Sørensen, 1934–2021

The exhibition is the first retrospective look at the oeuvre of Jørgen Haugen Sørensen.

Haugen Sørensen worked actively as a visual artist for seventy years and leaves behind an impressive array of artwork from his lifetime. The collections of the Bornholm Art Museum have more than 300 of his works. Twenty-four of them were purchased over a number of years, but most were generously donated by the artist himself in 2014. The current exhibition presents more than one hundred sculptures from every period of his life. Many have never before been exhibited at the Bornholm Art Museum.

The exhibition’s point of departure has been to examine Jørgen Haugen Sørensen’s artistic process, use of materials and design. One of his outstanding traits was his command of a brilliant modelling technique. Even the early works from the 1960s and 1970s, which at first glance do not resemble anything recognisable, are carefully modelled. This is particularly evident in his works of clay and bronze from the past thirty years. His modelling and design are so convincing that a fervent tension arises between the material and motifs in many of his sculptures.

One of Jørgen Haugen Sørensen’s last sculptures – Manden med hunden (Man with the dog) – is displayed in ‘Gaden’, the museum’s inner thoroughfare. The sculpture stands all by itself in a vast space 36 metres long and 11 metres high. Although only 120 cm tall, it fills the entire space. Each of his sculptures deserves this much space to do justice to their evocative power and to enable museum visitors to familiarise themselves with each sculpture at their own pace. The intensity of Haugen Sørensen’s works is familiar from the many urban squares and settings which are graced by his stone sculptures. These are represented in the exhibition by a selection of small stone sculptures along the lowest level of Gaden.

The three north-facing exhibition spaces (rooms 5, 6 and 7) each have their own focus and, together with the stone sculptures, present Haugen Sørensen’s combined works in chronological order. The earliest works in the exhibition are the Rappo dogs from 1955, created by the artist at the age of 21. They were exhibited at the 1958 Venice Biennale. As mentioned above, the last of the series is Manden med hunden (Man with the dog), from 2021.

The first exhibition space on the left (room 5) focuses on clay and the period from the early 1990s to the mid-2000s, when clay again dominated the work of Haugen Sørensen. In the same room, we present a film in which ceramist Anne Mette Hjortshøj discusses the heads depicted in De andre eller vidnerne (The Others or the Witnesses). She also looks at one of the women in the work Jeg mener jeg ser (I Think I See) and talks about these works on the basis of the material and its qualities.

Our hindmost exhibition space (room 6) presents works from the last decade of Haugen Sørensen’s life. Many have never been exhibited here previously. They are on loan from the artist’s private collection. The exhibits in this space include sketches for one of Haugen Sørensen’s main works, the decoration of a courtroom in Copenhagen Court House. It was precisely these sketches that were a source of inspiration for choreographer Sebastian Kloborg, who views them as bodies and emotions articulated by the artist’s inner self.

The third exhibition space (room 7) presents the early works executed in a wide variety of materials: clay, bronze, fabric. They date from the formative years in the 1960s and 1970s when Haugen Sørensen was interacting with many artist colleagues from all over Europe and exploring different sculptural strategies and materials. The film being shown in this space features Morten Stræde, sculptor and former professor at the Royal Danish Academy, who describes how the sculptures relate to the space, and how Haugen Sørensen’s early works alternate between a European and an American understanding of the concept of sculpture.

The exhibition is generously supported by Beckett-Fonden, Knud Højgaards Fond, Konsul George Jorck og Hustru Emma Jorck’s Fond, Lemvigh-Müller Fonden and William Demant Fond.

TV2 Bornholm about the show (in Danish)