1971-1973 Sculpture group, Danish School of Journalism in Århus

In the mid-1970s, Pietrasanta became a center for artists from all over the world. The area has a centuries-old tradition of supplying marble to prominent Italian sculptors (including Michelangelo). During the 1950s, bronze foundries and several workshops were established, which at first made a living from producing religious sculptures, but gradually artists were attracted to them. Also, many Danish (and other Scandinavian) artists spent shorter or longer time in Pietrasanta. Eva Sørensen came first, and it was she who told Jørgen Haugen Sørensen about the city. He took Willy Ørskov with him, and Søren Georg Jensen, who lived in Rome. Quite a few Danes visited Jørgen Haugen Sørensen, who first lived in Valdicastello, but later settled in Vallecchia, high above the city and overlooking the sea.

With Pietrasanta, a new chapter in the work begins: The Stone. Jette Muhlendorph wrote (in the catalog for the Veksølund exhibition 1978) that Jørgen Haugen Sørensen started thinking in stone when he was given the big task at the Danish School of Journalism in Aarhus in 1971. A task that was designed as a sculptural landscape in bronze and marble. His first stone form was a variation on a form he had previously used in the culture group, - namely the sugar-top-like form which according to Jørgen is one of the simplest forms, "the first a child makes in a pile of sand": The top was first in the studio in Verona shaped in life size, then it was driven to the stonemason in S. Ambrogio. Sculpture No. 2 for the School of Journalism was first made in early 1973 in Pietrasanta, Tuscany. Jørgen had come here because he wanted to explore the possibilities of marble in a place where it was both mined and processed: "Jørgen Haugen Sørensen sees the possibilities of stone, seeks the marble, and slowly approaches the craft"

Allis Helleland, Jørgen Haugen Sørensen - A Biography:

In 1971, Jørgen was awarded a large decorating assignment by the Statens Kunstfond at the new Danish School of Journalism, which was being built on the northern outskirts of Aarhus. The building, designed by the Aarhus-based architectural firm Kjær og Richter, was built in the then typical functionalist building style in raw, gray reinforced concrete. On a large rectangular terrace to the south, in collaboration with the artist, space was set aside for an artistic decoration, and the task was that it should be made of concrete and thus be an integral part of the new building. However, Jørgen regarded the raw concrete building as a slum unsuitable for people and wanted with his work of art to reveal this, in fact let art use violence against architecture instead of decorating it. He believed that the concrete required a work of art that was related to trash cans and bicycle racks.

In natural extension of recent years' work with the dissolved sculpture, he chose to create a sculptural landscape in giant format. Of course, it was not possible in an outdoor stationary work of art to implement the original idea that the individual parts of the sculptural landscape can be moved around by the spectators, so that new forms and new content constantly emerge. But the interactivity between the work and the viewer was still relevant in that the work had to be carried out on a large scale, so that the viewers had to move around between the individual parts to experience the sculpture.

In contrast to the raw concrete, Jørgen chose to perform his work in precious materials that could withstand standing outdoors in the Danish climate - bronze, which he knew so well and red Verona and Carrara marble, which he tried his hand at for the first time with. The work consists of five individual parts, all well-known organic forms, and undulating movements, which recur from the earlier sculptural landscapes, and which break the long straight lines of functionalist architecture and give the space power and intensity.

Quite literally, the concrete wall around the terrace is broken down by a large dark bronze tongue that licks out over the wall and down towards the parking lot access ramp. Yes, the tongue almost melts the concrete away, as if it were sugar or ice cream. Up on the terrace are placed three free-standing meter-high figures: Kræmmerhuset or a top, which in previous sculptural landscapes was made of soft fabric or plastic, and which Jørgen characterized as "one of the simplest shapes", "the first a child makes in a pile of sand”, is here carved in pink marble in such a delicate way that it looks soft. The small maggot-like "animal" with a long neck and small head and a large blob to the side is carved in white and gray marble. A large organic figure reminiscent of a winged creature with a long tongue that is lifted is cast in bronze, but the surface is unpolished and cracked like scarred skin after an accident. A little to itself, a scrap heap of bronze leans against the side wall. All the figures carry a special strength in them, feelings of inner strength, which do not allow themselves to be subdued by the superiority of the surroundings. The whole sculptural landscape is to be perceived as a solidarity with the little people who must move in these barren concrete surroundings.

Leila Krogh characterized it in her book on art in space as follows:

“All the figurations have strong psychic characters with memories of our inner landscapes, in different moods. There is the soft, soft proud joy, the cautious daring to come forward, the defiant provocation with many emotional aftermaths and the coke accumulation of defeats that turns into a resigned pile of scrap metal that must lean on something. It is like a replay of mental states that appear completely by themselves with the right to be lived through and lived out.”

For Jørgen, this big decorating task was a huge challenge. It was an old dream of his to create a large work, where he had to collaborate with architects, engineers and building craftsmen and with stonemasons and bronze founders. He felt in direct contact with medieval church builders, where a similar collaboration between craftsmen and artists had taken place. Together with Jette, who was an art historian, he traveled to the various northern Italian cities and cultural centers and studied especially medieval architecture and visual art. In Verona, where he had lived with the family for several periods up through the 60s, he came a lot in the neighborhood around the magnificent San Zeno church, where the interplay between the famous bronze doors and the stonework goes up in a higher unit. The skilled bronze founders of Verona, who mastered the complicated cire-perdue method, he knew from the collaboration up through the 1960s. But it was the first time he worked with the Italian stone masters, partly in San Ambrogio, partly in Pietrasanta.

The creation of the work had a particularly dramatic course when Jørgen was arrested by the Italian police while working in Verona. Northern Italy in those years was marked by colossal social and political unrest with violent clashes between left-wing groups and the military and the secret police. There were constant assaults and liquidations, and as left-wing foreign artist with friends who were members of the brigades, Jørgen had special attention from the authorities.

In 1973, things went wrong. At a pub he was sitting in conversation with a group of soldiers when a fully decorated officer came walking to their table. Jørgen expressed his displeasure at orders and medals and war. He was arrested and a major case came out of it, which received a lot of media attention when filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini supported his statements, and one of the left-wing famous lawyers Tedesco was his defender. He received a - political - sentence of eight years in prison for "slander of the armed forces". The sentence was later commuted to eight months’ probation and deportation from Italy.

The expulsion took place before he had finished the work, and he had to change a planned large, elongated bronze section that should have gone from the top edge of the front door sloping down towards the base. He did not manage to get this part cast in Verona, mostly because the original price offer in Italian lira did not last after Denmark's accession to the EC. When the expulsion further complicated the casting in Verona, he changed this part of the sculpture to the smaller pile of crumpled scrap so that he could hand over the work in November 1973. This is how Denmark's European policy came to influence the design of the artwork.

Adress: Helsingforsgade 6A, D, 8200 Aarhus, Denmark.


Pietrasanta blev i midten af 1970'erne et centrum for kunstnere fra hele verden. Området har en århundredlang tradition for at levere marmor til fremtrædende italienske billedhuggere (bl.a. Michelangelo). I løbet af 1950'erne blev der etableret bronzestøberier og en række værksteder, som først levede af at fremstille religiøse skulpturer, men efterhånden blev kunstnere trukket til. Også mange danske (og andre skandinaviske) kunstnere tilbragte kortere eller længere tid i Pietrasanta. Eva Sørensen kom først, og det var hende som fortalte Jørgen Haugen Sørensen om byen. Han tog Willy Ørskov med, og Søren Georg Jensen, som var bosat i Rom. Temmelig mange danskere besøgte Jørgen Haugen Sørensen, som først boede i Valdicastello, men senere bosatte sig i Vallecchia, højt over byen og med udsigt over havet.

Med Pietrasanta indledes et nyt kapitel i arbejdet: Stenen. Jette Muhlendorph skrev (i kataloget til Veksølund-udstillingen 1978) at Jørgen Haugen Sørensen begyndte at tænke i sten da han fik den store opgave til Danmarks journalisthøjskole i århus i 1971. En opgave der blev udformet som et skulpturlandskab i bronze og marmor. Hans første stenform var en variation over en form han tidligere havde benyttet i skulturgruppen, - nemlig den sukkertop- lignede form som ifølge Jørgen er en af de allerenkleste former, "den første et barn laver i en bunke sand": Toppen blev først i atelieret i Verona formet i naturlig størrelse, dernæst blev den kørt til stenhuggeren i S. Ambrogio. Skulptur nr. 2 til Journalisthøjskolen blev først udført i begyndelsen af 1973 i Pietrasanta, Toscana. Jørgen var taget hertil, fordi han havde lyst til at udforske marmorens muligheder på et sted, hvor den både blev brudt og forarbejdet: "Jørgen Haugen Sørensen ser stenens muligheder, søger marmoren, og nærmer sig langsomt håndværket"

Allis Helleland, Jørgen Haugen Sørensen - En Biografi:

I 1971 fik Jørgen af Statens Kunstfond tildelt en stor udsmykningsopgave på den nye Danmarks Journalisthøjskole, som var ved at blive opført i den nordlige udkant af Århus. Bygningen, der var tegnet af det århusianske arkitektfirma Kjær og Richter, blev opført i den for den tid så typiske funktionalistiske byggestil i rå, grå jernbeton. På en stor rektangulær terrasse mod syd blev der i samarbejde med kunstneren afsat plads til en kunstnerisk udsmykning, og opgaven lød på, at den skulle udføres i beton og således være en integreret del af nybyggeriet. Jørgen betragtede imidlertid det rå betonbyggeri som slum uegnet til mennesker og ville med sit kunstværk afsløre dette, ja faktisk lade kunsten øve vold mod arkitekturen i stedet for at pynte på den. Han mente, at betonen krævede et kunstværk, der var i slægtskab med skraldespande og cykelstativer.

I naturlig forlængelse af de seneste års arbejde med den opløste skulptur valgte han at skabe et skulpturlandskab i kæmpeformat. Det var selvfølgelig ikke muligt i et udendørs stationært kunstværk at gennemføre den oprindelige idé om, at de enkelte dele i skulpturlandskabet kan flyttes rundt på af tilskuerne, så nye former og nyt indhold konstant kommer frem. Men interaktiviteten mellem værk og beskuer var stadig aktuel i og med at værket skulle udføres i stor skala, så beskuerne skulle bevæge sig rundt imellem enkeltdelene for at opleve skulpturen som helhed.

Som kontrast til den rå beton valgte Jørgen at udføre sit værk i ædle materialer, der kunne tåle at stå udendørs i det danske klima, – bronze, som han kendte så godt og rød Verona- og Carrara marmor, som han for første gang prøvede kræfter med. Værket består af fem enkeltdele, alle velkendte organiske former og bølgende bevægelser, som går igen fra de tidligere skulpturlandskaber, og som bryder de lange lige linjer i den funktionalistiske arkitektur og giver rummet kraft og intensitet.

Helt bogstaveligt nedbrydes betonmuren omkring terrassen af en stor mørk bronzetunge, der slikker ud over muren og ned mod parkeringspladsens tilkørselsrampe. Ja, tungen nærmest smelter betonen væk, som var det sukker eller flødeis. Oppe på terrassen er placeret tre fritstående meterhøje figurer: Kræmmerhuset eller en top, som i tidligere skulpturlandskaber var udført i blødt stof eller plastic, og som Jørgen karakteriserede som ”en af de allerenkleste former”, ”den første et barn laver i en bunke sand”, er her hugget i lyserød marmor på en så delikat måde, at den ser blød ud. Det lille maddikeagtige ”dyr” med lang hals og lille hoved og en stor klat ud til siden er hugget i hvidt og grå marmor. En stor organisk figur, der har mindelser om et bevinget væsen med en lang tunge, der løftes op, er støbt i bronze, men overfladen er upoleret og sprukken som arret hud efter en ulykke. Lidt for sig selv læner sig op ad sidemuren en skrotbunke i bronze. Alle figurerne bærer en særlig styrke i sig, følelser af indre kraft, som ikke lader sig underkue af omgivelsernes overmagt. Hele skulpturlandskabet er at opfatte som en solidaritet med de små mennesker, som skal færdes i disse golde betonomgivelser.

Leila Krogh karakteriserede det i sin bog om kunst i rummet således:

”Alle figurationerne har stærke psykiske karakterer med mindelser om vores indre landskaber, i forskelligartede stemninger. Der er den myge, bløde stolte glæde, den forsigtige voven sig frem, den trodsige provokation med mange følelsesmæssige efterslæb og den koksede sammenhobning af nederlag, der bliver til en resigneret skrotbunke, som må læne sig op ad noget. Det er som en gennemspilning af mentale tilstande, der melder sig helt af sig selv med krav på at blive gennemlevet og udlevet.”

For Jørgen var denne store udsmykningsopgave en kæmpe udfordring. Det var en gammel drøm hos ham om at skabe et stort værk, hvor han skulle samarbejde med både arkitekter, ingeniører og bygningshåndværkere og med stenhuggere og bronzestøbere. Han følte sig i direkte forbindelse med middelalderens kirkebyggere, hvor et lignende samarbejde mellem håndværkere og kunstnere havde fundet sted. Sammen med Jette, som jo var kunsthistoriker, rejste han rundt til de forskellige norditalienske byer og kulturcentre og studerede indgående især middelalderens arkitektur og billedkunst. I Verona, hvor han op gennem 60’erne havde boet med familien i flere perioder, kom han meget i kvarteret omkring den prægtige San Zeno-kirke, hvor samspillet mellem de berømte bronzedøre og stenarbejdet går op i en højere enhed. De dygtige bronzestøbere i Verona, som mestrede den komplicerede cire-perdue-metode kendte han fra samarbejdet op gennem 1960’erne. Men det var første gang, han arbejdede sammen med de italienske stenmestre, dels i San Ambrogio, dels i Pietrasanta.

Tilblivelsen af værket fik et særligt dramatisk forløb, da Jørgen under arbejdet i Verona blev arresteret af det italienske politi. Norditalien var i disse år præget af kolossale sociale og politiske uroligheder med voldelige opgør mellem venstreorienterede grupper og militæret og det hemmelige politi. Der foregik til stadighed overgreb og likvideringer, og som venstreorienteret udenlandsk kunstner med venner, der var medlemmer af brigaderne, havde Jørgen særligt myndighedernes bevågenhed.

I 1973 gik det galt. På et værtshus sad han i samtale med en gruppe soldater, da der kom en fuldt dekoreret officer gående hen til deres bord. Jørgen ytrede sit mishag mod ordener og medaljer og krig. Han blev arresteret, og der kom en større sag ud af det, som fik stor mediebevågenhed, da filmskaberen Pier Paolo Pasolini støttede hans udtalelser, og en af venstrefløjens berømte advokater Tedesco var hans forsvarer. Han fik en – politisk – dom på otte års fængsel for ”bagvaskelse af de væbnede styrker”. Dommen blev senere ændret til otte måneders betinget fængsel og udvisning fra Italien.

Udvisningen skete, før han var helt færdig med værket, og han måtte ændre en planlagt stor langstrakt bronzedel, der skulle have gået fra indgangsdørens øverste kant skråt ned mod grundfladen. Denne del nåede han ikke at få støbt i Verona, mest fordi det oprindelige pristilbud i italienske lire ikke holdt efter Danmarks indlemmelse i EF. Da udvisningen ydermere komplicerede støbningen i Verona, ændrede han denne del af skulpturen til den mindre bunke krøllet skrot, så han kunne aflevere værket i november 1973. Sådan kom Danmarks Europapolitik til at influere på udformningen af kunstværket. 

Adresse: Helsingforsgade 6A, D, 8200 Aarhus