Douglas Robinson, 2017

Douglas Robinson, Studio Victor, Pietarsanta, Italy 2017



This is a personal reflection on the works of Jorgen Haugen Sorensen’s long running career. He is best known for making art that expresses the fullness of the tragic and the comedic elements of our experience that make for a challenging life.

His career  encapsulates through artistic expression elements of humor,  pathos, lyricism, grandeur, tragedy, and yes, also horror. He is known for using as many materials that will facilitate this expression of his vision. These materials include stone; bronze; clay; wax; metals; mud and sisal; fiber glass; and gesso . His works are created in full round or in relief. He does works on paper, on canvas, or on any surface that works. He has produced films, illustrations and comic books of irreverent social commentary which become parallel  diversions from his main themes.

There are core elements  which define Sorensen’s approach to his work.

As Cole Porter once said, ”let the fundamental things apply.”  He is willing to express a playful confrontation with what we see and what we understand until it hurts.

Jorgen Haugen Sorensen’s foray into art making, I believe, has expanded what sculpture is and can become. While wielding a brigade of irony mixed with humor, Sorensen brings forward to visual fruition the tragic-comic aspect of our existence.

This is especially apparent in many of his larger stone works of the 80’s and early 90’s. These are constructivist pieces of stacked  or interlocking stones. They are large, but not monumental by virtue of the comic relief expressed.

Titles throughout his career give an added notation of word play that may lead you away from the central meaning of the work at hand. He embodies the trickster’s disdain for  academic solutions.

However, it is his focus that counts. There is a profound sense of play within the serious intent of his work.  It wrenches out the sublime from the ridiculous  until the ugliness and beauty of all that we are get their equal say.

He offers us a journey for the eye that takes you into the ancient past,  through the sandbox of ourselves and on onto the future. Or is this a sleight of hand and are we merely witnessing the perpetual present as it unfolds? All the rottenness that we cannot escape leaking out to face us once again?  You will have to ask Sorensen yourself.

Not since Marini fell off his horse and Noguchi caught a cold at the Bar Igea has anyone of Sorensen’s stature walked through the piazza of Pietrasanta.

Speaking for my fellow artists, we are grateful for all that he has been able to share with us without losing his own sense of humour.