Lars Kjærulf Møller, 2012
Extract from Lars Kjærulf Møllers biographical text:
When Jørgen Haugen Sørensen had his debut at ” Forårsudstillingen ” in 1951, only 17 years old, artdealer Børge Birch called him without a doubt the greatest sculpturer since Thorvaldsen, and it seems therefore natural that he in his life’s autumn was chosen to undertake the large decoration of Copenhagen’s Courthouse, a task Thorvaldsen never managed to accomplish. The white-glazed reliefs picturing police brutality and violence was probably not the company ” Mrs. Justice” had expected, but they do reflect in exemplary fashion a zeitgeist, while simultaneously sending out virtual tentacles to the historic building and its function.
Haugen Sørensen was trained as a plaster modeler and pottery maker. He is self taught as a sculpturer, but profiled himself early on with in particular a series of powerful expressionistic slaughter scenes.
A stay on the island of Bornholm 1959-60 shifted his attention towards a more abstract expression; at first performed with industrially produced clay pipes and later fully unfolded in the bronze sculptures from the 1960’s, where the horror of war was ever present and likely inspired by his living in France during the Algiers war.
By the end of the 1960’s Haugen Sørensen moves away from traditional sculpturing. He uses materials freely and makes a series of works, where elements of fabric, plastic, glass fiber and bronze occupy the space and often invites the viewer to participate actively with dialogue and co-creation.
After he settled in Italy in 1968, stone, travertine, marble and granite became the preferred agents of expression and often used to portray an inner demonic struggle between the soft and organic against the hard cold surfaces of the system, as it can be seen in the great embellishment for ”The Danish School of Journalism in Aarhus ” from 1973, where the organic elements of the bronze and marble breakdown the raw concrete architecture.
The direct relationship between man and architecture or landscape unfolds during this period into a number of large installation-like marble sculptures like e.g. ”The House Sunbathing” from 1979, now on display at Ny Carlsberg Glyptoteket.
By the entrance to Bornholm Art Museum two bronze dogs stand guard. The sitting and lying ”Rappo”, that welcome the visitor and often receive a friendly pat on the nose in particularly by younger audiences.
The dogs were made by Jørgen Haugen Sørensen in 1955 and were exhibited at the Biennale of Venice in 1958.
Jørgen likes dogs because they are so honest and live ’unwrapped’- something he in a way strives to do himself and may have yet accomplished – many certainly see him as ”naughty as a butcher’s dog” (lost in translation –red).
Dogs are also a sculptural object as in the older expressions of Rappo or in the later large groups ”That’s why they call them dogs”, where they shamelessly copulate, delice themselves, fight and die – the exact same way he sees humans.
Even if the erotic has always played an important part in Haugen Sørensen’s universe, it receives a dominant role in the 1990s, where he returns to clay as the preferred material. But death also sneaks in as a ’memento mori’ that becomes ever more present.
In ”While We Wait” from 2006, we meet him in a terrifying and simultaneously comical embrace with death itself.
Despite prevailing pessimism, the horror and the tales of human folly, Haugen Sørensen is the funniest pessimist I know, even if he out of fear of falling into conformity always seems to be trying to escape to some other place.
With a divine (a word he would likely denounce) creativity, where his hands virtuoso like and almost intuitively translate thought and vision into shape, he gives us admission to a world populated by fools, wild dogs, dead bodies and beautiful women. There is always a twist, but never a raised moralizing index finger. Merely a determination of the state of affairs.
Lars Kjærulf Møller, Museum director, Bornholm Art Museum