A suitcase containing 52 linocuts, created by Asger Jorn between 1933 and 1939, was found a few years ago in his brother’s basement in Denmark. Jorn had asked him to look after it for him and it only resurfaced more than 70 years later. The plates where handed over to Museum Jorn in Silkeborg, which turned to Niels Borch Jensen to review and eventually to print the plates.
Due to the delicacy of the linocuts, they have been mounted on wooden plates and printed by hand on Japanese Kozo paper. The 27 prints in the exhibition have been selected from the total of 52 different plates and are published in an edition of 16.
The majority of the previously unknown plates shed a new light on the young Jorn. His earliest linocuts were published in a scout and a school magazine in his hometown Silkeborg. Later, some of his prints appeared in the Marxist journal Frem under the pseudonym Asger Isen. Jorn, who had joined the Danish Communist Party early in his youth, didn’t want to be classified as, in his own words, one of the ‘dogs of the revolution.’ Most of the plates were cut before he left for Paris in 1936 to study at Fernand Léger’s Académie Contemporaine and are reminiscent of German expressionist graphics of the early 20th century. The skilfulness and expertise with which Jorn cut these plates at the young age of 19, is outstanding. The motives show Jorn’s humoristic yet clear political mind, providing an insight into his engagement with family, art, and the social issues of his time whilst defining the very beginnings of his narrative visual language.
Learn more about Asger Jorn