‘I DON’T SEE WHAT I HAVE CREATED BEFORE THE PRINTING PROCESS IS COMPLETED. TO DISCOVER ONE’S OWN WORK IS A REMARKABLE EXPERIENCE.’ – Per Kirkeby
BORCH Gallery is bringing Per Kirkeby’s latest etchings and monotypes to Berlin. The solo exhibition Serial Thinking will demonstrate the crucial role that printmaking plays in the context of Kirkeby’s artistic œuvre.
Per Kirkeby, arguably Denmark’s most famous living artist, announced the end of his career as a painter in 2015. His collaboration with our printshop, which dates back as far as 1979, continues nevertheless, and we are excited to present his latest series of etchings alongside recent monotypes in our Berlin gallery. All works were produced by BORCH Editions, Copenhagen, and are published by Knust & Kunz, Munich.
Not only is Kirkeby one of the major Danish painters and sculptors of his generation; he is also a key figure in contemporary graphic art. As Danish journalist Peter Michael Hornung put it in a recent article, ‘it is wrong to assume that Kirkeby is a painter who also does graphic art. He is rather a graphic artist who also paints.’ When working on plates, Kirkeby translates the explosive surfaces and textures of his paintings into acid, copper sparks and deep scratches. Working with a scientifically educated eye – Kirkeby also holds a degree in arctic geology –, his work can be seen, in its abstraction, to be an even more accurate vehicle for rendering environmental processes than naturalism.
It was in our Copenhagen printmaking studio that Kirkeby first started experimenting with coloured prints, larger formats and different printing techniques. In the 1980s, Niels Borch Jensen introduced him to the production of monotypes. When creating a monotype, the printer works with a featureless plate that serves as a vehicle to transfer the artist’s painting or drawing onto paper. Paradoxically, although monotypes are unique pieces, Kirkeby uses the same work approach as in his series of etchings, an approach he once referred to as ‘serial thinking’: ‘I don’t see what I have created before the printing process is completed. To discover one’s own work is a remarkable experience.’
Per Kirkeby was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1938 where he also died in 2018. His work is collected and shown by many of the world’s leading art collections, among them the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Royal Academy of the Arts, London; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Lousiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark; Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna; Museum Ludwig, Cologne, and countless others. Recent retrospectives were shown at Tate Modern, London, Museum Jorn, Denmark and Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf. He participated in the Venice Biennale several times and was featured at documenta 7 and IX. Kirkeby has worked with Niels Borch Jensen Editions between 1979 and 2018.
Learn more about Per Kirkeby