Helmut FederleA Nordic View curated by Erik SteffensenPaul Gauguin 1848-1903 Vilhelm Hammershøi 1864-1916 W.C. Fields 1879-1946 Alfred Jensen 1903-1981 Olle Bærtling 1911-1981 Asger Jorn 1914-1973 Gunnar Aagaard Andersen 1919-1982 Johnny Cash 1932-2003 Per Kirkeby 1938 Per Bak Jensen 1949 Håkan Rehnberg 1953 Tal R 1967
Introduction Erik Steffensen, author and photographer, Professor Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen
Over the past twenty years art community all over the world has reflected on and meditated over the outstanding work of the painter Helmut Federle. His artistic language focuses on and is dedicated to the inner qualities of painting as an existential challenge for whoever it might concern. Nevertheless Helmut Federle is rarely shown at galleries or traded in the turbulent art market. His reputation is based entirely on his belief in the value of artistic expression and the pure strength of his work. In many ways this commitment and attitude is similar to the Nordic romantic tradition, which in a wild and broad sense deals with religion, existence, longing, nature and migration without rejecting these strong human passions.
Helmut Federle – A Nordic View provides the visitor with a glimpse into this mysterious yet humorous and balanced cave of the north, where – as Ludwig Wittgenstein once wrote after living in the solitary wilderness of the Norwegian fjords – white can also be a sort of black. This exhibition of Helmut Federle's works is at the same time a presentation of the work of fellow Nordic artists as well as men marked by this tradition, whether this be from trying to escape from it, like the modern masters Paul Gauguin, Asger Jorn, Olle Bærtling and Alfred Jensen, or from (almost) never leaving home, like the painter Vilhelm Hammershøi. Music by “The Man in Black” Johnny Cash, a short film by “The Great Man” W.C. Fields, and a sculptural chair by Gunnar Aagaard Andersen add new perspectives to the works of Helmut Federle by building bridges between people in the unpredictable though well-known rivers of culture. The contemporary artists Per Kirkeby, Per Bak Jensen, Håkan Rehnberg and Tal R, who work in sculpture, photography and painting, enter into a dialogue through their work and address some important existential issues that have been thematically singled out in the names given to the four rooms of the exhibition: “God and Symmetry”, “Colour and Travelling”, “Nature and Animals” and “The American Room”.
Helmut Federle – A Nordic View includes new paintings and photographs by Helmut Federle as well as drawings and older paintings never exhibited before, like “Elvis” and “Two Heart Flames” painted in New York City in 1980.
Sculpture, music, film, works on paper and paintings by the following artists: Paul Gauguin 1848-1903, Vilhelm Hammershøi 1864-1916, W.C. Fields 1879-1946, Alfred Jensen 1903-1981, Olle Bærtling 1911-1981, Asger Jorn 1914-1973, Gunnar Aagaard Andersen 1919-1982, Johnny Cash 1932-2003, Per Kirkeby 1938, Per Bak Jensen 1949, Håkan Rehnberg 1953, Tal R 1967