Loeb Danish Ardt Collection - page 92


]
PETER HERLUF BONNÉN
           
Peter Bonnén is the son of an architect. His mother was the modiste Tone Bonnén, who received a per-
manent testimony of praise in the form of a poem by the Danish writer Suzanne Brøgger (

). His
partner is a Tivoli stall-holder, the daughter of a con
fi
dential clerk and a female entertainer. There is
thus fertile soil for vision and fantasy in Bonnén’s everyday life, and his artistic work leaves no room
to doubt this.
From

to

he was trained in the then recently established Experimental School of Art
known informally as
Eks-skolen
. It was founded in Copenhagen by the art historian Troels Ander-
sen (b.

) and the artists Poul Gernes (


), Roger Martin Pring (b.

), Jens Jørgen
Thorsen (


), and Richard Winther (b.

). In reaction to the French art that had been a
major in
fl
uence on Danish artistic life for generations, these artists turned towards Germany and the
United States and their most recent abstract expressionism and pop art. Teachers and pupils resolved
all questions of form and content employing an open-minded approach with which they aimed in
common to make art conscious of itself and to launch it into the community. The actual work process
was considered more important than the result, and the collective was placed above the individual. In
association with the school there were experimental exhibitions such as happenings, various non-
traditional undertakings and considerable publication activity. In addition to Bonnén, a large num-
ber of various artists have been associated with
Eks-skolen,
such as Per Kirkeby (b.

), Bjørn
Nørgaard (b.

), Stig Brøgger (b.

), and others. The school has never actually closed, but most
of its activities faded out at the beginning of the

’s.
Peter Bonnén made his
fi
rst appearance in

with assemblages made up of motorcar scrap and
slates. The following year he exhibited for the
fi
rst time in “The Summer Exhibition” (Sommerud-
stillingen).
The Danish Arts Foundation (Statens Kunstfond) was established in

. The foundation is an
institution whose aim is to promote Danish creativity in the
fi
elds of pictorial art, decorative art and
design, literature and music. It achieves this partly by awarding grants to artists, purchasing works
of art, and
fi
nancing the decoration of public buildings. The year following its establishment, the
Kunstfonden purchased Peter Bonnén’s non-
fi
gurative
Skulptur i
dele (Sculpture in
Parts)
. This
led to an anti-modernist movement,
Rindalism
, started by the abattoir worker Peter Rindal, who did
not believe that the State should provide funds for the purchase of incomprehensible and apparently
useless works of art.
Sculpture in
Parts
became the start of the sculptor’s characteristic form
fi
gures executed in
iron or Cor-Ten steel, in which two or more blocks or columns erected in pairs, form a sculptural envi-
ronment. In addition, the individual blocks are often further split and placed with their fractured sur-
faces facing each other at a precisely calculated distance that is not so great as to prevent it being clear
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