The exhibition paints a portrait of three significant and distinctive Danish artists who are brought together here for the first time: Jens Ferdinand Willumsen (1863-1958), Olivia Holm-Møller (1875-1970) and Asger Jorn (1914-1973), each of whom made substantial contributions to the artistic development of the 20th century. They are familiar with one another’s work and have in common the exploration of the expressive and energetic qualities of colour. The fundamental conditions of existence and humankind’s relations with history, myth, landscape, and the cosmos are recurring leitmotifs for all of them, while they share a cosmopolitan outlook.
Olivia Holm-Møller had a long life during which her oeuvre unfolded in many phases, but with a rare integrity of the expressionistic idiom, which is her hallmark. She was in a class of her own as an artist and had a distinctive view of her position in the history of creation. She wrote: “I am a spark from the great fire. I have fire inside.”
From the beginning of his career the twelve-year-older J.F. Willumsen, who was one of Holm-Møller’s artistic ideals, had the will to seek his own path. Willumsen was a dynamic midpoint in Danish artistic life in his youth, when his aesthetic wildness and hectic production of art strikingly affected his surroundings. Colour and intensity were applied as never before in Danish art.
The abstract but figuratively rooted artist Asger Jorn was preoccupied with creating new relations and connections in art. Although he participated in several international exchanges of artistic ideas and practices, he remained true to those artists who had the courage to espouse singularity. Jorn drew energy from both the cosmic and the experientially close, and, like Holm-Møller and Willumsen, he worked with mythological and psychological motifs.
Common to the three artists is the way they plunge into the thick of things with emotion and expression. They do not hold back, but manifest themselves strongly in their use of the expressionistic intensity of colour and a renewed language of painting that is introduced here for the first time as a cohesive force: a Spark.