OPSLAG NEDSLAG - Danish Artists' Books

Previous exhibition in The Black Diamond

30 September 2016 - 11 March 2017 Rotunden-01
Work by Bjørn Nørgaard.
Work by Bjørn Nørgaard.

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A large exhibition at The Black Diamond shows a Danish overview of the growing genre of artists’ books for the first time.

Through a series of cross-sections the exhibition OPSLAG NEDSLAG shows works from six decades – books by great artists as Asger Jorn, Per Kirkeby, Sven Dalsgaard and Tal R, as well as a quantity of entirely new works by Amalie Smith and Lea Porsager among others.

An artists’ book is not a book about art, but rather a book as art. The art book is a creation in itself and can at the same time function as a presentation series that illustrate expressions such as photos, drawings, graphics and texts.

Artists’ books since the 1950’s

In these years there is a renewed interest in artists’ books. OPSLAG NEDSLAG shows six cross-sections in the history and stylistic world of the art book, as these in Denmark have evolved since the end of the 1950’s and until this very day. The aim is on the thematically and materialistic span through rebate, which has its focus on the media, the genesis, the stylistic directions in the genre and the historical context. The themes in the exhibition will be put into context through eight main artists, whose art books in different ways will be enlightened by spatial installations and supplied artworks.

Exhibited works and artists:

Main works by: 
Asger Jorn
Per Kirkeby
Tal R
Jesper Fabricius
Sven Dalsgaard
Martin Larsen
Bjørn Nørgaard
Lene Adler Petersen
Supplementary works by:
Amalie Smith
Henrik Have
Ditte Ejlerskov
Arme og ben
Lasse Krog Møller
Christian Vind
Albert Mertz
Guy Debord
Per Højholt
Ebbe Stub Wittrup
Anna Fro Vodder
Jytte Rex
Claus Carstensen
K.J. Almqvist
Poul Pedersen
Eva Kinch Brønsted
Lea Porsager
Daniel Milan
A Kassen
Cecilia Westerberg
Henrik Olesen 
Keld Helmer-Petersen 
Lasse Krog-Møller 
Martin Larsen 
Hein Heinsen 
Julie Andkjær Olsen 
Åse Eg Jørgensen
Jesper Fabricius
Noël Arnaud
Evren Tekinoktay
Hans-Jørgen Nielsen
Klaus Rifbjerg
Erik Steffensen
Mogens Otto Nielsen
Jens Birkemose
George Brecht
Arthur Køpcke
Erik Andersen
Peder Alexis Olsson
Lars Nørgård
Randi og Katrine
Erik A. Frandsen
Ursula Reuter Christansen
Henning Christiansen
Jørgen Nash
Nanna Debois Buhl
Henriette Heise
Erik Hagens
Kasper Hesselbjerg
Lea Porsager
Lili W. Hur
Marie Kølbæk Iversen
Karl Johan Almqvist
Ursula Andkjær Olsen 
Eva Kinch Brønsted 
Henrik Have 
Hulda Lütken
Morten Bo
Jasper Sebastian Stürup
J. V. Martin
Knud Holten
Morten Søndergaard 
Stig Brøgger 
Mogens Møller 

The mass produced art book has since the 1950’s been a well suited way, in which the artists can distribute their art, while avoiding galleries, museums and other institutional limitations. From a materialistic point of view the books have a wide span: From Sven Dalgaard’s small pamphlets distributed by mail to Martin Larsen’s work in eight volumes in 6.000 pages; from standard books to creations, which in different ways experiment with covers of sand paper or as Per Kirkeby’s beautiful work ‘blue, time’ is completely blue!

From material to book

On this exhibition you have the opportunity to see the pioneer work Fin de Copenhague ("Copenhagen’s final"), which Asger Jorn and the French Guy Debord published in 1957. Jorn and Debord’s colored montage work has a cover of the so called matrix board (a residue of the news paper production), which has its own particular, textural fabric. As a result of the matrix board each of the 200 copies in this posting all have a unique cover.

For the first time since the book was printed in May 1957, several of the copies are present in the same room, as six copies are exhibited on OPSLAG NEDSLAG. Besides that the exhibition has its focus on the process from material to book, as you will see never before exhibited materials from private archives belonging to Tal R, Bjørn Nørgaard, Jesper Fabricius, Lene Adler Petersen and Asger Jorn among others. A fifth of the creations will be exhibited in a way that allows the guests to scroll through them.

The largest collection

It is certainly a lifelike and current praxis that is exhibited at The Royal Library which, after the merger with Danish National Art Library in 2017, will be in position of Denmark’s sovereign largest collection of artists’ books.

The exhibition has been curated by Thomas Hvid Kromann, ph.d and researcher at the Handwriting Collection. Kromann is specialized in art books and co-editor on the standard work Danish artists’ books (2013).