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Selected works from the
38th Annual Fine Arts Exhibition
June 2012

Asger Jorn : A free artist
Fondation de l’Hermitage, LAUSANNE
June 22 to October 21, 2012
LAUSANNE. AFTER THE exhibition Alberto Giacometti (2002), André Derain (2003) or Edward Hopper (2010), the Hermitage Foundation this summer of 2012 offers a new opening to a major player in creating modern art, dedicating for the first time in western Switzerland painter Asger Jorn (1914-1973), considered the greatest artist of Danish 20th century. This event is also in the extension of the exhibition Impressions of the North. Scandinavian Painting 1800-1915, which in 2005 had allowed visitors to the Foundation to explore the extraordinary vitality of Northern painters in the nineteenth century.

Dividing his time between Denmark, France (he began visiting in 1936), Switzerland and Italy, Asger Jorn has played a major role in the development of European avant-garde of the postwar period. In 1948 he founded with other artists the Cobra movement North (1948-1951), whose name refers to the three cities Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam. In the wake of surrealism, they advocate the spontaneity, the return to folk art and children's drawing. Tuberculosis hit Jorn in 1951 and caused the end of Cobra. After eighteen months at the sanitarium of Silkeborg in Denmark, Jorn chooses, for his recovery, the fresh mountain air and settled for six months in a cottage in Chesières (canton of Vaud). In Switzerland, the Dane is developed a new language which brought back the enveloping sensuality of Edvard Munch, the pioneer of modern expressionism. The following years will lead to gradually release Jorn and the most radical forms of his art and influences, and invent a striking painting, sometimes soothed and sometimes explosive but always colorful. His mighty work, developed at the pace of constant traveling throughout Europe and is deeply rooted in the Scandinavian culture and sensitivity, while absorbing exchanges he has with the international art scene. The tension between a Nordic tradition rooted in the Middle Ages, and a desire for open borders and the vitality of a collective creation, is at the heart of the fascination that Jorn has today.

The retrospective will cover all periods in Lausanne, since the color compositions of the immediate postwar period, peopled by a fantastic bestiary and even pictures of the bright end of his life, crossed by flowing forms and dynamic. Bringing together some 80 paintings, the exhibition also will deploy a fine collection of drawings, prints - including the iconic Swiss Suite, 1953-1954 - as well as sculptures, reflecting the extraordinary expressive power of Jorn in variety of mediums. The exhibition benefits from the exceptional participation of many institutions, primarily the Silkeborg Museum Jorn, but the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebaek Kunsten the Museum of Modern Art Aalborg, Aros Aarhus Kunstmuseum, the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen, at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter Høvikodden, Kunsthalle Emden, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels, as well as many prestigious private collections. Finally, the renowned Belgian artist Pierre Alechinsky, which has maintained since Cobra - he was at 24 the youngest member of this movement - a special relationship with Jorn, actively promoting the project by opening its collection and archives.

Commissioner General:  Sylvie Wuhrmann, director of the Fondation de l'Hermitage
Catalogue:  All the exhibited works are reproduced in color and includes numerous contributions (Alechinsky, Troels Andersen, Rainer Michael Mason, Frédéric Pajak, Radrizzani Dominique, Didier Semin, Dieter Schwarz and Sylvie Wuhrmann), and an anthology of texts Asger Jorn, Christian Dotremont and Jacques Prévert.
Asger Jorn_The Minstrels of Meigle, 1966_huile on canvas, 89 x 116 cm_Collection particuliere_Photo Jacques BETA NT, Lausanne © Jorn_Silkeborg Donation: 2012_ProLitteris, Zurich. Asger Jorn_Kyotosmorama, 1969-1970_Centre Pompidou, Paris, MNAM: CCI © photo RMN