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Museum Jorns celebrates Asger Jorn in the run-up to his 100-year anniversary in 2014
James Ensor, Masques regardant une tortue [Masker ser p en skildpadde], 1894, olie p lrred, 22 x 37 cm, The Franck Deceuninck Collection.

SILKEBORG.- "Jorn <<< Ensor" is the first in a series of three ambitious exhibitions which places Asger Jorn together with some of the masters he considered his most important role models and source of inspiration. Ensor, Picasso, Miro, Klee, Munch and Kandinsky.

James Ensor was one of Asger Jorn's greatest sources of inspiration. His works have in recent years been shown at several exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Muse d'Orsay in Paris. In Denmark, however, the Belgian artist's works are not particularly well known amongst the general public. This situation will now be remedied by Museum Jorn in Silkeborg with this exhibition. "Jorn <<< Ensor", is the first major collection of the eccentric artist James Ensor’s works ever to be presented in Denmark.

Prelude to the 100-year anniversary
"Recommended by Jorn" is the title of Museum Jorn’s celebration of Asger Jorn in the run-up to his 100-year anniversary in 2014. James Ensor, Pablo Picasso, Miro, Klee, Munch and Kandinsky are on the exhibition’s program in the run-up to the anniversary in order to present and celebrate Jorn as the artist and creative thinker who really placed Denmark on the modern art world map.

“Asger Jorn entered into an artistic dialogue with James Ensor’s works. Ensor was a formidable painter and graphic artist. Full of fury and a preoccupation with the grotesque, the fantastic and the surreal. The celebration of Jorn begins very aptly with a scintillating display of Ensor colours,” says the director of the Museum Jorn, Jacob Thage.

Pioneer of modern art
Masks, skeletons, skulls and people farting and vomiting. James Ensor (1860-1949) cultivated the mystical and created fantastic and grotesque universes. The best way of telling his story is through the images themselves, says Jacob Thage who is proud to present one of the late 19th century's most significant artists at Asger Jorn's museum.

James Ensor lived most of his life in his home town of Ostend, which lies on the coast in the Flemish part of Belgium. In the first years of his career he met a great deal of opposition to his motifs, which were seen as subversive and provocative. Only in middle age was he recognized and acclaimed for his art with honours and membership of the Royal Belgian Academy.

Today, the Belgian artist’s work is seen as a precursor to the surrealist and expressionist movements of the 20th century.

Recommended by Jorn
Already as a young man, Asger Jorn had encountered James Ensor’s work in Copenhagen. Some years later he wrote to his fellow French artist, Pierre Alechinsky, who was on the editorial board of the art journal Cobra: "I would strongly encourage you to do a large feature on the fantastic side of James Ensor’s work. He is a very important painter in international art, and all too little known. "

Shared inspiration
The grotesque, ironic, and amazing bind Jorn and Ensor together across generations. There is a 54 years age difference between them, but they are both involved in an exploration of the absurdity of life, and the power of the imagination to forge links between the real and the fantastic.

"Jorn <<< Ensor" juxtaposes Asger Jorn and James Ensor’s paintings and graphic works and provides an insight into the development of Jorn's creative process. The exhibition presents 30 paintings and 60 drawings and graphic works by Ensor, loaned from Belgian, Dutch, German and French museums and private collectors. In addition, there are 25 Jorn paintings, 50 drawings and graphic works, as well as a number of ceramic works by Jorn and masks from the Ensor Museum in Ostend.

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