Formation of the COBRA group
Carl-Henning Pedersen is inextricably associated with the designation COBRA. This European avant-garde movement existed for three years, 1948-1951, but was of enormous importance to the European art scene.
The Danish artist Asger Jorn was the driving force behind the movement. On 8th November 1948, along with the Belgian writers Joseph Noiret and Christian Dotremont and the Dutch painters Corneille, Constant and Appel, he signed a manifesto in which they acclaimed absolute artistic freedom, the experimental and the collective.
The movement was named COBRA, an acronym formed from the initial letters of COpenhagen, BRussels and Amsterdam – the capitals of the countries from which the artists came.
Carl-Henning Pedersen in COBRAA few months afterwards Carl-Henning Pedersen became a member of the circle, and quickly won great respect from the group. Carl-Henning Pedersen participated in the activities and exhibitions of the COBRA group, as well as supplying material to the periodical COBRA in the form of illustrations and poems.
Before the advent of COBRA Carl-Henning Pedersen had already found his artistic standpoint, and in the wider perspective COBRA was not a watershed for him. But COBRA has been crucial to the reception of his art. COBRA has become a powerful trademark, and it means that the artist’s works from the COBRA period are exhibited more often.
With the exhibition ARKEN wishes to show the range of Carl-Henning Pedersen’s art over the seven decades in which he was active. Besides the well known pictorial universe of the COBRA period, ARKEN is for example also showing the artist’s wartime pictures, typified by ferocity and horror, surprising experiments in the years just after COBRA, and some of his last works – in the form of 15 naive watercolours from 2005.