The exhibition HI BOB – Greatest Hits. New Paintings by Peter Bonde was a total installation in ARKEN’s largest and most striking gallery, the 150 metres long Art Axis. It was created by Peter Bonde (b. 1958), one of Denmark’s most significant painters.
The majority of the thirty works that Bonde presented in the large room were brand new, created for the exhibition. The exhibition took the pulse of Bonde’s explorations of painting’s potential here and now. In several paintings, video screens were integrated.
The exhibition utilised ARKEN’s dramatic architecture by employing unorthodox hanging principles and gargantuan formats. Six paintings were as big as the size of a one bedroom apartment – each 4.5 x 12 metres.
The exhibition GO FIGURE! Young Danish Painting took the temperature of the new figurative painting which since the mid-1990s has gained an artistic foothold. Here the imagery is as many-sided as the subjects and themes explored: from sublime landscapes and fantastic dream visions to the farmyards along the highway and the mundane situations of the everyday.
The exhibiting artists were: Ivan Andersen (b. 1968), Lise Blomberg (b. 1971), Trine Boesen (b. 1972), Kaspar Bonnén (b. 1968), Anders Brinch (b. 1971), Morten Buch (b. 1970), Kristian Devantier (b. 1971), Jens Robert Jørgensen (b. 1975), Eske Kath (b. 1975), John Kørner (b. 1967), Anders W.Ø. Larsen (b. 1974), Allan Otte (b. 1978), Tal R (b. 1967), Lars Tygesen (b. 1979) and Kathrine Ærtebjerg (b. 1969).
In recent years ARKEN has acquired a substantial collection of the new figurative painting. These works were among the pictures exhibited in the exhibition, alongside a number of works from outside the museum – including paintings by the very young artists who are graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in these years. The exhibition presented a total of 46 paintings.
The exhibition provided an opportunity to see contemporary art created in a remote corner of the world – by the original Australians. At the same time the exhibition illustrated a development which especially in recent years has been significant: the expansion of the West’s artistic world map.
Originally the Aboriginals created ritual and ceremonial pictures in the sand, on the ground, on rocks and on their own bodies. The pictures were intended to pass on the indigenous people’s history, traditions, laws and wisdom. Often revealing the tribe’s secrets, they were destroyed immediately after the ceremonies to which they belonged. Not until the 1970s did Australia’s Aboriginal people begin to create pictures in a permanent form. This happened when a number of pioneers went into the bush, encouraging the Aboriginals to paint their traditional motifs on canvases with acrylic paint.
The Dutch-Australian art collector and gallery owner Hank Ebes was one of these pioneers. He helped establish Aboriginal art as an art movement on the international contemporary art scene, and since the 1970s has amassed an impressive private collection of over 11,000 Aboriginal works of art. More than 120 works from this collection were presented in the exhibition.
Among the artists represented in the exhibition were Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Rover Thomas Joolama, a.o.
With the exhibition of the total installation HOMECITY, the contemporary artist Morten Stræde (b. 1956) explored how to create an entire city from the houses that one has lived in throughout one’s life – a home city in the most literal sense.
The installation comprised a model city, seven sculptures, four animated films and 200 computer drawings which Stræde had worked on through ten years. At ARKEN it was shown in its totality for the first time.
CD-ROM catalogue in Danish with an article by Lotte S. Lederballe Pedersen as well as an interview with and works by Morten Stræde.
In 2006 ARKEN presented a small selection from the collection in the museum’s Graphics Gallery. The hanging especially focused on the new figurative painting from Germany which ARKEN in recent years has made an effort of collecting and on the new sculpture which e.g. Stella Hamberg and Jeppe Hein are exponents of.