Per Kirkeby at the Glyptotek

Vinterferien: fra sans og samling på Glyptoteket
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Exhibition: 7.9. - 30.12.2012:  KIRKEBY EPIPHANY. Per Kirkeby at the Glyptotek

On 7th September Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is opening an exhibition of the work of Per Kirkeby, who, for four decades, has been one of the greatest masters of Danish art. The exhibition KIRKEBY EPIPHANY will present 25 paintings and sculptures spanning the period from 1981 up to the present day. There will be a press reception at 11.00 a.m. Thursday 6th September.

Per Kirkeby combines the sensual in the raw materials of fabric and colour with great artistic and theoretical insight. His extraordinary ability to bring together form, nature and a wide-ranging web of  ideas in painting and sculpture has made him one of the most important figures in modern art.

KIRKEBY EPIPHANY is a meeting between Danish art’s great abstract painter and the Glyptotek’s extensive collections of art which cover 6000 years.

Epiphany = Revelation

Epiphany is the Greek word for “revelation”, the sudden experience of a god manifesting itself. Epiphany is the sensation of being wrenched out of one’s customary, earthly element and confronted with the “unearthly”. In ancient culture it could be a juxtaposition of the world of mankind with that of the gods. With Christianity the religious revelation occurs when the human being encounters God.

The unknown, however, can only be expressed through the known, and it is here that Per Kirkeby’s work with the abstract is to be found. Kirkeby is, first and foremost, a great storyteller. And in his art revelation is interwoven with the everyday.

The Glyptotek’s collections are filled with artistic endeavours to relate to that which cannot be put into words. What does God look like? In the art of Antiquity, Apollo is represented as a lyre-playing youth and the beautiful young woman in the wood is Diana, the Goddess of the Hunt. In the 19th century, French painters attempted to depict the divinity of nature itself – from lonely mountains through dark forests to the flickering light of Impressionism. Nature, of course, also plays an important role for Kirkeby, who once wrote:

“In painting I have to have something to represent. I cannot just paint out of an empty sky” (from “Naturens Blyant – in English “The Pencil of Nature” - from 1978, one of his many books about art, life and everything in between.)

Motifs from Nature

KIRKEBY EPIPHANY displays Kirkeby’s use of a number of recurring motifs, taken from Nature – from the alien forms of the polar regions, from the forest on the Danish island of Læsø or from his own back garden. Visitors can share the artist’s widely-encompassing sense of what has great picture-making power, across artistic genres, media and cultural-historical boundaries.

With Per Kirkeby, that which is most banal may suddenly reveal itself as a direct line to something more – that extra, with which art has always been concerned. Kirkeby uses his vision to enable the public to see visions too, in a serious encounter of the abstract and the concrete. Today Kirkeby is at the height of his artistic powers. See a modern master in the setting of the Glyptotek’s galleries, light and atmosphere.

The exhibition opens to the public at 11.00 a.m. Friday 7th September and will run until 30th December 2012. 

Press reception

You are invited to the press reception of “KIRKEBY EPIPHANY” at 11.00 a.m. on Thursday 6th September, when Flemming Friborg, Director of the Glyptotek will introduce the concept of the exhibition. At 11.30 there will be a guided tour of the exhibition and at 12.30 the museum hosts a light lunch. The artist will be present at the press reception.

Please indicate by Monday 3rd September if you wish to attend. Contact Head of Communications Pia Svejgaard Pedersen, email

The exhibition has been realised with support from:


Press release is not available for download
Press kit is not available for download

For further information:
Pia Svejgaard Pedersen
Head of Communications
Tel. (+ 45) 33 41 81 07 / 60 95 69 49

Download press images

The Glyptotek will be showing the film 'Winter's Tale' by Jesper Jargil about Per Kirkeby. The film will be shown in the museum's infolounge and is also on sale at the museum shop.

The exhibition has a catalogue, Kirkeby Epiphany, with texts by Richard A. Shiff and the artist and will be available from the museum shop.


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