Asger Jorn - En place pour le rite
En place pour le rite
Oil on canvas. 60.5 x 50 cm. Framed. Signed 'Jorn'. - Traces of studio and minor traces of age.
“If Jorn had lived a thousand years ago, he would have been one of the wandering storytellers, always ready to mythologise reality and to discover the relationships between things… With Jorn we penetrate into the cosmic infinity of the night, where the little creatures, the tiny critters fidget to participate in the great drama, the inevitable drama of the seers, i.e. those who try to tear free from the material and spiritual death forces of this world. Painting, he tries to perfect himself with aggressiveness in terms of an expression: he thus succeeds in striking new chords of unlimited possibilities… Jorn removes us from Klee in order to approach Poe”, as Egill Jacobsen, compatriot and fellow COBRA combatant, characterises the art of Asger Jorn (Egill Jacobsen, quoted from: Asger Jorn 1914-1973, Gemälde, Zeichnungen, Aquarelle, Gouachen, Skulpturen, exhib.cat. Lenbachhaus Munich, 1987, p.29).
The title of the offered work “En place our le rite” seems to refer directly to Jorn's described inclination towards cryptically mysterious themes and to his preoccupation with Nordic mythology. However, nothing about dark ritual acts can be divined when looking at the picture. With light colours, a bulging head shape emerges from the streaks of colour - a motif that is found in a similar form in his works from the mid-1950s onwards. Many of these head motifs are titled as portraits. Conversely, others, such as the present work, appear to want to refute the portrait condition with their picture title such as “Avant les vacances”, 1956 (Atkins Supplement, p.101), or “Le monde perdu”, 1960 (Atkins 1239). They are impressive examples of the constant experimentation with visual habits and possibilities of interpretation that determine Asger Jorn's artistic work just as much as the curiosity demanded by him of the unknown.
Guy Atkins, Asger Jorn, The crucial years, 1954–1964, London 1977, cat.rais.no. 1051
This work is registered in the archives of the Museum Jorn, Silkeborg.
Sotheby's, London, 03.12.1993, Lot 159; Galerie Michael Haas, Berlin (label verso); private collection, Bavaria