The Arts Club of Chicago is pleased to announce the first museum exhibition of Per Kirkeby’s work in the Midwest. Primarily a painter, Kirkeby also works in sculpture, drawing, etching, architecture, performance, essay, poems, and diaries. He studied geology at the University of Copenhagen in the 1950s, and took many expeditions to Greenland, where he spent the mornings as a geology student and the afternoons as an artist. His in-depth understanding of the natural world is based on his studies of geology and informs his work as an artist. Trips to Mayan ruins and the Arctic further crystallized his affinity for nature, which is a constant source for his work.
Kirkeby does not emulate nature by making art in its image. He imbues his paintings with the willfulness and dynamism of nature, communicating the experience of the landscape through his use of color. In the introspective tradition of Scandinavian painting, Kirkeby gives color precedence over form, using color to structure the painting and communicate the sublimity of the landscape as a profound experience.
Per Kirkeby was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1938. He began exhibiting at the Michael Werner Galerie, Cologne, in the 1970s and became associated with the group of German painters Jörg Immendorff, A.R. Penck, Markus Lupertz, and Sigmar Polke, and aligned with the Neo-Expressionist movement of post World War II. Since then he has exhibited extensively throughout the world and is included in many museum and private collections. Kirkeby designed the scenery and costumes for New York City Ballet’s current production of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, which runs from 1–13 May 2007.