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Current Exhibition at Copenhagen’s Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art: Gunnar Aagaard Andersen 0

Photos: Jan Søndergaard & Jeppe Aagaard Andersen

Aagaard Andersen in use - a selection of works from the 1950s onwards
Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen
August 17 – October 6, 2013

“A Danish Pythagoras in blue denim, with pageboy hair, poised behind the wheel of his sputtering 35-year-old beast, on the way to the wooden castle of Munkerup.” This is how the composer Niels Viggo Bentzon characterized his friend Gunnar Aagaard Andersen. In Bentzon’s estimation, Danish art was very lucky to have the phenomenon of Gunnar Aagaard Andersen within its reach. The “sputtering beast” was the large Citroen DS, the design of which can still appeal to a kind of pathos in the heart. The wooden castle of Munkerup was Munkeruphus in Dronningmølle – a large tree-house, which formed the setting for Aagaard Andersen’s private and working life, from 1959 to 1982.

Aagaard working in the studio. Courtesy Mobilia special edition. Photo: Jeppe Aagaard Andersen

Until October 6, Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art presents a comprehensive retrospective of the artist, designer and architect Gunnar Aagaard Andersen (1919-1982).

Today, several of Aagaard Andersen’s works have gained iconic status, and therefore renewed relevance, due partly to the “crossover” approach that he took within his practice. These days, when design and visual art tend to mix and overlap to an unprecedented extent, it naturally makes sense to find out what there is to learn from Aagaard Andersen’s impressive productions.

Exhibition “Aagaard Andersen in use - a selection of works from the 1950s onwards” is the result of a research project by senior researcher Vibeke Petersen M.A., in curatorial collaboration with the artist Jørgen Michaelsen. For the first time ever, Aagaard Andersen’s work is presented from sketch to finished product, encompassing his set design, graphic design, the legendary polyurethane furniture, his drip paintings, textiles, wallpaper patterns, carpets, etc. His use of typography as a graphic element, displaced onto carpets and upholstery textiles, along with his approach to materials and the shaping of furniture, are early examples of the ways in which design and art can flow seamlessly into one another.

The textile design companies Kvadrat, in connection with this exhibition reprintinted five of Aagaard Andersen’s earlier textile designs. In the 1950s, Aagaard Andersen was attached to Unika Væv, who were later to develop into Kvadrat - and it was there that he designed patterns, created a new colour system, and worked on graphic layouts.