Cronhammar - at Fyns Kunstmuseum
One of the country's really great pictorial artists, Ingvar Cronhammar, will celebrate his 60th birthday on 17 December 2007 - something that will be commemorated at 10 art museums nationwide, with each museum putting its Cronhammar works on show. At Fyns Kunstmuseum, works on display include the artist's monumental 'Stage', 1991.
Fyns Kunstmuseum will be provided with a 'Cronhammar axis' transversing the over a century old classicist museum building. The fact that Fyns Kunstmuseum owns so many and so monumental works by Cronhammar, and that together they can fill the entirety of this long axis, makes abundantly clear that the artist plays an exceptional role within the museum's collection of contemporary art. He is also one of the living artists who, quite literally, carries most weight at Fyns Kunstmuseum, not merely physically but also in terms of quality.
Ingvar Cronhammar created Stage for the joint 'Heart of Darkness' exhibition with the artist Allan Stabell, which was put on at Lunds Konsthall and at three Danish art museums, including Fyns Kunstmuseum, in 1991-92. Stage in an installation consisting of a large pool with powerful fenders filled with greasy black oil, in which the light from a high ship's bridge-like construction placed at one end of the pool is reflected. The work is designed to be shown in a darkened room, so that the full impact of its disturbing nature is enabled.
Park bench II
In 1998, Ingvar Cronhammar showed his Park bench II at the Decembrists' exhibition at Den Frie Udstillingsbygning in Copenhagen. Fyns Kunstmuseum felt it simply had to own this work. A number of years were to pass, however, before a newly produced version of the bench could be acquired. This took place in consultation with the artist, who suggested that the museum should purchase on an even greater scale, so that a permanent Cronhammar installation could be made from the existing one, consisting of both the above-mentioned bench and four 'text tablets'.
Text tablets I-IV
Text tablets I-IV were originally varnished light turquoise in accordance with their positioning in the garden room at Sophienholm, but, at the instigation of the artist, was varnished black in order to be able to match Park bench II as well as the black panels and architraves of the museum landing. The tablets, all of the same oblong shape, have a milled edge, which gives the impression of a kind of border. The concise poems of the tablets are by Cronhammar and have the nature of epitaphs, as known from the commemorative tablets of former times in churches. The texts are in capitals in a modern sans serif (crosslines on the stem
of the letter) typography. Every single letter has been punched out of the steel plate, which makes the texts almost appear to be 'black on black'. In the same way as the text is positioned high up on each of the tablets, the tablets - as directed by the artist - have been positioned high up on the wall of the museum. When the museum felt it might possibly be a problem that the texts would be even more difficult to read because of this, Cronhammar replied 'that art doesn't of itself have to be easy to understand, and that the observer is welcome to spend some time and effort in capturing the idea of the work of art.' This the museum took to heart, since the idea supports the artist's overall view of life. In an age where everything has to happen incredibly fast, there is a need for space - and works of art - where room is provided for contemplation, introspection and deliberation.
Table - Chair/stool - Chaiselongue
Over a number of years, Ingvar Cronhammar has dealt with the theme of furniture - not furniture in the design sense but furniture converted into installations. He has maintained this interest in several contexts with the architect Poul Ingemann, sometimes also with the artist Thomas Bang. Their installations have been shown at the following joint exhibitions: 'Chambre' [French for 'room'] in 1996 at ARKEN Museum for Moderne Kunst, 'Beboelse' [Settlement] in 2000-01 at Brænderigården, Viborg and 'Spejlingen, Instrumentet, Gyngen og Genkomsten' [The Reflection, the Instrument, The Swing and the Reappearance] in 2003 at Sophienholm.
Several of the items of 'furniture' from these exhibitions have subsequently been acquired by art museums. As far as Fyns Kunstmuseum is concerned, this has been in the form of a fine donation from Ny Carlsbergfondet, consisting of six important elements from Cronhammar's section of 'Beboelse': a table, a chaiselongue and four chairs/stools. These items are monumental in size, thus differing from tables and chairs in a private home. The actual constructions are of cream-coloured steel with table-tops and cushions in turquoise. This is a reference to the delicate shades of colour found in the Rococo period. The chaiselongue is a kind of easy chair that dates from that stylistic period, when comfort was given top priority. Cronhammar's version of the easy chair differs, however, in its choice of materials from the soft, upholstered prototype of the Rococo period.