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2015

 
Åge Vogel-Jørgensen (1888-1964). Blåt billede. 1957. Olie på træfiberplade. 112 x 77 cm.  Fuglsang Kunstmuseum. Foto: Foto: Ole Akhøj Åge Vogel-Jørgensen (1888-1964). Blåt billede. 1957. Olie på træfiberplade. 112 x 77 cm. Fuglsang Kunstmuseum. Foto: Foto: Ole Akhøj

October 10, 2015 - January 10, 2016 The artist association Martsudstillingen

In many ways, Martsudstillingen (1951-1982) is the odd one out among 20th-century Danish artists’ associations. Primarily because the common artistic denominator was so prominent. Martsudstillingen represented a headstrong and oppositional artistic view in relation to the prevailing contemporary changeable art movements and art political alignments. Besides, some members of the association were notable public exponents of this view, and usually with some effect. Martsudstillingen, in other words, exerted considerable influenced on Danish art life, continuing to do so for the almost thirty years the association existed.
 
The members were looking for a common basis where work was based on a ‘living artistic, tradition’ as it said in the brief foreword in the association’s first catalogue from 1951. They believed that the great majority of their contemporary colleagues were merely experimenting for the sake of it. Instead, they looked behind tradition, so to speak, and hence also behind the new breakthroughs that one of the association’s co-initiators and main champions, Ejler Bille (1910-2004), helped evolve e.g. via his engagement in Linien (1934-1939) – Denmark’s first abstract artists’ association.
 
Several members of Martsudstillingen had distinguished careers when the association was formed. Some favoured an abstract expression and others a figurative. For the non-initiated, this appeared contradictory. Strangely at odds with the general debate which tended to run along the lines of being in favour of or against abstract art. Art theories or ideologies were hardly an issue for the members. Not so, experienced reality and individual dispositions – they believed that this relationship was the key to rendering art personal and human. 
 
In its heyday, Martsudstillingen benefited from the goodwill of specific institutions and other important players, but times change and in art historical literature and in Danish exhibition life as a whole, focus was later primarily directed at selected members of the association while others were totally forgotten. 

Martsudstillingen consisted of Ejler Bille, Poul Ekelund, Viggo Jensen, Arne Johannessen, Harald Leth, Knud Lollesgaard, Agnete Madsen, Anna Thommesen, Erik Thommesen, Gertrud Vasegaard, Åge Vogel-Jørgensen og Jeppe Vontillius. Albert Mertz, Astrid Noack og Erik Ortvad were in shorter or longer time connected to or me
members of association. 
 
For a considerable time, Holstebro Artmuseum, Fuglsang Art Museum and Vendsyssel Artmuseum, which all possess numerous works by artists of Martsudstillingen in their collections, have wanted to bring Martsudstillingen back from oblivion and into the limelight, thereby contributing to the critique of Danish Modernism emerging in recent years.
 
To relate the story of Martsudstillingen, the museums have called on the art critic and
writer on the arts, Henning Jørgensen, professor of political science, to write the story in his usual passionate and engaged fashion – an inside perspective as a year-long friend and loyal follower of Martsudstillingen, but equally from a contemporary perspective. Henning Jørgensen’s personal archives accumulated over decades, as well as private conversations with the artists form the backdrop to the most extensive article in the book, which, with its heartfelt, descriptive, and debating approach, provides a comprehensive insight into an, at once, traditional and Modernist artists’ association that numbered several of this country’s most striking painters and sculptors.

The Exhibition will be showed at Fuglsang Artmuseum 5.2.-16.5.2016, and at Vendsyssel Artmuseum 27. may - 28. august 2016.
 
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