Arken Museum of Modern Art

Michael Kvium

Circus Europa

02 Sep 2017 - 14 Jan 2018

Michael Kvium, Stand Up Comedy, 2016 (detail). Photo: Anders Sune Berg
Photo: Ken Hermann
Circus Europa
2 September 2017 - 14 January 2018

The countdown is on for ARKEN’s major Kvium exhibition with brand new works created for the occasion.
Michael Kvium’s pictures of brutish, caricatured creatures fascinate all of us and have become part of the Danish cultural heritage. In the autumn of 2017 a long-standing dream of ARKEN will come true: a major Kvium exhibition with brand new works created for the occasion.

“My pictures are not narrative. They are performative.”
Kvium, 2016

Like actors on a stage

What is it that typifies Kvium’s figures? They don’t hide their worst sides. The expose their flaws and defects – deformed bodies, foolish expressions, malevolent looks. The animal lurking beneath human reason – ourselves – when we are asleep or lose control.

Often we make eye contact with the frightening creatures that apparently want to connect with us. That contact is central to Kvium’s works. Kvium loves the theatrical and baroque, and the beings depicted perform for us like actors on a stage. Through them we are perhaps confronted with some hidden layers in ourselves, behind the facade.

About Kvium

Michael Kvium (b. 1955) made his breakthrough on the art scene in the 1980s with film and performance. Since then his characteristic figurative paintings have addressed the existential themes of being human. Kvium has also done stage design for the theatre and exhibited all over the world.

“My wish is that we should see reality. That is the only way we shall ever have even a minimal chance of seeing the beauty of the totality. If you can only see the beauty by hiding away half of the world, then it just doesn’t work.”
Kvium, 2013


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