Per Kirkeby: Public Sculptures that Commemorate Nothing but Their Surroundings
The interview Per Kirkeby: “We Build Upon Ruins” published on Louisiana Channel not only showcases the colorful canvases of the Danish painter, sculptor, filmmaker, and writer, but also his own reflections on the importance of surroundings that “give us so much baggage.” It’s this very idea that Kirkeby brings to his brick sculpture displays, where something simple and sometimes useful puts aside inaccessible conceptualism to pay homage to the surroundings rather than the sculptures themselves.
Per Kirkeby (1938-2018) was born in Copenhagen, where he obtained a degree in Arctic Geology from the University of Copenhagen in 1964 and later completed studies in the Copenhagen School of Experimental Art. He then went on to join Fluxus – a social art movement that objects to art as something to be bought and consumed.
In 1973, he exhibited his first brick sculpture in Ikast, Jutland, inspired by the Mayan architecture he saw during a previous trip to Mexico. In this sense, he began an extensive production of brick structures that would have no other purpose other than to showcase the nature or culture of the place in which they were set.
Today, his work can be found throughout Europe and features figures, portraits, and series of interconnected arcs and windows that seeks to open up spaces for anyone who visits them.
In this sense, Kirkeby’s art has nothing to do with conceptual monuments but rather the importance of accentuated the surroundings of an art piece while asking the question ” Will we be able to observe what we should practice today?”