b.1938, Copenhagen, Denmark
Per Kirkeby works cross a range of different media including architecture, poetry, film, and sculpture as well as many historical art movements, yet sees himself primarily as a painter. He creates expressive, heavily layered paintings, drawings, and prints, which can resemble geological strata, the Danish landscape, and even the female form. Natural phenomena and biological forms act as the bases of his visual lexicon, providing his subject matter with an organic foundation related to the processes of nature. The dense, layered textures of his images’ surfaces mimic the ecology that serve as his inspiration. Kirkeby’s work might be seen, in its abstraction, to be a more accurate than naturalism for its representation of atmospheres and environments. Kirkeby has regularly reinforced these connection with trips to Central America, Australia, the Arctic, and uninhabited regions of Northern Europe, with his work subtly evolving in response to his travels.