Asger Jorn


Asger Jorn was a Danish painter, sculptor, ceramic artist, and author. Born 1914 in Jutland, Denmark, he first trained to become a teacher. 1936 he traveled to Paris to become a student of Kandinsky and later of Fernand Léger and Le Corbusier. In 1948 he founded with Christian Dotremont, Karel Appel, Joseph Noiret, Constant, and Corneille the international artist group CoBrA (from the first letters of Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam). The end of the CoBrA experience in 1951 coincides with Jorn’s disease and hospitalization in a sanatorium in Silkeborg for tuberculosis. After recovering in the fall of 1952, he tried to restart his career in Denmark, however, a year later he moved to Switzerland. In 1954 Jorn moved to the Italian coastal town of Albissola near Genoa. Shortly after his arrival, he organized the International Ceramics Congress in Albisola with the collaboration of Sergio Dangelo and ceramist Tullio Mazzotti. The meeting was one of the first experiments of the just created International Movement for an Imaginist Bauhaus. The movement was not long-lived – it merged into the Situationist International in 1957 –, but in its insistence on physical expression, vital technology, and artistic experimentation, it still seems relevant today.

In the last decade of his life Jorn traveled extensively, pursuing a variety of projects, notably the Scandinavian Institute of Comparative Vandalism, which saw him returning to the early influence of Erik Lundberg’s comparative architectural history. He died in Denmark in 1973.