ARKEN opens the first major Else Alfelt exhibition in more than 20 years

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ARKEN opens the first major Else Alfelt exhibition in more than 20 years
Else Alfelt, Flower of the Universe no. 9. Dark Madder Lake Towards the Center, 1966 Carl-Henning Pedersen & Else Alfelts Museum.

ISHØJ.- The first major Else Alfelt exhibition in more than 20 years is now on show at ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, south of Copenhagen. The exhibition tells the story of a pioneering woman artist whose luminous mountains and inner landscapes have special relevance in our time.

This summer ARKEN unfolds Else Alfelt’s fascinating life’s work in a major retrospective focusing on the artist’s strong vision of promoting healing in the world through art. Fuelled by keenly attuned sensibilities, Else Alfelt’s watercolours, mosaics and oil paintings of inner and outer landscapes show how we are all part of a larger whole.

Else Alfelt (1910–1974) was a central and pioneering avant-garde artist at the time when Danish art redefined itself around World War II. She achieved an international breakthrough, exhibiting in the USA, France and the Netherlands, and was part of several artist groups alongside her husband and fellow artist Carl-Henning Pedersen.

“Else Alfelt was wild and boundary-breaking in subtle, understated ways. Her art is not overtly political – but her approach to art contains strong messages that remain highly relevant today. Alfelt distanced herself from the idea of art as a way to promote an ego or as a commodity, instead embracing the collective and process-oriented. She often had her works accompanied by poems, and at her exhibitions she would hang her works to create meditative spaces for the visitors. We are very much looking forward to recreating some of these spaces,” says curator Gry Hedin.

An artistic nomad

Throughout her life, Else Alfelt was deeply inspired by nature and by the indigenous and folk cultures she explored on trips to places such as Sápmi, North Africa and Japan. Her imagery is full of jagged peaks, spirals and circles that evoke thoughts of mountains, crystals and cosmic celestial bodies. Such elements reflect the artist’s own communion with nature and the universe, imbued by a keen sensitivity and presence in the here and now. Greatly interested in ideas about the cosmos and the interconnectedness of all things, Else Alfelt wished to show how nature and the forces of the universe work in and through humankind.

The life’s work of Else Alfelt

Since the 1980s, Else Alfelt’s artistic work has primarily been presented at the Carl-Henning Pedersen & Else Alfelt Museum in Herning. With the exhibition at ARKEN, a new, large audience will have the opportunity to experience Else Alfelt’s impressive life’s work in a presentation that includes watercolours, oil paintings and mosaics. The exhibition is created in close collaboration with the Carl-Henning Pedersen & Else Alfelts Museum, which had made works and archives available.

Else Alfelt’s art is on view at ARKEN Museum of Modern Art until September 18, 2022.

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