The place where contemplation and closeness are intense, a place in the natural world where bubbling sprouts look towards the spring sun, where bugs swarm in the sun and the soil is black and wet and where the blackbird is looking for food.
Green and fragrant forests, where fruit and berries are still small, fresh blue ocean that cools the feet during the summer heat and the heated rocks which during the night reflect the heat back towards your back.
The smells during the fall, when it’s drizzling in your face and the sun that makes the soft moss glow green between the golden leaves on the forest floor. And mycelium that once again gets room to grow and bear fruit.
Big snowflakes cover the forest in an enormous white winter blanket, which makes everything quiet, oh so quiet, except for the crackling sound of feet stepping on the snow and dry cold air that is comfortable to inhale and transforms into steam that crystalizes.
This is not a romantic dream, but life and the place that has been our home throughout our history.
As a child I grew up in the water’s edge during the summer, with pebbles, sand and warm rocks, where small amphipods jumped around in the seaweed and teeny tiny red spiders darting around in the eternal search for food. Grandma’s dog that scratched my belly when we swam together and the water’s mysterious world, a playground where the body become weightless at the surface and burdensome heavy when I get close to the seaweed forest between the rocks on the bottom where I observed the luminous sun rays that flickered and lit up the seagrass without any shadows. The blue silvery flicker on the water’s surface that blinds me, when I’m laying on my back against the seabed without any air in my lungs to be able to relax and observe. With air in my lungs I’d rise, so it became a game to meditate while fighting against time, that became silent and peaceful when the body was rocked by the waves. The weightless freedom to this day makes me float above the trees and cities in my dreams.
The clay along the shore started my sensation of being able to change the soft clay with my imagination and hands. I started to think with my hands and what I thought became real. I discovered creation and that the clay became lighter when it dried on my skin in the sun. I painted the pebbles, the rocks and myself white using clay.
After having laid in the big puddles on the forest road, with its fine mud our bodies became greyish brown in the sun and apparently, we became blue and purple in the face and hands when crawled in the trees during the cherry season and the color was beautiful when it was painted on top of the dried white clay.
Along the coasts there are layers of clay, red, yellow, light blue and a deep black greasy clay, that I later discovered came from the collapse of nature in the Jurassic period, but I thought that it was fantastic that there were colors everywhere that I could dry and experiment with. I was tired when I sailed home with bags filled with color, but that didn’t stop me from using all the time in the world on dissolving them so the cleanest and purest colors fell to the bottom in the buckets.
My grandfather had taught me that it was possible to extract colors from the ground. He had learned painting techniques when he was young. When I was a teenager his literature became my bibles. Suddenly I understood that the fragrant resin from the pine forests, where the needles would prick the soles of my bare feet, could be used to bind together the dried colors from the coast if I boiled the resin with nut oil or boiled resin from cherry trees in water that could be used with juice from berries to make watercolors.
I painted and painted, drew and drew, modeled and modeled.
I went exploring between the big rocks where nature captivated me and I understood that rocks were the architecture of nature and that nature was life itself and I was a part of it. The sensation of space occurred between the rocks and my room was transformed into a green forest where I was sitting while I was drawing and painting. The soil in the back yard was modelled into buildings with tunnels and small trees.
Grandma’s beach was transformed into a workshop where I built a wood stove to fire my experimental ceramics, which I had made at one of the old ceramists in town. I painted them with my colors, egg yolks and oils. I put the badly fired ceramics in the ocean and thought it was exciting to see it change shape when the seabed eroded it.
The art my aunt introduced me to at Glyptoket in Copenhagen was also erosive. That became my playground along with Thorvaldsens Museum. Her stories about the Greek gods made me understand that the world is filled with adventures and that sculptures were made by hands and great thoughts.
Today, 35 years later, I am cognizant that I am not a trained artist, but it is a heritage that I have gotten. I am a mix between my dad and grandfather. I am born this way and it has been a blessing. My dad wasn’t around when I grew up and I haven’t learned anything from him, so everything comes from my genes. I have always been told by my mom, that our cohesion with nature and art is the same thing.
And the passion in me is just as great as it was during my childhood, even though I’m busy, I can still hear nature calls. I think of the poor cows that after a long winter are transformed into kids when they jump with joy after being let out of the stables and onto the fields in the spring. I always get the same feeling when I have been away from nature for too long. Being able to disappear and become part of nature is a basic instinct that can be found deep within me.
I get renewed energy when I am surrounded by nature. I often disappear for days on the rock filled coasts of Bornholm. I observe everything, from the moss, the heather and the bugs living underneath it, to the structure of the trees and the way the wind makes the trees grow and change shape. I look at the weathering of the rocks and at their erosion by the ice age’s enormous masses of snow which makes me look at time in a different and greater perspective. Time is bigger, deeper and more understandable than in our industrial world, where we grind nature into an economy with a focus on quick profit and the newest religion that glorifies everything digital. In nature there is room for reflection about time and the magical world we come from. That is nature’s hidden soul which I instinctively reflect out into the world through my work.
Architects I’m inspired by
The inspiration for space is, of course, nature and rocks, but architects are also an influence on me. The Japanese architect Tadao Ando whose concrete architecture breaks the framework in the transition between space and nature and the honesty towards the material is pervasive in his big spaces, which for me reflects the rocks in nature in a timeless manner. Another Japanese architect Tatsuro Miki from mood-architecture sprl, creates, together with Axel Vervoordt, timeless rooms based on the Wabi Sabi tradition by using natural materials, which I recognize from my experiments with nature’s materials from my childhood. Ludwig Godefroy is an absolute star. His architecture erases the border between sculpture and room, where the incident ray reminds me of rays of sunshine that falls over rocky gorges. Brent Lee from Australia has despite his simplistic and minimalistic architecture managed to get a soul into the concrete architecture.
Artists I’m inspired by
Artists that I like can be recognized by their use of simple and nonfigurative art manages to let texture and mass be the nucleus in their expression. I also want to mention the polymaterialist post war artist Alberto Burri and the contemporary Japanese artist Takesada Matsutani from the post war artist group Gutai, creates experimental works in ink grounded in the Japanese tradition. The Korean minimalist Ha Chong-Hyun’s monochrome works are simple when he presses the material through the back of the linen canvas. Another contemporary Korean artist Chun Kwang-Young manages to create texture in his reliefs made of mulberry paper which makes the works seem like organisms. The young contemporary artist Jaromír Novotný from the Czech Republic creates works that are almost transparent, which are also so light that they almost caress the room.