Poul Gernes (1925-1996) is considered to be one of Scandinavia's most significant artists and has recently been rediscovered as a wanderer on the boundaries of Concept/Minimal/Pop of the 1960s and '70s who combined these styles with a social revolutionary impetus.
Gernes worked intensely with public art and for years he devoted himself to a large-scale project, the "colour radiation of Copenhagen," among which projects are a number of cabinets designed for a public school. Today, LARMgalleri is delighted to present these original colourful cabinets. Poul Gernes cabinets literally work as a point of departure for the display of other artists' work; like a modern form of Wunderkammer mixing various genres and media and thereby creating new unexpected encounters. Whilst the cabinets do have an air of industrial production, the artist's personal signature could not be avoided entirely when applying the paint. The luminous colours now surround the works of other, younger painters work like Oana Farcas, Christian Achenbach, Ditte Ejlerskov and Moritz Schleime, and envelop experiments by Tony Matelli, Gavin Turk and others.
Gernes himself was well acquainted with the European and American avant-garde and moved easily between genres and traditions. He infused two- and three-dimensional images with human experience, curiosity and passionate convictions about how society should be built by and with art. His cabinets now containing vibrant works by other artists could be envisioned as Gernes' dream come true. Gernes' system of believe was based on collaboration and communism and his practice was far from the ideas of l'art pour l'art. Instead, Gernes practiced a relational aesthetic in a quest to combine art and life. Today, this profound believe is mirrored in his cabinets containing a selection of like-minded artists.
Poul Gernes's legacy is impressive. He moved freely between painting, sculpture, design, performance, film and social activism. His belief in art as a positive, transformative power in society was foundational and unwavering. Yet he continuously questioned the notion of art, undermining commonly held beliefs about the use of various materials, the incorporation of everyday actions or the reliance on industrial production processes. Gernes was never afraid of being provocative. At the same time he had great respect for traditional craft and advocated an accessible art with strong popular appeal. Poul Gernes has inspired many of today's young artists. This is hardly surprising, since the unorthodox use of different means of expression and forms of communication has become a constitutive characteristic of contemporary art.
Poul Gernes (b. 1925 - d. 1996) lived and worked in Copenhagen, Denmark. In recent years, Gernes has been exhibited at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, the Palais de Tokyo (Paris), the Deichtorhallen (Hamburg), the Daimler Contemporary (Berlin). Gernes represented Denmark in the 43rd Venice Biennial and was included in Documenta 12.