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Graphic works 1996-2015

Catalogue raisonné.
The works from the catalogue will be on show throughout 2015 and 2016 at four different museums around Denmark.


The prostitute, the soldier and the landscape
– the prints by John Kørner

By Maria Kjær Themsen

“Tomorrow’s Commitment”, “Great bank – rich in independent personal experiences” are among the titles of graphic works by John Kørner that hang in a glass frame in the kitchen of the artist’s studio in Amager; titles that testify to the existence of a certain social element in the prints – a social element that is also inherent in the nature of prints themselves: they are created on paper, they can be reproduced, and they can be purchased much cheaper than exclusive paintings – three things that also link the print with the democratic project of the artist book. For this very reason, both prints and artist books are often neglected dimensions of an artist’s oeuvre, especially if the artist is a painter like John Kørner. For the exclusivity of painting remains indisputable, whereas paper can be copied, crumpled up and thrown away, or stored and forgotten on private shelves, without those who support art with capital necessarily recording its origins. But it is precisely these qualities of both prints and the artist book that provide greater social opportunities for the dissemination of the artistic project; there is greater accessibility when the exclusivity of the artistic object is replaced by reproduction.

Cuts, etches and prints

Although prints, in a European context, began as a way of emulating the paintings of the great artists, and thereby communicating their work to a wider audience, the print gradually became an independent form of artistic expression. Copperplate engravings, woodcuts and etchings were particularly popular, and were developed and refined by great artists such as Dürer (1471-1528), Rembrandt (1606-1669) and Goya (1746-1828), who turned the print into an artistic medium in its own right, and whose graphic works are now regarded as treasures.

Although prints are currently experiencing something of a revival through the renewed interest of a number of younger artists in the medium, for many people, prints remain associated with the 1970s penchant for printed materials that were either very colourful or very political, and which were produced in large runs of up to 500 copies. Even today, many summer cottages are still decorated with lino prints and woodcuts in clip-on frames from the decade when prints suddenly became commonplace items.

The interesting thing about John Kørner’s approach to the print is that he embraces both historical approaches; he creates prints that are both colourful and political, but they are treated as treasures and exclusively produced in small runs, and he rejects the clip-on frame promptly and firmly by creating unique, colourful and handmade wooden frames for them. Kørner originally trained at the School of Graphic Arts at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, and the medium has thus always been part of his artistic studies and practice. He works with prints in a varied manner, utilising most of the graphic techniques: lithography, engraved copper plates, linocuts and woodcuts, large formats and small formats – often, like his paintings, created in series.

Read the whole interview

Selected works will be exhibited at:

Odsherred Kunstmuseum
June 4 – September 27, 2015

October 8, 2015 – January 31, 2016

VejleMuseerne – Kunstmuseet
April 16 – August 14, 2016

August 28 – October 30 2016

Catalogue available at the four museums
and at Bo Bjerggaard Gallery, Copenhagen.

Catalogue content:

Early Works, 1996

Landingsbane for Ufoer, 1996

Banking and Engagements, 2000

Violets, 2001

Rain Effects, 20023

Single Works, 2003-2004

The Faroe Islands, 2004

Weekdays at Work, 2004

Fishermen, 2004

Performing Outside, 2006

Single Works, 2007

Gallery Fruits, 2007

War Problems, 2009

City Rats, 2009

Women for Sale, 2010

Christiania, 2012

Six Potential Locations, 2012

The Whale Killing Project, 2013

Single Works, 2013-2014

Understanding the Impact of Architecture, 2014

Tashqurghan, 2015

Single Work, 2015