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Solo exhibition at IMO, Copenhagen, 18 May – 23 June 2012



By Toke Lykkeberg

TL: The exhibition Production revisits a theme you’ve been occupied with for a long time in your paintings; the theme of the Factory. What is it that fascinates you about factories?

JK: A factory is identical to its production in most cases, and production is an all encompassing universe that we, in our part of the world, the Western World, are very much in constant contact with. Almost every situation which we could be in, over the course of our daily lives, relates to some form of production. Here I’m thinking of the physical. I’m not referring to the forms of production associated with thoughts and ideas, more our physical surroundings: Building projects and that sort of thing. But, because of the factory’s architecture, aesthetic and hygiene, production centres have been moved to the periphery of society and are no longer a part of the urban landscape. But, historically, from the industrial revolution, the industrial factory was an urban gathering point, for example in London or Manchester. But, even though we no longer see factories in the city, the production apparatus is still just as important in our lives. I think it deserves more attention because the factory’s reach is so great. That’s why I’m so interested in factories and production.

TL: And what is it, on a purely aesthetic level, that interests you about a factory – here we’re talking about the factory as a physical entity which you reproduce in your paintings, and which is almost a caricature, while remaining an archetypical image.
JK: The factories I reproduce in my paintings and sculptures refer to a construction that is hundreds of years old: a box with a pipe sticking out of the top; the chimney. And what the factory produces we associate with two things: products and waste. But, via the media and pedagogy, we learn that the factory is something that pollutes. Society is very focused on a factory’s waste production. But, in my paintings, a factory is also a poetic construction. The large painting I have in the Produktion exhibition is actually a very poetic image. There are three men, mid-way through a process. There is both wind and weather. There is dark and light. This is work. This is, in reality, a very social realistic motif. There is no sense, the way I see it, in reproducing a factory in some abstract manner that has no practical function. Instead, I would rather show the cooperation between the workers and the factory, and especially the sky and nature. And so, in order to get it all in, I simplify my expression, though in a different way than the media and others would do. It’s the whole that interests me, and that is why I am drawn to the symbolic expression, which you would call caricature.
Read the whole interview

Press release