You are now visiting Danish Cultural Center in Beijing  Discover where we also work Created with Sketch.
2016 · 09 · 26

Photo Exhibition: Keld Helmer-Petersen and Liu Jin

Danish Cool – Keld Helmer-Petersen, Photography and the Photobook

The exhibition ’Keld Helmer-Petesen – the photography and the photobook’ provided an exclusive insight into the front runner of Danish modernist photography and his artistic experiments with the photographical and literary mediums.


The exhibition was curated by architect Anne Elisabeth Toft and focuses on Helmer-Petersen’s last work – the photo book titled Black Light from 2014 – and was designed around his photographical books, which in their original versions today are rare collector’s items.


The books were referenced in the exhibition by a small excerpt of Helmer-Petersen’s photographs, which are projected in large-scale formats. These photographs stemmed from five different series and make up a catalogue of Helmer-Petersen’s artistic practice.


The series illustrate different phases in Helmer-Petersen’s photographical authorship and they sum up a series of central motifs in his work. The exhibition is related in a exhibition text comprised of three brief chapters that introduce the most important themes of the exhibition.


Helmer-Petersen was the leading Danish photographer of his time and achieved international recognition as a young man. He is world famous for his early colour photographs from the 1940s, his tight modernist photographical compositions and his unique use of books as a particularly privileged way of exhibiting photographs.


When working on Black Light Helmer-Petersen returned to his point of departure, the abstract black and white photography, using modern, digital techniques.


The exhibition went beyond the photographs in the book and was extensively comprised of archive material and a number of Helmer-Petersen’s private items – objets trouvés, sketches and drafts etc. – that document the evolution of the book project and shed light on Helmer-Petersen’s visual universe, his inspirations, work methods and techniques.


The archive material had not previously been gathered and put on display. It was also the first time that Helmer-Petersen’s photo books were displayed together, and the first time his photographs and photo books were displayed in China.


Helmer-Petersen’s photographs are represented in collections and museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Moderna Museet in Stockholm. His work is also available at The Rocket Gallery i London.


All archive material at the exhibition was generously on loan from Keld Helmer-Petersen’s son Jan Helmer-Petersen and architect og photographer Jens Frederiksen, who was a close personal friend and colleague of Helmer-Petersen and collaborated with him on Black Light.


Liu Jin: New Clothes for the Fairytales

The Chinese photographer, performance and video artist, Liu Jin, exhibited his work from his DIVA-residency in Denmark in 2015, where he was invited by Galleri Image and Beate Cegielska in conjunction with the cultural effort in China 2014-2015.


During his two months in Denmark, Liu visited Skagen, Copenhagen and Odense and in the works of Hans Christian Andersen he explored the wisdom found in fairy tales, but interpreted it in a modern context with an eye to human nature, which is not always idyllic.


Liu Jin is known for not being afraid to employ his own body – and others’ – for art. In fact his art is marked by nudity and use of human bodies in fixed positions, oftentimes with a tragicomic element and as part of a reflection on the individual’s existence.


The works from Liu Jins DIVA stay in Aarhus will also be part of the Aarhus 2017 project FRESH EYES, which is a collaborative effort between Galleri Image and the Aarhus Center for Literature.


”Liu Jin is the solo star of his own epic story” said George Michell, director and curator at Studio Rouge in Shanghai, referencing Liu’s use of himself as an artistic object.


Throughout Liu Jin’s long career a series of special themes stand out as defining for his work., Especially that of China’s explosively developing cities and the economic reforms that took hold from the 70s onward.  Linked to this is the theme of the human role, life and future in an expanding society like the Chinese and also, as a main focus of Jin’s, the woman’s position in contemporary culture and consumer society.


Liu Jin uses his body as an artistic medium to express something about modern society and to represent mortality or – as he puts it – to recognize ”the burden of the flesh”, which is what gives him the impulse to create.


Danish Cool  Keld Helmer-Petersen, Photography and the Photobook

New Clothes for the Fairytales  Liu Jins photographic take on Denmark

Duration of exhibition: 13 August – 18 September 2016

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, kl. 10.00-18.00

Address: Danish Cultural Center, 798 International Arts District, 706 Beiyi Jie