Jacob Stangerup Jacob Stangerup

Martin Asbæk Gallery presents a new series of drawings and sculptures by the Danish artist Jacob Stangerup. In Stangerup’s drawings assemblages of ancient African and Mexican fertility sculptures and Japanese netsuke figures are confronted with iconic artworks and lesser known studies by among others Hans Bellmer, Jean Michel Basquiat, Alexander Calder, Otto Dix, Disney, Jean Dubuffet, Georg Grosz, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Pablo Picasso, Gerhard Richter, and Egon Schiele.

In Stangerup’s ongoing experimentation with finding a state of balance – an equilibrium between often radically different drawing techniques and motifs – works from the history of art become participants in a play of associations, a jeu de motifs, and are recreated in new, original yet derivative works.

In his own distinctive way Stangerup establishes and investigates possible connections between the artworks beyond time and place, and in places the encounter seems violent, at other times slightly comical. The juxtapositions take you by surprise and the result becomes a kind of drawn ready-mades, with nods to the contemporary as well as the 20th-century avant-garde and earlier epochs of art history.

The avant-garde’s use of cut-up and collage seems to be a clear inspiration. But rather than cutting reproductions from magazine and books, Stangerup re-creates the existing material in charcoal, pastel and wax pastel on paper, which is his preferred medium. This means that drawn copies appear in assemblages that are supremely Stangerup’s own. The process results in a kind of appreciative mastery of the models, which have almost literally passed through his body and mind to find a place in his works.

Stangerup draws several drawings in one, in layers one over another, so clashes arise in both style and connotations. Nevertheless the compositions achieve a distinctive harmony that seems playful but far from accidental. The many layers are organized not hierarchically, but rather side by side. Foreground and background cancel each other out. The creative tension is in the balancing act that gives each element the same value irrespective of status and category. Everything is included together equally.

In a supplement to the suite of drawings, Stangerup has produced relief sculptures which at first glance appear to have been drawn directly on the wall. The sculptures are carved in steel with a laser-cut technique after originals by Egon Schiele, J.M. Basquiat and Hans Bellmer. They are assembled in several layers, identical in structure to the process with the drawings, and recall Pop Art, in particular by artists like Tom Wesselmann and Roy Lichtenstein.

Jacob Stangerup (b. 1971) lives and works in Copenhagen. Stangerup is a visual artist and works with drawings, photogravure and serigraphy. He takes a strong interest in classical sculpture and painting which is reflected in his work with the figurative and with human anatomy. Stangerup has exhibited at the Nivaagaard Collection of Paintings, Kunstforeningen Gl. Strand, Magasin 3 in Sweden, Museum & Foundation for Contemporary Art in Stockholm and at Sophienholm in Kongens Lyngby, just to mention a few places.