Peter Bonnén is dead – the art lives

Martin Asbæk Gallery is proud to present the first exhibition with recognized Danish sculptor Peter Bonnén since the artist’s passing in the summer of 2022. The exhibition, which is a collaboration between Martin Asbæk Gallery and the children of Bonnén, will take place in both Martin Asbæk Gallery and at the former ‘Classenske Library’ in Amaliegade 38.
Author Patricia Breinholm Bertram
Photography Kevin Josias

The two parallel exhibitions both focus on the artist’s work in metal, which helped establish Peter Bonnén’s name already in the mid-60s. Peter Bonnén’s characteristic expression and his cultural political efforts made him nationally known, and he was, among other things, originator of the “Rindalism debate”, which was defining for art policy in Denmark for many years afterwards. Today, Peter Bonnén’s minimalist sculptures can be found in both private collections as well as at several museums and as public commissions such as his bridge over the valley at the Vang granite quarry on Bornholm.

The exhibition Peter Bonnén is dead – the art lives presents several of the artist’s older and characteristic works in reddish brown Corten steel, for which many know him. In addition to his sequential sculptures, Peter Bonnén was also behind happenings, conceptual photographic works, and ready-mades. From the end of the 1970s, Bonnén was represented by Galerie Asbæk, and the exhibition is thus both a personal tribute to the artist’s work and to a dear friend of the family: “Peter was among the gallery’s first artists,” says Jacob Asbæk, “and he remained a good friend – and was also godfather to our youngest son Pilou. Peter was an incredibly generous and loyal person, but he was also a distinctive personality who was candid in his statements and genuine to his own truth.” Jacob Asbæk adds: “On the other hand, you always knew where you had him.”

Peter Bonnén was a native of Copenhagen, raised at Nikolaj Plads in Indre By, but as an artist he also had insight into what was happening outside the country, and there is no doubt that Peter Bonnén was ahead of his time: “He sowed the first seeds for movements, first seen years later on the Danish arts scene. Peter had insight into what was happening in the US, and he seized that and spread it in Denmark in his own way. He was gifted and talented, a multi-artist raised in an exceptional family.”

There are many stories about Peter Bonnén, a lifetime of memories and a lifetime of work, which continues to live on.

Opening hours in Amaliegade 38 (March 9-25):

Thursday: 1 pm – 5:30 pm.
Friday: 1 pm – 5:30 pm.
Saturday: 11 am – 4 pm

The exhibition at Martin Asbæk Gallery is open during the gallery’s regular hours.

Peter Bonnén (1945-2022) was a Danish sculptor and cultural commentator. He graduated from the experimental Eks-skolen in 1961-62 and was an active part of the Danish arts scene since his debut in 1962. Bonnén was also chairman of the Academy Council as well as the Academy’s president in 1980-83, head of the Art in the Workplace Association in 1973 -2020 and chairman of Grønningen 2007-10. Among several honors, he received the Eckersberg Medal in 1989. Peter Bonnén’s works can be found in collections such as SMK – The National Gallery of Denmark, Horsens Art Museum, Sorø Art Museum and ARoS.