Per Kirkeby was born in Denmark in 1938 and came to prominence as part of the rise of "New Painting" in the early 1980s, alongside artists including Georg Baselitz and A.R. Penck. A geologist by training, who still takes part in expeditions, Kirkeby's work has ranged across styles and media in a geological excavation of art history. This lavishly illustrated book, that will be the most comprehensive publication on Kirkeby yet published in English, explores the trajectory of an artistic career that has spanned half a century. Early history paintings, borrowing from Dutch still lifes and German Romantic landscapes, were followed by a move into Pop Art, with themes derived from packaging and comics.Sculptural themes range from designs for architecture to fragmented human forms. Large-scale 'heroic' paintings from the 1980s and the pastoral "Walden" series from the 1990s are as large as five metres across. These monumental works contrast with the small-scale, never-before published watercolours of Greenland landscapes, etchings and the blackboards on which Kirkeby has mapped out his ideas since the 1970s.
A newly commissioned essay by Richard Shiff and an interview conducted by curator Achim Borchardt-Hume combine with a selection from Kirkeby's own extensive writings to provide a fascinating overview of this multi-faceted and internationally renowned artist in his seventieth year.
Achim Borchardt-Hume is Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Tate and the author of Rothko and Albers and Maholy-Nagy.Richard Shiff is Professor of Art History at the University of Texas in Austin and the author of Critical Terms for Art History and Cezanne and the End of Impressionism.