A House is a Monument
“Architecture is far more important than any sculpture. Houses are the most prevalent form of monuments.”
Meet Danish artist and sculptor Bjørn Nørgaard who in this extensive interview reflects upon his architectural work and philosophy. To him, both art and architecture have their roots in the awakening welfare-state of the 1960s. Read more …
Inspired by his German mentor Joseph Beuys, who at the time reflected upon Die Soziale Plastik, Nørgaard says: “We wanted to be the ones who shaped the social structure. From the perspective that art wasn’t about making nice paintings for nice homes, it was to make room for as many people as possible to develop their creative abilities.”
Following a number of artistic experiments in the 1960s and 1970s, Nørgaard began to reflect more and more about the architecture around him. “When you are sitting in a room in an old house, there’s always a bay window. Or a corner is cut off for some reason. So the room isn’t straightforward at first glance. But when you enter a modern room, it is rectangular and very straightforward. And that means that the room doesn’t have an effect on you.”
Nørgaard applied his own architectural thoughts and principles at Bispebjergbakke – a residential area in Copenhagen that has received international attention. “The dream of Bispebjerg Hill was that it was to be built only by qualified craftsmen. In itself, it isn’t an image of a better world. But Bispebjerg Hill tries to understand how we can design and create houses where people live and breath optimally, so to speak.”
Finally, besides their social obligations, Nørgaard points out the sustainable responsibility of contemporary architecture: “Architects should insist that the lifespan of materials should determine their choice. If you build a house, the construction of it accounts for 70% of the CO2. That’s why lifespan is important to architecture. We have to think in the long term. Nature thinks in the long term.”
Professor, sculptor, and artist Bjørn Nørgaard (born in 1947) lives and works in Copenhagen, Berlin, and on the Danish island of Møn. He is part of the Experimental Art School Eks-Skolen. Professor at the Sculpture School at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen as well as at CNAA, China National Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing. Nørgaard has received numerous awards for his artistic praxis and has an endless number of national and international exhibitions behind him. In the spring of 2021, Munkeruphus opened an exhibition focusing exclusively on Nørgaards architectural thoughts: https://munkeruphus.dk/portfolio/bjoern-noergaard-huse-er-den-mest-udbredte-form-for-monumenter/. Nørgaards work is represented by Galleri Susanne Ottesen.
For this film, which is a collaboration between Munkeruphus and Louisiana Channel, Bjørn Nørgaard was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner in his studio on Møn in March 2021.
Camera and edit: Simon Weyhe
Music: Simon Dokkedal
Produced by: Line Kjær (Munkeruphus) and Marc-Christoph Wagner (Louisiana Channel)
© Munkeruphus & Louisiana Channel, 2021
The film has been supported by Beckett-Fonden. Louisiana Channel is supported by Den A.P. Møllerske Støttefond.
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