After Ib Braase
10 Apr – 02 May 2015
Ib Braase (1923-2009) always preferred to exhibit his sculptures in constellations, in open systems, foregrounding the movements and shifts from one work to the other. His work production begins figuratively with portrait busts and reliefs of family members carved in stone. Later at the academy of fine arts Braase becomes assistant to Astrid Noack and his works gradually move in a more abstract direction. In the beginning of the 1960’s Braase learns bronze casting and what follows is a series of sculptures based on the sprues used in the casting process, works that radically deconstruct the sculptural object’s volume and mass. The next turning point in Braase’s work takes place when he moves to Marcoussis, a suburb outside Paris, in 1968. In these years he starts to make multi-part works such as Barneværelset (Child’s room) and Harlekins værelse (Harlequin’s room), articulating a shift from isolated objects to open spatial constructions made of iron, bronze, wood, paint, and fragments of earlier sculptures.
These fragmented open constructions not only signify a way of going further with the deconstruction initiated in the bronze works. Braase also conceives them in a more existential way, as rooms or spaces for being, often in close relation to family and friends: Min lillesøsters værelse (My little sister’s room), Min fars værksted (My father’s workshop), Fra Johannes værelse (From Johannes’ room). The spaces in these works are both constructive and narrative, they radiate time, process and memory. The materials used – iron rods, aluminium profiles, cement, boards – are building materials, relating the sculptures to the aesthetics of the construction site and the physical beginnings of architecture. The constructions are mostly made at the scale of a child and with a focus on the transition between work and floor. They have an anti-authoritative, wild and makeshift energy, but also a precision and necessity of their own. In the ’80s fragments of text begin to enter the works in the form of words painted on boards, carved in marble or scratched onto metal plates. This kind of text-sculpture hybrid is summed-up in the sculpture Plankeværket (The picket fence), a large wall construction where words and signs are translated in paint, stone, bronze and cement.
In Braase’s late works spaces are constructed around figures acting as pivotal points in Braase’s own life and project: Astrid Noack, Axel Jørgensen, Bertel Thorvaldsen, Francisco Goya, Asta Nielsen, Ragna Braase. The figures are allegorically present either as work titles, as written names inside the sculptures or more implicitly in the form of objects or signs. It’s possible to draw a line from these figures back to Braase’s early carved portraits of his family, but they also have a reference to a common cultural space and history. More generally there is in Braase’s works always a juxtaposition of the personal and the anonymous or commonplace. The open constructive format established after 1968 implies that the surrounding empty space literally becomes part of the work’s form. Sculpture becomes a surrounding, something you can be part of with your own body. When looking at one of Braase’s sculptures you also automatically look through it, which means becoming aware of other sculptures standing next to it, mixing into the experience. Braase rearticulates the medium of sculpture from closed specific objects into a sculptural field of lines, narratives and becomings.
In “After Ib Braase” we present a wide and inclusive selection of Ib Braase’s collected works from 1949 to 1993, in continuation of this field- and network-aesthetic which Braase through his works helped to establish for a new generation of artists.
Ib Braase was born in Stege, Møn in 1923 and since 1968 he lived and worked in Marcoussis, Paris. He died in 2009. Important solo exhibitions include Aarhus Kunstbygning (1983), Vestsjællands Kunstmuseum (1985), Museet for Samtidskunst, Roskilde (1993) and Den Frie Udstillingsbygning (2005). In 1980 Braase received the Danish Art Foundation’s Life Time Grant. Among other awards are the Eckersberg Medal (1968), Carl Nielsen and Anne Marie Carl Nielsen’s Grant (1976), and Thorvaldsen’s Medal (1980).