Museum Folkwang
Vermisst die Welt
  • Per Kirkeby
  • Vermisst die Welt, 1997

  • Missing the World
  • Oil on canvas
  • 300 x 502 cm
  • Acquired in 1999 with the support of the Eugen-und-Agnes-von-Waldthausen-Platzhoff-Museums-Stiftung
  • Inv. G 547
  • CommentaryA broad, sweeping landscape in earthy and sunny tones opens up in the picture. The paint’s strongly sensual presence extends far into the real and towards the viewer. Hatching drawn as if with a quill creates levels and fields over which light and shadow seem to brush. Compact color blocks alternate with fraying structures. The colorist asymmetry of the subtly mixed paints and an almost geological stratification in the construction of the image of clearly distinguishable fields may recall ideas of an ordered cosmos. However, in his paintings, Kirkeby often takes as theme the exact opposite; the uncultivated, impenetrable and mysterious in nature.
    Kirkeby’s painting can be interpreted directly if you know that a small copperplate engraving from the workshop of Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506) doubtless served as inspiration. This printwork repeats the composition of a descent from the cross which Mantegna had painted for the predella of an alter in 1459. In Mantegna’s works, structures of stones and cliffs – their crevasses and terrace-like stratification, their eroded surfaces and rich colors – are depicted in great detail. Per Kirkeby, a trained geologist had a reproduction of this engraving in his studio at the time this painting was made.
    The title of the painting ›The Missing World‹, suggesting existential loss, is also a play on the German verb ›vermessen‹ (measure) in the sense of cartographic methodology.
  • Provenance1999, Galerie Michael Werner, Köln
    1999, Museum Folkwang, Essen
  • Obj_Id: 3,353
  • Obj_Internet_S: ja
  • Obj_Ownership_S (Verantw):Painting, Sculpture, Media Art
  • Obj_SpareNField01_N (Verantw): 187
  • Obj_Creditline_S: Gemäldesammlung
  • Obj_Title1_S: Vermisst die Welt
  • Obj_Title2_S: Missing the World
  • Obj_PartDescription_S (Titelerg):
  • Obj_SpareMField01_M (Alle Titel): Vermisst die Welt Missing the World Vermisst die Welt
  • Obj_Dating_S: 1997
  • Jahr von: 1,997
  • Jahr bis: 1,997
  • Obj_IdentNr_S: G 547
  • Obj_IdentNrSort_S: G 0547
  • Obj_Classification_S (Objtyp): Painting
  • Obj_Crate_S: 300 x 502 cm
  • Obj_Material_S: Oil on canvas
  • Obj_Technique_S:
  • Obj_SpareSField01_S (Mat./Tech.): Oil on canvas
  • Obj_AccNote_S (Erwerb): Acquired in 1999 with the support of the Eugen-und-Agnes-von-Waldthausen-Platzhoff-Museums-Stiftung
  • Obj_PermanentLocation_S (Standort):
  • Obj_Condition1_S (Druckerei):
  • Obj_Condition2_S (Auflage):
  • Obj_Subtype_S (Genre):
  • Obj_Rights_S: © Per Kirkeby, Galerie Michael Werner Märkisch Wilmersorf, Köln & New York
Commentary
Artists
Provenance

A broad, sweeping landscape in earthy and sunny tones opens up in the picture. The paint’s strongly sensual presence extends far into the real and towards the viewer. Hatching drawn as if with a quill creates levels and fields over which light and shadow seem to brush. Compact color blocks alternate with fraying structures. The colorist asymmetry of the subtly mixed paints and an almost geological stratification in the construction of the image of clearly distinguishable fields may recall ideas of an ordered cosmos. However, in his paintings, Kirkeby often takes as theme the exact opposite; the uncultivated, impenetrable and mysterious in nature.
Kirkeby’s painting can be interpreted directly if you know that a small copperplate engraving from the workshop of Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506) doubtless served as inspiration. This printwork repeats the composition of a descent from the cross which Mantegna had painted for the predella of an alter in 1459. In Mantegna’s works, structures of stones and cliffs – their crevasses and terrace-like stratification, their eroded surfaces and rich colors – are depicted in great detail. Per Kirkeby, a trained geologist had a reproduction of this engraving in his studio at the time this painting was made.
The title of the painting ›The Missing World‹, suggesting existential loss, is also a play on the German verb ›vermessen‹ (measure) in the sense of cartographic methodology.