Anti-Academy, John Hansard Gallery, 21 November 2013-18 January 2014
Anti-Academy, Festival 200 Bulletin, 1969, photograph courtesy Museum Jorn.

Ex-School

From its 1961 beginning, Ex-School fostered collective authorship, process and experience. Many early works, large composites made collectively with house paint on Masonite, were routinely recycled. Converted into beds and furniture, little has survived. Students and teachers collaborated in city locations like libraries, car sales rooms and schools. Anonymously presented exhibits were occasionally themed, for example, the 1965 Car Exhibition.

Ex-School began with teaching workshops and lectures (with emphasis on the Russian avant-garde by founding member Troels Andersen) but quickly moved to a structure equating students and tutors as a collective entity. Progressively the group worked with printing, painting, happenings, film, sculpture and large-scale installation. The Print Office, a fully working offset print service installed by the group at Festival 200, Charlottenborg, was utilised by visiting artists and local activist groups to produce posters, bulletins and journals. Bjørn Nørgaard considered installing the service on a boat intended to travel the world, supplying free printing services. It still exists as a printmaking co-op in Copenhagen.

From 1970, the careers of core artists Poul Gernes, Per Kirkeby, Henning Christiansen, John Davidsen, Bjørn Nørgaard and Peter Louis-Jensen began to move in extremely different directions – from socially engaged practice to more conventional progressions within the art world. These trajectories of Ex-School are examined in a new film by Tom Chick and Alice Maude-Roxby in which key protagonists Nørgaard and Andersen reflect on the group’s legacies.

Exhibits

Poul Gernes
Untitled, Ex-School Car Exhibition, Poul Gernes, 1965, Three Cars, courtesy Ulrikka S. Gernes.

John Davidsen
Playmate’s Playboy of the Month / Mr. January, 1966. Photographs, scripts and newspaper clippings from John Davidsen archive, courtesy Staten Museum for Kunst.
Calendar, 1970 –71, black/white photographs printed on paper.

Per Kirkeby
Photomontage, Per Kirkeby, 1961–62, courtesy ARoS.
Per Kirkeby record covers, courtesy ARoS.
Per Kirkeby books, courtesy ARoS.

Festival 200
Prints, Bulletins, 1969, courtesy Bjørn Nørgaard.
Communal showers, Festival 200, 1969, photographs reprinted courtesy Museum Jorn.
Festival 200 Bulletin, 1969, photograph courtesy Museum Jorn.

Bjørn Nørgaard
Issues of Haetsj, posters for ABCinema, Festival 200 bulletins and posters, courtesy Bjørn Nørgaard.

Henning Christiansen
Psychological Constructions 111, 1964, courtesy of Rene Block and Henning Christiansen Archive.
4 Objectives/Opus 30, 1963, courtesy of Rene Block and Henning Christiansen Archive.
Informations, 1965, courtesy of Rene Block and Henning Christiansen Archive.
Modeller, 1964–1967, courtesy of Rene Block and Henning Christiansen Archive.

Ex-School Film, conversation between Troels Andersen and Bjørn Nørgaard, by Tom Chick and Alice Maude-Roxby. Video 55 min.
Enlargements of photographs, posters and texts courtesy of Museum Jorn, Troels Andersen, by Robert Nielsen, Egon Engmann (scanpix) and courtesy of Ulrikka S. Gernes and Poul Gernes Estate.

Above: Festival 200 Bulletin, detail, 1969, photograph courtesy Museum Jorn.
Untitled, Ex-School Car Exhibition, Poul Gernes, 1965, Three Cars, courtesy Ulrikka S. Gernes.
Untitled, Ex-School Car Exhibition, Poul Gernes, 1965, Three Cars, courtesy Ulrikka S. Gernes.
Communal showers, Festival 200, 1969, photographs reprinted courtesy Museum Jorn.
Communal showers, Festival 200, 1969, photographs reprinted courtesy Museum Jorn.
Photomontage, Per Kirkeby, 1961–62, courtesy ARoS.
Photomontage, Per Kirkeby, 1961–62, courtesy ARoS.
Enlargements of photographs, posters and texts courtesy of Museum Jorn, Troels Andersen, by Robert Nielsen, Egon Engmann (scanpix) and courtesy of Ulrikka S. Gernes and Poul Gernes Estate.
Enlargements of photographs, posters and texts courtesy of Museum Jorn, Troels Andersen, by Robert Nielsen, Egon Engmann (scanpix) and courtesy of Ulrikka S. Gernes and Poul Gernes Estate.