National Gallery of Denmark Opens Woodcuts from Durer to Tal R

The National Gallery of Denmark presents Woodcuts from Durer to Tal R, on view 6 April – 4 September 2011.

While the world is experiencing an ever-increasing influx of new media, the Royal Collection of Graphic Art directs attention to one of the oldest mediums around. A medium, moreover, which remains very much alive and continues to attract the attention of the most innovative strata of contemporary art.

The exhibition addresses the development of woodcut from medieval times to the present day. It does not, however, present the full chronology of woodcut; rather, it places special emphasis on those periods where woodcut played a prominent part among the vanguard of art. The first period dates back to the late 15th cen-tury where woodcut began to move away from the simple, plane-oriented idioms of the Middle Ages towards the more three-dimensional and highly complex mo-tifs of the Renaissance. After the 16th century developments within woodcut ground to a halt, prompting the exhibition to jump ahead in time to the 19th century, which yet again saw major developments within the technique: A variant of woodcut – wood engraving – is invented, and early Modernists adopt woodcut and take it in new, groundbreaking directions. The exhibition unfolds those two periods before our eyes, using them as a springboard to point ahead to an artist who represents the woodcut of our own time: Tal R.

The underlying premise of the exhibition is unconventional in the sense that it highlights the medium itself rather than specific artists or themes from art history. It reveals the many functions served by woodcut through the ages. In addition to many works that were conceived as works of art from the very outset, the exhibition also shows examples of woodcuts intended for propaganda, book illustrations, documentation, and wallpapers. At the same time, the exhibitions places as much emphasis on technique and process as on the final work. From Holbein’s delicate, painstakingly accurate lines on tiny sheets measuring only 4 cm² to Titian’s simpler, more expressive idiom that could expand for yards. With this approach, the exhibition aims to provide an experience that is rooted in the work, showcasing woodcut’s formal potential and endless scope.

Exhibitions staged by the Royal Collection of Graphic Art are supported by Oak Foundation Denmark

Image: Albrecht Dürer (1471 – 1528), The Trinity. The Royal Collection of Graphic Art, 1511, 389 x 282 mm.

National Gallery of Denmark
Statens Museum for Kunst
Sølvgade 48-50
DK-1307 København K
Phone +45 3374 8494
Fax +45 3374 8404
Email [email protected]

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