Cobra Museum voor moderne kunst, Museum of modern art


current exhibitions



100 Years Asger Jorn
28 September 2014-18 January 2015

Traces - 100 Years Asger Jorn marks the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Asger Jorn (1914-1973), with work by Jorn and selected works by his contemporaries. The exhibition also includes Baked Patatoes, a 2006 installation by Jacqueline de Jong for the garden of Jorn's home in Albissola, Italy. Traces - 100 Years Asger Jorn includes two partial exhibitions: Asger Jorn - The Secret of Art, a unique gift from the Otto van de Loo family of some 150 works on paper, and A Way of Making, a new project by contemporary artists Frederique Bergholtz and Maria Pask.

Asger Jorn is known as one of the founders of Cobra (1948-1951), the International Situationists (1957-1972) and other groups, and worked in a wide variety of media. He also wrote 25 books and hundreds of articles, envisioning nothing short of a ‘reconsideration of the philosophical system’. Jorn successfully brought his diverse interests together in an organic way, in a comprehensive theory about art and life, based on a very explicit idea of the role of the artist in society. In short, Asger Jorn left a legacy of artworks, writings, a way of thinking and an attitude that continue to be an inspiration for today's artists and thinkers.

Traces - 100 Years Asger Jorn is an eclectic exhibition. In a non-hierarchical presentation, paintings, prints, drawings, musical experiments and ceramics from his hand can be seen alongside documentation and publications. Known to those in the field as an indispensable link in the avant-garde art of the 20th century, Asger Jorn, thanks to his agile, associative spirit and his versatility, was a fantastic example of an artist who can be endlessly discovered and rediscovered. Also through the eyes of other artists like Jacqueline de Jong who’s work ‘Baked Patatoes’, which she made in 2006 at Jorns Albissola residency, can be seen. Visitors are invited to follow the tracks of Traces to two other exhibitions at the museum that mark the 100th birthyear of Asger Jorn.


Frederique Bergholtz and Maria Pask

With Asger Jorn's wide-ranging creative practice as their point of reference, artist Maria Pask and curator Frederique Bergholtz developed a new project, A Way of Making, especially for the Cobra Museum. It continues their collaborative work begun in 2013, with ceramics as the principle material. They now present a new installation with ceramic elements, new video work and a photographic archive of ceramic objects from different periods of time and geographical regions. The work is inspired by the organic way that Asger Jorn engaged with artistic practice, theory and history. On the invitation of the Cobra Museum, Maria Pask visited Asger Jorn's restored ceramics studio in Albissola, Italy.

Recurring working methods and subject matter from the practice of Bergholtz and Pask are also evident, including a focus on the relation between society and the human body and exceptional forms of collaborative creative endeavour.

A Way of Making is part of the Cobra Open Collection Programme and has been made possible by the Mondriaan Fund, Prince Bernhard Culture Fund/P.M. de Klerk Ceramics Fund and the Stokroos Foundation. With special thanks to the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam, and Bastienne Kramer of the Department of Ceramics and Linda van Deursen, Floor Koomen and Sabo Day of the Department of Graphic Design. Additional thanks to Joop Schot of Art Broker Design in Eindhoven.


Donation of 150 works by Asger Jorn

“The secret of art consists in the simple fact that it is more blessed to give than to take, but also that this blessedness is dependent upon voluntary giving, so that what is given is felt as a surplus, a wealth, not a duty.”. Asger Jorn, Value and Economy (1959)

The Cobra Museum of Modern Art has recently received a beautiful and extensive donation from Otto van der Loo and family. It is now on view in its entirety for the first time. This generous gift includes, amongst others, a number of the first colour etchings that Jorn completed in 1958, as well as the complete Schweizer Suite series (1954) and several dynamic woodcuts, in which Jorn subtly and sometimes also humorously played with the grain of the wood, which ran in different directions.

About Das offene Versteck, from 1970, one of the works from the Van der Loo donation, Rudi Fuchs wrote, ‘The colourful thicket in the print by Jorn is as askew as the motion of his hand. Tomorrow it can be different. Art dazzlingly keeps beavering away.’


Michelangelo Pistoletto
Autoritratto con occhiali gialli 1973
Zofia Kulik
Self Magnificence IIIb 1997
Rene Daniels
Komeet 1979
Sven Kroner
Lech 2005



Collecting Art at ING
From September 13 on

Het Cobra Museum and ING Art Management have made an exciting and extensive selection from the works in their international collections. More than 50 works show the new face of 40 years of collecting art, including Michelangelo Pistoletto, Ossip Zadkine, Iris van Dongen, Ad Dekker, Piet Mondriaan, Ossip Zadkine, Pyke Koch, Richard Deacon, Carel Willink, Cristian Boltanski, René Daniëls, Roni Horn, Jessica Diamond, Michael Raedecker and many more.

One work deserving special note is the triptych by Jaap Hillenius (1934-1999). This work was specially commissioned in 1987 for the iconic ING headquarters building in Southeast Amsterdam. The architecture was even adapted to give the work the best possible light. This work is now on public view for the first time.



Works from the collection of the Cobra Museum of Modern Art

The CoBrA artists, many of whom had left-wing political leanings following the isolation and divisions inflicted by the war, wanted to create a new form of art that transcended national borders and could assume a central place in society. Cobra artists wanted to produce art that could be understood by everyone, that would speak directly to the individual. To achieve this, they sought to get as close as possible to the underlying core of what it meant to be human. They sought ‘authenticity’, and found something closer to that authenticity in the artistic expressions of children, folk culture and in non-Western societies. In practice, this meant experimenting with ‘a new, spontaneous painterly expression’. In this way, Cobra artists investigated the relationships between drawing, writing and painting. They strove to liberate colour from form. Some of the artists associated with Cobra, including Karel Appel and Asger Jorn, had specific periods when abstraction played a larger role in their work, but there were also artists associated with Cobra who had always leaned more strongly towards abstraction, such as Eugène Brands, Anton Rooskens, Theo Wolvecamp and the Danish artist, Erik Ortvad. It is this field of tension between figuration and abstraction that is central in this presentation with works from the collection of the Cobra Museum of Modern Art

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