FREEDOM AND ENGAGEMENT
‘Liberation’ and ‘freedom’ were important terms in CoBrA’s vocabulary. The new form of art advocated by artists was intended to go beyond liberating artists from academic rules; it would also release the human spirit from its passive state. This section of the exhibition includes work where unrestrained, almost childlike spontaneity has been a source of inspiration. Erik Van Lieshout is showing his video installation ‘The Island’ (2016). It is an account of the several months the artist spent on an island in a lake near Dortmund, where he passed most of his time in self-imposed isolation. The attitude and the temporary structures which Van Lieshout made on the island evoke memories about the work of CoBrA member Henry Heerup, an artist who deliberately presented himself in the ironic role of a naive fool, with bare torso and pointy elf hat. The work of Jonas Ohlsson, another contemporary artist in this section, is rooted in social and political engagement, and his interest in the relationship between popular culture and building communities. The exhibition includes results of a recent residency at the European Ceramic Work Center, where he produced a series of experimental ceramics which reflect his intuitive and direct way of working in this slow medium.