Copenhagen 1921, Copenhagen 1988
Mogens Balle was born as Mogens Erik Schack Balle in Copenhagen on the 1st of April, 1921. He was active as a painter and writer. He was first trained as an architect, but he discontinued this course because he wanted to engage with visual arts. His first works are naturalistic. From 1945, this changed when he switched to abstract painting. Common motifs in his oeuvre are mythical and fantasy creatures. A year later, in 1946, he traveled to Paris and it is here where he came into contact with artists who similarly worked in an expressive and spontaneous way. Balle was co-founder of the Danish artist union Spirals (1947). Countryman and artist Asger Jorn (1914-1973), also a member of the aforementioned union is the very reason why Balle came in contact with the members of the CoBrA movement in 1949. Balle’s work was, along with that of Karel Appel (1921-2006), Corneille (1922-2010), Asger Jorn and Egill Jacobsen (1910-1998), exhibited in Paris, but not during the CoBrA exhibitions in Amsterdam (1949) and Liege (1951). After the disintegration of the CoBrA group, the works of Balle became more spontaneous and abstract. It can be argued that after his period with CoBrA, Balle’s unrestrained manner of painting became fully developed. As from the 50’s, next to paintings, he created several peinture-mots (word paintings). He this did with former CoBrA member Christian Dotremont (1922-1979). With peinture-mots, words and pictures are merged together as one whole in a single work. As from the 60’s Balle began to manufacture bronze fantasy figures.