Carl Emil Jacobsen Patrick Parrish Gallery

This Danish Sculptor Turns Bricks and Stones Into Glorious Pastel Pigments

We’ve often talked on this site about how the work of Danish sculptor Carl Emil Jacobsen fits into a larger trend of what’s happening in design and art right now. But we’ve never actually talked about what makes Jacobsen’s work so great on its own merits. Luckily, a Design Week exhibition at Patrick Parrish Gallery, curated by Henriette Noermark, gave us the opportunity to dig deep: Called “Don’t Know What Shape I’m In,” the show features riffs on Jacobsen’s Powder Variations series, for which Jacobsen sculpts works in fiber-reinforced concrete, and then colors them with pigments he’s created using crushed, Danish-sourced bricks, tiles, and stones, creating a palette of deep terracotta, chalky yellow, burned eggplant, and more. “For this exhibition, I decided we needed something new to compliment those shapes and colors,” explains Noermark, “and when visiting his studio in the countryside of Jutland in Denmark, I saw all these amazing tests and fragments of something he was trying out, a new raw material that could be made in the same, if not more, experimental, intuitive manner as with the powder forms — steel.” For the metal works in the exhibition, Jacobsen cuts and reassembles pieces of metal that have been burned in a fire to deepen their prunelike color. A seriously beautiful new body of work, on view in New York until June 24.


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