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History behind
I am in Paradize
Curators statement

Artist participation in Socle du Monde
The Socle du Monde Biennal poses brand new perspectives for art and for the corporate world. With Socle du Monde a laboratory is created, which examines the relationship between art and the corporate world under total artistic freedom. The demand for a high artistic level is paramount.

The Socle du Monde Biennal’s strength in international connection is the project’s strong physical and mental anchoring in the rich traditions of the Herning area. Socle du Monde is the first biennal of its kind in Denmark. The project focuses on the exchange between art end the corporate world and is the most significant international art event in the region.

The history behind
Cooperation between art and the corporate world is a construction that has a special history in Herning. Therefore Herning has the right preconditions to take on the task as a permanent tradition every other year to bring together businesses and artists in the creation of art.

The former Director of the Angli factory, Aage Damgaard, produced shirts on the premises that is now Herning Kunstmuseum. In the shirt factory he created the model for cooperation between corporate businesses and artists which is the historic foundation for Socle du Monde. In the factory worked artists like Piero Manzoni, Robert Jacobsen, Sven Dalsgaard, Svend Wiig Hansen and Paul Gadegaard.

"I am in Paradize"
In the summer 1960 Manzoni arrived for the first time in "paradise". He came from an exhibition i Copenhagen at Addi Köpcke’s gallery. Aage Damgaard’s cooperation with Piero Manzoni, became a local initiative that got national and international attention and significance. The duo’s projects resulted a.o. in Piero Manzonis largest and most renowned of his in all 46 works in Herning Kunstmuseum; Socle du Monde.

Socle du Monde, the base of the earth, was made by Manzoni for Herning during his second visit in the city in 1961. The base refers symbolically –and with a sense of humor –to Herning as”the cultural base of the world”. It refers to the entire world as an art work and is the most global of Manzonis authentication projects. The base-name also refers to the ambition to let Herning’s element of solidity; the corporate world and the industry, support and promote the uncontrolled, wild and imaginative; the art and the culture. Manzoni’s Socle du Monde has in this way contributed to the Herning-citizens’ sense of self.

In Socle du Monde we wish to pair up artists and corporate businesses. Let them conclude in a ground breaking cooperation from which the result is unpredictable and normative for both the art and the corporate world. It could be said that the secondary and inevitable outcome of the cooperation will be a revealing of the very process that is the idea and conceptual backbone of Socle du Mondes.

The corporate world and the Arts has made many alliances through the course of history. The most famous of the character is found in the Renaissance cooperation between church and the arts. One can in a sense claim that Socle du Monde, in the same way as previous alliances, aims at promoting an ideology, a philosophy or a world view. We just do not know what?

In the 20th century examples are numerous but during the 1920s and again in the 1960s, at times when the ideological-related criticism of capitalism peaked, the relationship between art and industry deepened.

El Lizzitskys work for Pelikan in the 1920s was remarkable because communist ideology and industry was brought together. Where Lissitsky created the design and layout of marketing of Pelikan, Piero Manzoni was employed by Aage Damgaard in Herning with full artistic freedom. Manzoni let the Herning area’s local tradition of production of wool and cotton products fertilize many of his works.

In 1969 Øyvind Fahlstrøm was invited to produce works with local businesses in Los Angeles for the exhibition Art and Technology. Pop, minimalism and conceptual art had different and related relatiosships to the business world and production facilities. In contemporary art, there is nothing particularly qualitative or odios, much less sensational, in this form of cooperation. It takes place and will take place after the needs and opportunities.

Socle du Monde is as such a local expansion, formalization and systematization of a cooperation, which is already happening globally. A collaboration which in its simplest form,is concerned with the coexisting of art and corporate world and with producing in a commom space, on shared technical grounds.

The Socle du Monde Biennale’s strenght in global connection is the project’s strong physical and mental anchoring born out of the rich traditions of the Herning area – and in the decision to let the process happen in this local space. Herein lies the possibility for a concentration and intensification of the process that for a short moment will let the planet rest on a single, peripheral point.

Curators statement - Socle du Monde 2008

The historical starting point
The Biennial Socle du Monde takes its source in a specific and unique local history with broad international perspective. In Herning - back in 1961 - Piero Manzoni creates a work that has since become canonised in European art history. The work consists of a simple grip, placing a small base on the earth's surface and to appoint the planet to a great work of art. The work bears the title 'Socle du Monde, socle magic n. 3 de Piero Manzoni, 1961, hommage á Galileo'.

Art as magic
The sculpture Socle du Monde makes the whole world into a work of art. The sculpture transforms with great metaphorical force all creatures, all animals, all people in all at once to be seen as art. Once and for all, a total unity of thought as well as in the territory is created. A borderless all with infinite great relativity. The work’s acquiring of world phenomena, is a highly transformative act that is more about the act itself and the energy in it than the inherent force of the things.The simplicity  of the material emphasizes the artist's visionary transformation force. Pure alchemy.

Socle du Monde is a work that deals with the potential of the imgination. The sculpture indicates a dizzying perspective on life. The small base will only truly live when the mind travelles out into space and imagines the planet itself as a great work of art resting on the empty space. Manzonis project is the mirror in the artist Marcel Duchamp's statement that 'everything is art' including the universe. Earth may, by extension, be seen as a big 'object truvée' ( found object) in the tradition of Duchamp. The appointment of something as art and not the actual execution is at the center.

Manzonis focus on the very definition of art and how something becomes art means that he begins to work with the base as a form - that is, the sculpture’s or art’s base. Manzonis magic bases are 'tools' with which everything becomes art.

They invited artists - Magic, seduction, identity and storytelling.
The Socle du Monde sculpture’s generous proposal that all potentially is art, gives undreamed-of possibilities for the participating artists, working under total artistic freedom, to cooperate with the participating businesses to create entirely new works.

They invited artists to Socle du Monde Biennial in 2008 share the conceptual basis of Piero Manzoni. In different ways, they have worked with the art concept itself and our ideas about the world: About our perception of the world and the stories we surround ourselves with in order to understand it and ourselves. About the seduction and magic of Art.

It is a selection of Danish artists, which encompasses wide. The artists, many of them with a great international career, work with many different issues and in many media, both more traditional media like painting, sculpture, ceramics, drawing but also newer media such as installation, photography and video. All artists are part of an international trend, where nationality ultimately plays a very small role. They are all working in different ways with the question of how something becomes art, including how art can help change our view of the world.

Work Nature today has become significantly performativ and inconstant. A characteristic of many of the invited artists is the intention of engaging in connection with the world, preferably via a direct activation of the beholder. We will be invited to participate in the art in more or less literal sense, and thus becomes co-creaters of the work's meaning.

The art has always been and remains the place in our society, which offers a lung. The art makes it possible to exceed limits and achieve new recognition - to experience those magic moments that tear us out of everyday monotony.

By Stinna Toft, curator


  Socle du Monde . Birk Centerpark 3 . 7400 Herning