Jørgen Haugen Sørensen (born 3 October 1934, Copenhagen) is one of Denmark’s most eminent sculptors. He has spent most of his working life abroad, mainly in France and Italy, developing a style which is far removed from those of his Danish contemporaries. He has received several important distinctions for his works through the years, such as the Eckerberg Medal in 1969 and the Thorvaldsen Medal in 1979. Jørgen Haugen Sørensen is a member of the artistic union Decembristerne and Grønningen, as well as Veksølund in Denmark.
The sculptures of Jørgen Haugen Sørensen are placed all around the world, and his work continues to be of importance today.
As a child, together with his brother Arne, Haugen Sørensen began to draw and later to model. When he was 15, he trained as a plasterer and potter and then attended the Design School in Copenhagen. As a sculptor, however, he was self-taught.
After his debut at Charlottenborg’s spring exhibition in 1951, he rapidly gained a reputation as a sculptor who crafted works of the human body and of animals with intense expressiveness and realism. His scenes of butchery became central to his work. At the end of the 1950s during a stay on the island of Bornholm, he entered a more abstract phase, experimenting with tiled pipes and other ceramic products, although he maintained elements of the body and other recognizable phenomena. During the dramatic years of the Algerian war, he settled in Paris creating figurative sculptures in bronze from 1959 to 1963. They depict scarred, torn organic forms reflecting a reality of cruelty, fear and sexuality. He has travelled widely to Italy, Germany, Spain and Yugoslavia, developing a style which was far removed from Danish culture. At the end of the 1960s, he often completed compositions made up of several smaller sculptures, sometimes using materials such as plastic or textiles, occasionally borrowing elements from other sculptors. After an interruption at the end of the 1960s when he turned to films, he returned to sculpture making use of marble, often combining different colours and finishes, as can be seen in his decorative work outside the School of Journalism in Aarhus. Other important works include the geometrical Huset der slikker solskin (The House which Licks Sunshine, 1980) for the Danish Institute in Rome, Dumhedens store flod (Stupidity’s Great River, 1995) in Ribe, and Sorg (Sorrow, 1990) for the French University in Istanbul. His later work cften consists of large angular shapes with rough surfaces as his three sculptures for the University of Lund (1994) and his 7 meters tall Colossus at the Amager Beach Park in Copenhagen.
Haugen Sørensen’s works present his views of the human condition in his own, often brutal style. His reservations about the Academy’s approach are evident in his oeuvre’s glaring contrast to the generally theoretical approach of his contemporaries. Free of attachment to any given idiom, Haugen Sørensen channels his creative talents to depicting his own outlook on life, capturing the basic themes of life and death, love and suffering as the focal points of his sculpture, whether working with clay, plaster, fabric, terracotta, bronze, marble or granite.
Selected public works
De Kantede Bær´ Og De Glatte Glider, Copenhagen; Industriel Rejsning, The Olympic Park, Seoul, Korea; Tashankara Sakarya Cad, Ankara, Turkey; Huset Der Regner, Copenhagen, Denmark; Kolossen, Amager New Carlsberg Foundation for Tårnby Municipality; Supplement til Titlens afskaffelse, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, England; Justitio og vidnerne, Copenhagen City Court, Courthouse, Denmark
Selected solo exhibitions
2014 Justitio og vidnerne, Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark
2011 Jørgen Haugen Sørensen in Cisternerne, Cisternerne, Copenhagen, Denmark
2011 In dialogue with Norbert Tadeusz, Bornholm Art Museum, Denmark
2007 While we wait, Sculpture Street, National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark
2004 That’s why they call them dogs, Felleshuset der Nordischen Botschaften, Berlin, Germany
2002 Jørgen Haugen Sørensen, Vigeland-Museet, Oslo, Norway
2000 Jeg Mener Jeg Ser Retrospektiv, KunstCentret Silkeborg Bad, Silkeborg og Sophienholm, Copenhagen, Denmark
1993 Retrospektiv Yorkshire Sculpture Park, England, Silent Witness Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca; Museo de Xalapa, Mexico.
1992 Retrospektiv Charlottenborg s.m. Carl Henning Petersen, Copenhagen, Denmark
1991 Halkbank Sanart Galerisi, Ankara, Turkey
1983 San José Museum of Art, California, US
1982 Charles Cowles Gallery, New York, US
1980 Jørgen Haugen Sørensen på Ny Carlsberg Glyptoteket, Glyptoteket, Copenhagen, Denmark.
1976 Jørgen Haugen Sørensen, Sonja Henies og Niels Onstads Stiftelser, Høvikodden, Norway
1975 Louisiana, Museum of Modern Art, m. Giovanni Meloni, Humlebæk, Denmark
1964 Fire Billedhuggere, Louisiana, Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark
1963 Galerie Ariel, Paris, France
1961 Galleria del Naviglio, Milano, Italy
1960 Galerie Børge Birch, Copenhagen, Denmark
Selected group exhibitions
1980 XI International Sculpture Conference Washington DC, US
1979 15 Biennale Middelheim Sculpture Park, Antwerpen, Belgium
1966 Jeune Sculpture Musée Rodin, 1966, 1969, Paris, France
1961 The Pittsburgh International Exhibition of Contemporary Painting and Sculpture Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US
1959 Youth Biennial, Paris 1959 and 1963, Wins the jury award in 1963 and 1965
1958 The Biennial in Venice, Italy