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06 · 02 · 2018

John Kørner: Running Problems

25th March, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens opens its doors for the first solo exhibition in Belgium of Danish artist John Kørner.


John Kørner (born 1967, Aarhus, Denmark, lives and works in Copenhagen) who approaches both painting and installation in an unexpected way, is one of the most prominent contemporary artists in Denmark.


Running Problems is the first museum exhibition of the artist in Belgium and creates an integrated environment of movement, sport, propaganda and art. Kørner assesses the role of sport in our society as a social phenomenon that impacts both the economy as well as the body and gender politics. For Kørner, sport with its visual language, colour and codes is both influential and aesthetic. He appropriates the language of sport and thus creates paintings or installations that entertain and challenge the viewer at the same time, such as an anti-terrorist roadblock transformed into an obstacle course or a drinking bar converted into a climbing frame.


In Kørner’s work, ‘problems’ represent the inconvenient and the difficult – ranging from trivial, individual problems to philosophical concerns and larger social and political issues. He concentrates on subjects that seem problematic, elaborated or simple, but transforms these into a more easily varied poetic language.


“I have created a number of sculptural works that are about sports, about its aesthetics and consequences. The billiard table has always had an aesthetic appeal to me, the balls, the tree, the fabric. People flock about a pool table. It’s a huge social gathering point. At the same time, billiard is an unpredictable game where each shot can shoot the balls in new directions. The immediate arbitrariness that lies in the movements of the beads can be regarded as an organic environment that I saw over stacking something very dramatic, the World Trade Center from New York. The place for the most iconic terrorist attack in world history, which, as a carefully organized game, was implemented in 2001, with dire, immediate and future consequences.” – John Kørner (johnkø “Altid mange problemer”, Charlottenborg Kunsthal 2017)


John Kørner studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. Since 2006 – with a special lightness of touch, humor or poetry – the artist uses various media to address various contemporary ‘problems’. Kørner takes a critical stance towards the often sensational rendering of ‘problems’ in the media, such as newspapers, advertising and television.


The series of paintings, War Problems (2008), relating to the presence of the Danish army during the Afghanistan war, gave Kørner international recognition. The interest in his work grew even more following the exhibition Women for Sale (2011) at The Workers’ Museum in Copenhagen. In the summer of 2017, Altid Mange Problemer (“Always A Lot of Problems”), his largest solo exhibition to date, took place in Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen. At the EMMA, Helsinki (14/2 – 29/7/2018), a new large-scale installation Tripoli – Lampedusa, which takes the global refugee crisis as its subject, is currently on display.