Per Kirkeby studied for a degree in geology and, curiously, that choice of subject had to do with his interest in art, in particular the relation between art and nature. Moreover, the discipline, which has left a deep mark on his work, enabled him to go through a personal artistic training which sprang from a rejection of academicism. It was that very rejection of academic art education that led him to take part in the Experimental Art School in Copenhagen from 1962. The product of an intense relation with Joseph Beuys and Jörg Immendorf in Düsseldorf and with the Fluxus group, the school was a kind of work community made up of a group of artists who exhibited together and were opposed to the idea of the author and the art business. In the mid seventies, Kirkeby left the group and launched his own career in Germany with his first individual exhibition in 1977. In 1982 he took part in Documenta in Kassel. Since then his work has been linked with the German neo-Expressionism of Georg Baselitz, Jörg Immendorf and A. R. Penck, which brought him international recognition, coinciding with the renaissance of painting in the eighties. In spite of that, his work is not confined to a pictorial language: he has published books of photographs and poems and has made films and architectural sculptures.
David G. Torres