Groth and Laursens collection

06. Nov 2015 - 21. Feb 2016

The exhibition Intimate and Monumental gives insight into the private collection of Jan Groth (b. 1938) and Steingrim Laursen (1931–2007). Groth is an artist – Laursen was the director of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark. The Groth and Laursen Collection has come into being ‘along the way’. It reflects two people, their mutual interests, respective lives and careers. It does not consist of large or monumentally-sized objects but rather of things that are more introverted, intimate and tactile. It also includes works related to formal and media-specific inquiry.

This is a collection with an extraordinary scope. Here we find works by world-famous artists such as Robert Morris, Tony Smith and Robert Rauschenberg as well as Scandinavians such as Asger Jorn, Sonja Ferlov Mancoba and Edvard Munch. There are also objects from cultures throughout the world, for instance from the Dogon and Bamana cultures in Mali, Iran, Japan, Korea, the Indus culture in Pakistan, India, Egypt and Indigenous America, to name a few. As of today, the collection contains 650 works. Of these, about 250 are ethnographic objects while the remaining 400 objects are works of art by more than 100 named artists.

The Groth and Laursen Collection can be characterized as an artist’s collection and testifies to a sure and alternative gaze. At the same time, it shows how the meaning and function of objects can change according to their contexts. In the exhibition, we focus on the connection between art and what traditionally have been described as ethnographic objects – a connection seen most clearly in the works Groth and Laursen acquired early on, as well as in works relating to part of the 1960s, but perhaps especially to the American art scene in the 1970s. The exhibition’s main emphasis is therefore on these works, although connections are also drawn to other material and later acquisitions that shed light on the collection’s breadth and complexity.

The exhibition Intimacy and Monumentality presents a selection from this exceptionally diverse collection. Much of the material will be on show for the first time.

The exhibition is produced by Stavanger Art Museum, in close collaboration with Jan Groth.

PHOTO: Boli (rituelt objekt, Bamana folket, Mali), 19-20 århundre. © Stein Rønning