Presentation Svend-Allan Sørensen

Svend-Allan Sørensen works in a variety of media, but printmaking constitutes the core of his artistic practice. His exploration of printing techniques encompasses woodcut, linocut, etching and lithography. This technical versatility testifies to the openness and curiosity, which, paired with a sense of humour and playfulness, characterize Sørensen’s artistic practice.

Conceptually, Sørensen’s interest in the relationship between nature and culture forms the basis of his work. A passionate hunter himself, this interest extends beyond his artistic practice into his private life. Artistically, it can manifest in large-scale installations of taxidermy, readymades or printed series of text-based works in which references to nature feature prominently. The text fragments are taken from various sources such as song lyrics, literature, or proverbs. Isolated from their original contexts, they can carry metaphorical meaning, express political statements or personal thoughts.

The “Absurd Birds” project, a series of woodcuts in various sizes printed in editions of ten, exemplifies Sørensen’s conceptual interest in nature and culture as well as his process-oriented approach. Sørensen “hacked” historical images of birds by running them through a digital scanner multiple times. This process resulted in new, distorted variations of the original images, which he then lasercut into plywood plates, and finally printed as traditional woodcuts.

The blurred lines bear witness to Sørensen’s active disruption of the scanning process. The resulting images are frozen in various degrees of abstraction. At the same time, they appear strangely animated, conveying a strong sense of movement. They are at once disturbing and coherent, vaguely uncomfortable and strangely pleasing. Ultimately, it was the process itself which dictated the project’s scope: according to Sørensen, “the series was complete when additional images failed to produce the desired effect, no matter how many times I ran them through the scanner.”

The combination of traditional printmaking and digital techniques results in a series of works that bridge the aesthetic gap between historical and contemporary image production. The use of a natural material like wood and its manipulation through cultural techniques like writing and laser-cutting, demonstrate how concept informs execution, and how both concept and execution inform the final images. In this sense, Sørensen’s conceptualization of nature and culture permeates all aspects of his works, from the initial creative idea to the final work.

Svend-Allan Sørensen, born 1975 in Kjellerup, Denmark, lives and works in Odense, Denmark. Notable solo exhibitions of his work include Museum Jorn (Silkeborg, DK 2013), Overgaden - Institut for Samtidskunst, (Copenhagen, DK 2008), and Fyns Kunstmuseum (Odense, DK 2008). He participated in numerous group exhibitions, among them KunstCentret Silkeborg Bad (Silkeborg, DK 2020), Sydslesvigs Danske Kunstforening (Flensburg, Germany 2017), Scandinavia House (New York, NY 2015), Norske Grafikere (Oslo, Norway 2014), and Växjo Kunsthal (Växjö, Sweden 2011). His work part of collections such as H.M. Queen Sonja Art Collection (NOR) Ny Carlsbergfondet (DK), The National Gallery of Denmark (DK), AroS (DK), , Vejle Kunstmuseum (DK), and Museum Jorn (DK). In 2014, he received the Norwegian Queen Sonja Nordic Art Award.