Per Bak Jensen

Per Bak Jensen/ Per Bak Jensen

Denmark 1949

Photography

Per Bak Jensen
Per Bak Jensen
Male
Denmark
1949

One of the best known modern landscape photographers, Per Bak Jensen is rightfully considered as one of the pioneers of the field. This Danish master is truly exceptional since he never manipulates his pictures once they have been taken. The photographs show nature’s true state, depicted through very polished, yet untouched images. It is essential for him to catch a certain timelessness which, in his own words, captures “the being of places”. Working from a hunch, a feeling that there is something hidden, he attempts to discover it – however, it can’t be transcribed into words – and that is the main reason Bak Jensen chose photography as his primary medium of artistic expression, so he could show (or at least try to) the very being of places, without overemphasizing their metaphorical presence or imposing any particular ideological perspective.

Per Bak Jensen use camera sign policy capturing nature site work displaying exhibition in museums
Per Bak Jensen – Is / Ice, 2016

Biography – Personal Life, Exhibitions, Collections

In 1973, Per Bak Jensen married Susanne Høj, the daughter of photographer Ebbe Høj. He tried out various professions, until, at the age of 30, he began to study at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. The artist completed his studies in 1986 and was the first to graduate using photography as his only art form.[1] Between 1986 and 2009, he worked as an Associate professor at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, where he inspired numerous Scandinavian artists through his unique photographic working methods and process. Per Bak Jensen had exhibited his work throughout the world, both as a solo artist and as part of group shows. He has been the subject of several documentaries, including the Per Bak Jensen – en fotograf by Steen Møller Rasmussen and Plagiat Film (1991); the 10 Kunstarter: Kunstfotografiet by Martin Lund and Copenhagen Broadcast (1996); the Fotografi by Steen Møller Rasmussen and Plagiat Film (2006). His works are held in many prestigious museums and institutions, such as Arken Museum for Moderne Kunst, Ishøj, Denmark; Bibliothéque Nationale, Paris, France; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA, and many others. He was awarded the Eckerberg’s Medaljen in 2005 and Thorvaldsen Medaljen in 2015.

Per Bak Jensen wants the capture the being of places

Per Bak Jensen in gallery exhibition use terms and view sign policy of galleri Bjerggaard
Per Bak Jensen – Bjerg – Liverpool Land / Mountain – Liverpool Land, 2011

Per Bak Jansen – The Approach to Photography and Why He Takes Photographs

“Sometimes I feel that there’s more than I can see. There’s something hidden in my surroundings when I’m looking around. I can’t put that something into words. I can’t describe it in words. So instead I’ve chosen to photograph it. When you see some of my photos, I don’t know if you’ll see the hidden things. But what you do see is the places where I’ve felt that something was hidden – and that reaches out to me and somehow wants to contact me.”[2] Whether it’s spiritual or something entirely different, Bak Jensen is unable to transcribe it with words. That’s why he chose photography as his primary medium of expression. Driven by a strange desire to take photographs and strange desire to look at them, the photographer feels compelled to study the forces of nature. And that desire might or might not be an expression of the view from before we lost our innocence. He thinks that art, theology, and scientific theories are perhaps things that not only create something new but remind us of the things we’ve forgotten. That’s when he finds himself at a loss for words. He gets lost in his own words and that’s why he takes photographs.

He’s always searching for something hidden, something that can’t be expressed with words

Per Bak Jensen use terms that suit his artistic view of needs
Per Bak Jensen – Monolit / Monolith, 2012

Transforming Banality into Masterpieces

Although many of his pictures can undoubtedly be described as beautiful and harmonious, at least in a formal sense, there is a noticeable absence of romanticism and a certain obsessive precision and coolness of approach that one might more readily associate with the Düsseldorf School. Bak Jensen’s art is the result of long periods of close observation and reflection, using the camera to hint at unseen relationships within the image and inviting the viewer to attempt to solve the puzzle of how reality is constructed.[3] For him, it is about looking for the signs in the world that unlock the truth of reality. These signs may be less obvious in man-made environments, but they are there. One of the world’s most famous landscape photographers, Per Bak Jensen pioneered a landscape photography approach that does not merely rely on the capacity of the medium to evoke aesthetic experience but also stresses the idea or concept behind the image.

Per Bak Jensen lives and works in Vemmetofte, Denmark.

References:

  1. Meyer P. S., Per Bak Jensen, Kunstindeks Danmark [February 4, 2017]
  2. Wagner M.-C., Per Bak Jensen – The Presence of the Absent (2015), Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art [February 4, 2017]
  3. Drake D., Near and Far: Landscape Photographs by Per Bak Jensen at 12 Star Gallery (2012), London, Aesthetica Magazine [February 4, 2017]

Featured image: Per Bak Jensen – portrait (detail) – Image via galleryhip
All other images courtesy of Galleri Bo Bjerggaard

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016Per Bak Jensen - Dagslys - DaylightGalleri Bo Bjerggaard, CopenhagenSolo
2016Allez les BleusGalleri Bo Bjerggaard, CopenhagenGroup
2015Per Bak Jensen: Skjult (Hidden)Soro Kunstmuseum, SoroSolo
2015The Monochrome SymphonyArtipelag, GustavsbergsGroup
2015Art Relay - Danish Contemporary ArtKunstforeningen GL Strand, CopenhagenGroup
2015Spring Exhibition 2015Den frie udstilling, CopenhagenGroup
2014de Marseillaise - fifteen years of collectingHuis Marseille stichting voor fotografie, AmsterdamGroup
2014Shades of Black on WhiteGalleri Bo Bjerggaard, CopenhagenGroup
2014100 x SpringDen frie udstilling, CopenhagenGroup
2014NaturallyArken Museum of Modern Art, IshojGroup
2013Den Frie ExhibitionDen frie udstilling, CopenhagenGroup
2013The Carollers of KolbigkGalleri Bo Bjerggaard, CopenhagenGroup
2013ArcticLouisiana Museum of Modern Art, HumlebaekGroup
2013Copenhagen Photo FestivalCopenhagen Photo Festival, CopenhagenGroup
2013Paisajes Del NorteMuseo de Arte Moderno de Bogota, BogotaGroup
2013Ground. Materiality No. 2 (earth)Soro Kunstmuseum, SoroGroup
2012Per Bak Jensen - Near and Far12 Star Gallery, LondonSolo
2012Per Bak Jensen - FortabelseGalleri Bo Bjerggaard, CopenhagenSolo
2012FotoTriennale.dk 2012Museet for Fotokunst, OdenseGroup
2012Sense of Place - European Landscape PhotographyBOZAR - Palais des Beaux-Arts/ Paleis voor Schone Kunsten, BrusselsGroup
2012Spring Exhibition 2012Den frie udstilling, CopenhagenGroup
2011BevaegelseGl Holtegaard, HolteSolo
2011Helt ude i skovenGalleri Bo Bjerggaard, CopenhagenGroup
2010Signe et MouvementSuzanne Tarasieve Galerie, ParisSolo
2010ConnexionsEsbjerg Kunstmuseum, EsbjergGroup
2010Spring Exhibition 2010Den frie udstilling, CopenhagenGroup
2009Per Bak Jensen - Midt iblandt osGalleri Bo Bjerggaard, CopenhagenSolo
2009Before the Darkness, fotografier av Per Bak JensenDunkers Kulturhus, HelsingborgSolo
2009Picturing NatureGalerie Nikolaus Ruzicska, SalzburgGroup
2009GBB 1999Galleri Bo Bjerggaard, CopenhagenGroup
2009Nyerhvervelser 2007-2008Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, HumlebaekGroup
2008Nordic MoodsArken Museum of Modern Art, IshojGroup
2008Nordic Moods - Landscape Photography of our TimeARKEN Museum for Moderne Kunst, IshojGroup
2008Ild - kunst, der faenger - TrapholtKoldingGroup
2008Den Frie Udstilling - Forarsudstillingen 2008Den frie udstilling, CopenhagenGroup
2007Per Bak Jensen ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, AarhusSolo
2007SporEsbjerg Kunstmuseum, EsbjergGroup
2006Per Bak Jensen - Days in ViennaGalleri Bo Bjerggaard, CopenhagenSolo
2006Blikfang – highlights fra samlingenHEART - Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, HerningGroup
2006Bjerge i dansk kunstHEART - Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, HerningGroup
2005RealityStalke Galleri / Stalke Out Of Space / Artstamp.dk, Kirke SaabyGroup
2005Scandinavian Photography 2 - DenmarkGrinnell College - Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, Grinnell, IAGroup
2005Summer ShowGalleri Bo Bjerggaard, CopenhagenGroup
2005skyggen - the shadowSoro Kunstmuseum, SoroGroup
2005Dialog pa tvaers – ja tak! 2005Den frie udstilling, CopenhagenGroup
2004Per Bak Jensen - PhotographyGalleri Bo Bjerggaard, CopenhagenSolo
2004Helmut Federle - A Nordic ViewGalerie nachst St. Stephan - Rosemarie Schwarzwalder, ViennaGroup
2004Winter ShowGalleri Bo Bjerggaard, CopenhagenGroup
2004Works and DaysLouisiana Museum of Modern Art, HumlebaekGroup
2004Den Frie UdstillingDen frie udstilling, CopenhagenGroup
2003Fra Objektiv Til ObjektDen frie udstilling, CopenhagenGroup
2003Den Frie Udstilling forar 2003Den frie udstilling, CopenhagenGroup
2002Per Bak Jensen - ForseelseHEART, Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, HerningSolo
2002Skaenket af…, Ny Carlsbergfondets 100 ars jubilaeumsudstillingNy Carlsberg Glyptotek, CopenhagenGroup
2001PER BAK JENSEN - PhotographsBARTHA CONTEMPORARY, LondonSolo
2000Per Bak Jensenvon Bartha Collection, BaselSolo
2000New WorksStalke Galleri / Stalke Out Of Space / Artstamp.dk, Kirke SaabyGroup
2000ARKEN's CollectionARKEN Museum for Moderne Kunst, IshojGroup
2000SCANDINAVIAN PHOTOGRAHPYBARTHA CONTEMPORARY, LondonGroup
1999Group ShowStalke Galleri / Stalke Out Of Space / Artstamp.dk, Kirke SaabyGroup
1999Hein Heinsen - Sculptur - Per Bak Jensen - PhotographyGalleri Bo Bjerggaard, CopenhagenGroup
1998Per Bak Jensen - WanderingStalke Galleri / Stalke Out Of Space / Artstamp.dk, Kirke SaabySolo
1998ARKEN's CollectionARKEN Museum for Moderne Kunst, IshojGroup
1997Bringing Out. New photographs by Per Bak JensenARKEN Museum for Moderne Kunst, IshojSolo
1997Per Bak JensenArken Museum of Modern Art, IshojSolo
199710 years celebration Part 1Stalke Galleri / Stalke Out Of Space / Artstamp.dk, Kirke SaabyGroup
1996Rauma Biennale Balticum 1996Rauman Taidemuseo, RaumaGroup
1989GuestsStalke Galleri / Stalke Out Of Space / Artstamp.dk, Kirke SaabyGroup
1989The Mysterious City Galleri GARI, Copenhagen, DenmarkSolo
1989Septembre de la Photo1re Biennale Internationale, Nice, FranceGroup
1989Danske billedkunstnere fotografererBrandts Klaedefabrik, Odense, DenmarkGroup
1989En bild ar en bild arNordisk Kunstcentrum, Sveaborg Helsinki, FinlandGroup
1988HimmelgadenDen Frie, Copenhagen, DenmarkGroup
1986Photographs – from the Collection of the Royal LibraryCharlottenborg, Copenhagen, DenmarkGroup
1985Per Bak Jensen 1985Galleri A Gruppen, Copenhagen, DenmarkSolo
1985Nordic Photo ArtFotomuseet Brandts Klaedefabrik, Odense, DenmarkGroup
1982Foto Gallery492 Broome Street, Soho, New York, USAGroup
1982The Frozen ImageScandinavian Photography, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis , USAGroup
1981Per Bak Jensen 1981Galleri Image, Arhus, DenmarkSolo
1979UnknownPrint Galleri, Copenhagen, DenmarkGroup