Nikolaj Larsen

1971 · Denmark

Artist biography

Nikolaj Larsen is a mid-career established artist, who originates from Denmark. Nikolaj Larsen was born in 1971. Artists Jeppe Hein and Jesper Just are of the same generation and same country as Nikolaj Larsen.

Historical Context of Denmark

As the southernmost of the Scandinavian countries, Denmark has often been rather influenced by the Germanic culture of Northern Europe, which borders its southern frontiers. This responsiveness is often mixed with the Nordic traits of restraint and melancholy in its arts. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, and in the earlier part of the twentieth, Denmark produced a key painter of Post-Impressionism, Vilhelm Hammershøi. Renowned for his wistful and extremely scarce interiors, Hammershøi's reputation was founded on his exquisite depictions of light and shadow in simple, dignified interiors, most often his own residence. In the later twentieth century, Denmark was a major country in the CoBrA movement of Expressionist painting, where the naming convention was derived from the cities of the founding members - the Co standing for Copenhagen on behalf of Danish artist Asger Jorn. Established in 1949, CoBrA's vivid colours and vibrant childlike figures became both a scandal and sensation. Other critically acclaimed modern and Danish artists include Per Kirkeby, Olafur Eliasson, Danh Vō, Sergej Jensen and Tal R.

Further Biographical Context for Nikolaj Larsen

Born in 1971, Nikolaj Larsen's creative work was primarily influenced by the 1990s. A collective of artists working in the United Kingdom, who came to be known as the YBAs, or Young British Artists, defined the artistic culture of the 1990s. Affiliated loosely by their age and nationality, they were a varied collective of practitioners. Many of the YBAs attended the Royal College of Art and Goldsmiths in London, and were favoured by the ‘super collector’ of the time, Charles Saatchi. The most renowned member of the group is Damien Hirst, and other members included Chris Ofili, Tracey Emin, Marc Quinn, Gavin Turk, Sarah Lucas and Sam Taylor-Johnson (née Sam Taylor-Wood). The YBAs became known for their use of shock tactics and sensationalism, alongside their use of throwaway materials, wild lifestyles and an attitude that was rebellious yet enterprising. Due to the high amount of media coverage that they garnered, they dominated British art during the 1990s, and their work was epitomised in the group show ‘Sensation’.

The art world was influenced by a number of trends throughout the decade, and was characterised by the derisive sculpture of Maurizio Cattelan, and sensitive, conceptual advancements as represented in the work of artists such as Felix Gonzalez-Torres.

Relational Aesthetics, a term coined by curator Nicholas Bourriaud to describe the act of creating art based on human relations and their social context, became a central idea in the 1990s. Works by artists including Douglas Gordon, Gillian Wearing, Philippe Parenno and Liam Gillick were described as significant artists who worked to this outline.

In Japan, a trend began to emerge in response to the boom in advertising and consumerism that took place during the 1980s. The comic book culture of manga appeared as an art form, and was related to trends in advertising and graphic design. One of the prominent contemporary Japanese artists was Takashi Murakami, who coined the term ‘Superflat’, a theory influenced by the aesthetic characteristics of manga and the nature of post-war Japanese culture. Having been inspired by his experiences in New York City in the mid-1990s, Murakami formed an influential group of artists called Kaikai Kiki, which became internationally recognised in a number of countries.

Conceptual photography began to gain popularity, and was particularly inspired by German ideas and artists. German artists such as Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth, and Wolfgang Tillmans gained international recognition, and in turn artists such as the Canadian Jeff Wall created images with a cinematic quality that was inspired by the German artists’ work. In terms of painting, Albert Oehlen and Martin Kippenberger gained influential status in the artistic community.

Nikolaj Larsen

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