Ingvar Cronhammar

For many years Ingvar Cronhammar has dominated the Danish art scene with large and monumental sculptures which can be seen in a wide range of art museums and public spaces. Ingvar Cronhammar was born in Sweden, but lives in Herning, Denmark.


1fotosteengyldendalIngvarCronhammarIngvar Cronhammar (b. 1947). Foto: Steen Gyldendal 

HEART has the largest collection of Ingvar Cronhammar art works in Denmark, a total of 21 works of which 13 are sculptures. One of his first sculptures, which the museum acquired, was Skrig i vilden nat from 1987. In 1994 the museum managed to acquire an entire collection of seven sculptures in total, here amongst Slangens Hjerte, 1986, Udkrængningens Ly, 1990, Vigilant, 1990 and The Gate, 1988. The Gate is by many regarded as one of Cronhammar's most significant works - a breakthrough piece of art. It is also in Herning, the sculpture - or rather the monument – Elia, 2001, stands on a green area south of HEART. It is one of Cronhammar's more notable works in the public domain.

The fact that Cronhammar lives in the town of Herning is no coincidence. In an interview he explains: "I feel comfortable in the 'Wild West'. Here I find wide open spaces, moors and straight lines. And then there is a fundamental attitude saying that nothing - in principle - is impossible. I can't remember, that I even once, have been greeted with scepticism, and that's quite amazing."


1542 The Gate Ingvar Cronhammar Foto Poul Ib Henriksen 1The Gate, 1988

Ingvar Cronhammar is a loner in Danish art history and most profound in his oeuvre stands the big, monumental sculptures made in dark materials. With such works he has made his distinctive mark on the Danish art scene, both in terms of art museums' collections and public spaces. Cronhammar's works can be described as sculptural installations that refer to architecture. Large or small, Cronhammar's works always have an eerie force to them, stressed by the shocking art form and use of sound and light.

It seems like his work is either linked to science fiction or some kind of psychological darkness. The commonly used materials such as mahogany, iron, steel and rubber which have no trace of human hand to them and the large scale give his art works both strength and a machinelike character. However, this is often twisted when Cronhammar adds natural elements such as animal bones and bird wings, which do not make the audience's encounter with his works any less surprising.


Ingvar Cronhammar Skrig i vilden nat Foto SKH 1Skrig i Vilden Nat, 1987

Cronhammar's works contain many things, perhaps especially the use of contrasts. There are variations in his use of natural materials, colours and different elements that disturb the symmetry. The order of things is often added an element of chaos. This dualism makes his works compelling and difficult to read. At the same time they have elements of the past and the present, the ordinary and the extraordinary, yet also a certain touch of romanticism and high-tech. They somehow seem to derive from both an earthly and the cosmic sphere.

Cronhammar's works can be categorized as somewhere between 'everything', they are in a world of their own, where they serve as monumental 'brakes' that stop all life around them. And because the works make us pause and simultaneously invite us to reflect, they have served their purpose.