Manzoni / Gadegaard

Manzoni Gadegaard

01.11.13 - 27.04.14

Reviled and fêted – this year marks the 80th and 50th anniversaries of the birth and death of Piero Manzoni. HEART celebrates this dual anniversary with an exhibition showcasing the work of this Italian artist who turned the whole world upside down with his ironic and confrontational works. At the same time the museum also presents Denmark's largest collection of art by Paul Gadegaard, the painter who turned our expectations of art upside down, pulling it out of the frame and inserting it into everyday life instead.

Enjoy the clash between two of the greatest icons of the Herning Avant-garde; two artists who both successfully pulled art down from its pedestal 


There is no escaping it. The Merda d'Artista, a can containing the artist's own faeces, is one of the most hotly debated artworks in history, and today, 52 years after Manzoni's infamous visit to the loo, it can still conjure up a throbbing atmosphere of shocked outrage.

"This is utter crap. I think that putting something like that in a display case is to poke fun at decent people," said Per Stig Møller, former Minister for Culture in Denmark, and the Danish politician Pia Kjærsgaard calls the can "vulgar and in poor taste".

Manzoni's art seems to be shrouded in a kind of magical haze that repeatedly prompts us to return to a question that never loses its potency: can anything be art? That is precisely why we keep addressing it. Visitors can look forward to being challenged by the very best works from HEART's Manzoni collection, accompanied now for the first time ever by an exhibition devoted entirely to Gadegaard.


Those were Gadegaard's words when he was commissioned to create art for Aage Damgaard's factory in Herning, known as "the Black Factory". Gadegaard's characteristic edged forms and vivid colours covered the walls, floors, and furniture and became part of life at the factory. He painted outside the frames, thereby in his own distinctive way concurring with Manzoni's claim that anything can be art – chairs, tables, walls – even the people surrounding the art.

So when Manzoni's colourless works face Gadegaard's very colourful art there is a tacit agreement between them: art is not as exalted and sublime as it is made out to be. The two artists claimed that art can be anything and anywhere.