WHEN COVID-19 washed over the country in early spring, Jørgen Haugen Sørensen's "Crowding at The Gate of Stupidity" was the first real casualty in Hans Alf Gallery. The exhibition, which was supposed to open on April 17, drowned in lockdowns and assembly bans. By mid-March, we agreed to postpone the show indefinitely.
The past six months, Jørgen Haugen Sørensen has spent in isolation in his home in the Apuan Mountains, only interrupted by short excursions into a small forest across the narrow mountain road that runs past his house. Or by the virtual voyages of the internet. He has continued to work tirelessly and with his typical zeal, almost like a mad man, trying to finish the exhibition that should have been, and which has now become a totally different show. Of course it has; everything has changed. A world has shut down, but at the same time opened up infinitely. Rarely has our common fate as a species seemed more tangible.
"Crowding at The Gate of Stupidity" is a masterclass in both design and artistic precision. Jørgen Haugen Sørensen has always been a master of the capricious obedience of the clay, yet it seems that recently the ever-polemical sculptor has managed to whet the razor to an almost unimaginable sharpness. Whether it be the bronze sculptures in their impressive weight, the featherlight reliefs in white-glazed ceramics or the drawings, tainted with the unforgiving river of the ink, the energy and the impact is unchanged: “This is, what it is at stake; this is the message. Look! Feel! Comprehend!"
The exhibition may borrow its title from previous works, but "Crowding at The Gate of Stupidity" is in no way a repetition. In fact, Haugen Sørensen is more relevant than ever. It is the evilness of life, the despair of the moment and the inevitable decay of it all. It may not be very cheerful, but it is definitely honest. And on that same note, the exhibition also seems to present us with a fundamental dilemma: What do we want to hear, when the knife is at our throats and the world comes crashing down around us? Reassurance or naked truth?
Personally, Jørgen Haugen Sørensen chooses the latter. Always.