Internationally acclaimed Danish artist explores the boundary between the photograph and the physical body

Kunsthal Charlottenborg presents Thick & Thin, a survey of the work of Danish artist and Sculpture School Professor Simon Dybbroe Møller from the past twenty years. The exhibition is the most comprehensive overview of Dybbroe Møller’s practice to date and includes several new works as well as earlier ones that have been restaged and reconfigured for the exhibition.

In his practice, Simon Dybbroe Møller investigates and complicates common binaries: copy and original, motif and depiction. The artist tests what sculpture is or can be, in a world that is dictated by the photographic; a world where our economy and attention has shifted from the object to the image.

Thick & Thin hints at this preoccupation with the relationship between sculpture (thick) and imagery (thin) as well as the twists and turns of two decades of artistic practice – through “thick and thin”. For one of the exhibition’s central piecesBag of Bones (2023), Dybbroe Møller uses a 3D scan of the Iron Age body, known as the Grauballe Man, to explore how thousands of years of changing image technologies have affected our imaginaries. In this video, the embodied image becomes a digital asset, a calculable object. Its wrinkled skin is rendered into a pliable texture map that can be manipulated ad infinitum.

Many works chosen for the exhibition use autobiographical elements to examine notions of identity and representation, and question tropes and mechanisms of depiction. The Grauballeman bog body for example resides at a museum where the artist’s parents worked, when he was young. The new video Picture (2024) is a reconstruction of a childhood memory. Based on scans of the village where the artist grew up as well as images of his 14-year-old face, it is part forensic sketch, part photographic souvenir.

Rather than settling into one medium or style, Dybbroe Møller continuously probes new territories, moving between film, photography, found objects, installation, sculpture, performance, writing, curating and teaching. His solo exhibitions often have the atmosphere of carefully curated group shows. Thick & Thin demonstrates this broad relation to artistic production, and includes several collaborations as well as pieces made by other artists. The show opens with two versions of the same bronze sculpture by Constantin Emile Meunier from 1893. Removed from their pedestals in Copenhagen and Stockholm the two dockworkers staring at each other here, are joined by a whole array of chess-piece-like characters throughout the exhibition. Flipping between the archetypical and the juvenile, between complexity and caricature, the assembly of broken, mostly masculine figures – a runner, a butcher, a bog body, a bricklayer, a driver, a cook, a schoolchild, a plumber, and a patient – seem to question the very logic of their own identities.

In the Kunsthal’s major south wing, the audience will meet a practice that emphasizes connection, juxtaposition and relationality. Through his work, Dybbroe Møller engages in a back-and-forth between the thick and the thin – between palpable qualities such as the material and weight of sculpture and the mediation and representation of images.

The exhibition has been developed in close collaboration between the artist and with curator Krist Gruijthuijsen, director KW Institute of Contemporary Art in Berlin, and is supported by The Augustinus Foundation, The Beckett Foundation, The New Carlsberg Foundation, The Danish Arts Foundation, The Obel Family Foundation, The William Demant Foundation.

About the artist

Simon Dybbroe Møller (b. Aarhus, 1976; lives and works in Copenhagen) is a graduate from the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main. Since 2019 he has been a professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts’ School of Sculpture in Copenhagen. His works have been featured in solo shows at venues such as Kunsthal Aarhus, Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius, Belvedere 21 in Vienna, Kunsthalle São Paulo, Objectif Exhibitions in Antwerp, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Fondazione Giuliani in Rome, Kunstverein Hannover, University of Michigan Museum of Art. His works have been featured in group exhibitions at the Berlin Biennale, the Moscow Biennale, Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Palais de Tokyo, Centre Pompidou, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, CCA Wattis in San Francisco, Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt and the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin. Simon Dybbroe Møller is the founder of the performance programme Why Words Now and, together with artist Nina Beier, runs the exhibition venue AYE-AYE in Copenhagen.

Practical information

Simon Dybbroe Møller: Thick & Thin
8 June – 11 August 2024
Press preview: 6 June, 11.00-12.00
Artist talk: 7 June, 16.00-17.00
Exhibition opening: 7 June, 17.00-20.00
Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Kongens Nytorv 1, 1050 Copenhagen K
Further info here