Kunstsammlung NRW
Peter Wissing Sorensen an der Druckerpresse der "Edition Copenhagen", Foto: Kunstsammlung

Art Made Here – "Edition Copenhagen": A 10-year Partnership with the Kunstsammlung

Gerd Korinthenberg visited the "Edition Copenhagen" upon the completion of the edition "Handlungen" (Acts) by Günther Uecker for the Kunstsammlung NRW. He shares impressions of his trip with #32.

Just around the corner, boats ride the gentle waves of a placid canal at the edge of Copenhagen's city center; a cursory glance through window of the low building located at Strandgade 66 gives the impression of a perfectly ordinary printer's shop and art gallery. But the homey kitchen with its strikingly large dining table and the faint smell of ink tell the visitor: this is a very special place, for art is created here. "Thus is not a printing press, we are editors," declare Peter Wissing Sorensen, Rasmus Urwald, and Dannie Vieten, the heads of "Edition Copenhagen," quite unequivocally. Arriving here are art greats such as Darren Almond, John Armleder, Candida Höfer, Elizabeth Peyton, Thomas Struth, and Lawrence Weiner, all with the intention of profiting from the team's many years of experience and professional expertise. And all eager to see the works they create on location here transferred onto paper from lithography plates or stones.

Still quite fresh is a stack of the most recent work by Günther Uecker, completed by the artist just hours earlier as an edition for the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen. While they also maintain contacts with other great museums around the world, the Danish editors have maintained a continuous partnership with only one, namely the Kunstsammlung, the regional art museum of North Rhine-Westphalia – and this out of conviction: "The experience we have acquired, we don't simply give it away!"

Accounting for the special genius of this place, so conducive to the unfolding of creativity, is something that goes beyond than the casual Scandinavian "du" form of address with which Peter and Rasmus greets guests and artists alike, and the imposing, slightly old-fashioned printing presses. Their master recipe: "From the moment an artist arrives, he enjoys total freedom," they explain. "For us, it's a question of quality and craftsmanship, never of time pressure!" Essentially, the editors and their team regard themselves as "midwives" who remain close by when the artistic process requires it. "It's a question of offering advice, but at times, it's also important to avoid giving any," says Rasmus Urwald.

Among the numerous anecdotes treasured by the editors is one involving their collaboration with John Armleder, who transformed pressed fresh, fat fish into art, and another involving a visit by a ballerina from the Royal Danish Ballet, who performed a pirouette on the printing stone under the artist's supervision. The artist Not Vital used a conductor's baton dipped in ink to render music by Nordic composers from Grieg to Sibelius visible on the sheet of paper; Luc Tuymans, who spent 84 hours working in the workshop within a five-day period, propelled the team to the edge of exhaustion. For all involved, one thing is never in doubt: "Here, we are creating something very special."

Edition Copenhagen