Claus Carstensen/Peter Zimmermann

Esbjerg Kunstmuseum

Once a year, the Esbjerg Art Museum asks a Danish artist to be his or her own matchmaker and invite an exhibition partner from abroad. This summer, painter Claus Carstensen doubled up with Cologne-based colleague Peter Zimmermann under the title “X-pollination (hænging og høring)” (Hanging and Hearing). On first sight, the pairing of Carstensen’s coded surfaces and Zimmermann’s mute, shimmering ones look more like a showdown than a pas de deux—the Copenhagen tough guy versus the Cologne hipster. But they share one major concern that goes to the bone of their style, namely, the emphasis on the biographical. They aren’t high priests of art consecrating everyday objects, as Smithson said of Duchamp; they reconsecrate their own art through biographic feedback processes. Here the work becomes a function of an authorial signature that tries to keep together the forms that are always at risk

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