The Obelisk in Birk was Carl-Henning Pedersen's final monumental work in Herning. He was 88 years old in 2001 when the demanding work of painting more than 400 ceramic tiles took place. Marking Pedersen's 90th birthday, the Obelisk was erected and unveiled in 2003.
At 12 metres high, the Obelisk measures 2 x 2 metres at the base and is situated in the centre of the roundabout in Birk with the artist's own museum as its closest neighbour. The Obelisk is covered with more than 400 tiles, each measuring 50 x 50 centimetres and coming to a total area of more than 100 square metres. The actual painting of the tiles took place at Henk Trumphie's ceramic workshop Struktuur 68 in the Hague. The workshop offers expertise in artistic, ceramic work, and this was Carl-Henning Pedersen's third time using it for one of his monumental assignments.
Carl-Henning Pedersen found inspiration for his Obelisk in Egypt, and its shape beautifully complements the circular and triangular shapes of Carl-Henning Pedersen & Else Alfelts Museum.
The Obelisk adds to the series of monumental assignments in Birk by Carl-Henning Pedersen. Besides the ornamentations for the museum itself, these include The Play of Imagination around the Wheel of Life in the inner Angli Courtyard (1966-68) and the facade of the Danish Export School (1990). Behind the realisation of the Obelisk was a committee consisting of five members: MP Helge Sander, City Council member Johannes Poulsen and directors Steen Hove, Finn Poulsen and Jørgen Marstrand. The committee raised DKK 2.5 million for the project from fifty private sponsors.