The Obelisk


The Obelisk in Birk was Carl-Henning Pedersen's last major decoration project in Herning. He was 88 years old in 2001, when the demanding work of painting more than 400 tiles was carried out. The Obelisk was erected and unveiled in 2003, marking the artist's 90th birthday.


The Obelisk is 12 meters high and measures 2 x 2 meters at the base. It is located at the centre of the roundabout in Birk and is the closest neighbour to the artist's own museum. The Obelisk is covered by more than 400 tiles, each measuring 50 x 50 cm, giving a total area of 100 square meters. The work of painting the many 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 the third time Carl-Henning Pedersen used the place for one of his major decoration assignments.


Carl-Henning Pedersen found his inspiration for the Obelisk in Egypt – and its form relates beautifully to the cylinder and pyramid forms of Carl-Henning Pedersen's own museum.


The Obelisk adds to the series of major decoration assignments in Birk by Carl-Henning Pedersen. Besides the decorations for the museum, these include The Play of Imagination around the Wheel of Life in the circular Angli courtyard (1966-68) and the facade of the Danish Export School (1990). Behind the realization of the Obelisk was a committee 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.