HØST – A Contrafactual Exhibition



Opens on 18 November 2023.


With trolls, goblins, and other mythological creatures, and inspired by vitalistic ideas, the artists’ group HØST sought to expand the boundaries for life and liberty during the 1930s and 1940s, a period when complete annihilation of life on the planet was a distinct possibility. Nowadays, questions of life and liberty have gained new relevance due to the fragmentation and sense of crisis permeating our society. What does liberty look like today? – if it even exists as more than just Utopia.

This question has inspired the exhibition’s revisit to the spontaneous abstract artists of the HØST group and reengagement with the life forms, myths, and myriad creatures filling their images. The HØST Exhibitions took place at Den Frie (the Free) Exhibition Hall from 1934 until 1949, when it broke down and the abstract painters continued in the CoBrA movement. HØST – A Contrafactual Exhibition is the result of a thought-experiment: What would a HØST exhibition look like had the group continued its activities till the present day?

The recurrent motif is man’s connection to animals, nature, and the cosmos. The everyday, shapeless, and supernatural beings given form in the works of art can be seen as both symptoms of the complete breakdown of a time weighed down by crises as well as signs of a new freedom characterised by imagination and unbridled creativity. The exhibition explores life, genesis, and creation – and invites the viewer to regard past and present, immediacy and reflection in open exchange.


Participation artists: Anne-Mette Schultz & Rasmus Røhling, Asger Jorn, Astrid Svangren, Benedikte Bjerre, Carl-Henning Pedersen, Claus Hugo Nielsen, Else Alfelt, Ernest Mancoba, Henry Heerup, Kasper Akhøj & Tamar Guimarães, Maria Wæhrens, Mette Rasmussen, Morten Knudsen, Saskia Te Nicklin, Sonja Ferlov Mancoba, and Søren Andreasen.


The exhibition was shown at Den Frie Exhibition Hall earlier in the year.



The exhibition has been generously supported by:

Arne V. Schleschs Fond

Augustinus Fonden

Carl-Henning Pedersen Fonden

Carl-Henning Pedersen og Sidsel Ramsons Fond

Dansk Tennis Fond

Knud Højgaards Fond

Konsul George Jorck og Hustru Emma Jorck’s Fond

Lemvigh-Müller Fonden

Statens Kunstfond

William Demant Fonden