Henrik Godsk (b. 1975, Hjørring) is of seventh generation travelling heritage, having grown up among the world of his family’s funfair in Denmark and Norway. His practice reflects pride in his upbringing and cultural identity, fusing folkloric and high art, using portraits and ‘creatures’ as vessels for his exploration of colour and form. The androgynous and striking forms of the artist's portraits are directly reminiscent of the accentuated designs of the fairground.
The formal components of the artwork are a direct result of the artist's time spent as a child painting and renovating the panels and façades of these rides. At twelve, he began to design and paint them himself; at fifteen, he came across books about Picasso and Modigliani, the latter’s elongated necks and distorted, flattened proportions heavily influencing Godsk’s current oeuvre. Then at 23 he left fairground life to become an artist. The controlled brushwork, geometric lines, flat surfaces, and tight compositions of his cubistic portraits act as a conduit for his personal exploration of classically modernist forms. In these angular paintings, Cubism’s traditionally busy, saturated style is pared down in terms of composition, typically just one woman or creature against a monochrome or simplified background. By playing with artistic conventions of the past, Godsk offers a refreshing take on portraiture through the lens of his cultural upbringing and love of twentieth-century modernism.
Godsk lives and works in Denmark. He holds an MA in art and literature from Aalborg University, and his work is held in various European public collections.
Selected solo exhibitions include: Humans & Creatures, Vigo Gallery at Wellington Arch, London (2023); No Piano, CFHILL, Stockholm (2022); Portraits and Passages, PIERMARQ*, Sydney (2022); and Traveller, Ruttkowski;68, Cologne (2021).
Selected group exhibitions include: Portraits, Kunstbygningen I Vraa, Engelundsamlingen – Museum of Modern Art, Vraa, Denmark (2022); The Breakfast Club, Eligere Gallerey, Seoul, Korea (2022), Mixed Pickles 9, Ruttkowski;68 at Goldberg Studios, Munich, Germany (2021), This Must Be the Place, Villa Schönningen, Potsdam, Berlin, Germany (2021); Abstraction and Figuration, Kunstbygningen I Vraa, Engelundsamlingen - Museum of Modern Art, Vraa, Denmark (2020); Hybrids, CFHILL, Stockholm, Sweden (2019); Contemporary Portraits, Frederikshavn Museum of Modern Art, Frederikshavn (2019); Earth, SADE Gallery, Los Angeles (2019); Henrik Godsk & Jordy Kerwick, Galerie Wolfsen, Aalborg (2018); Trans-figuration, Himmerland Art Museum (The Per Kirkeby Space), Aars (2017); and Trans-figuration, Mark Rothko Art Centre, Daugavpils (2017).