Henrik Godsk (b. 1975, Hjørring) is of seventh generation travelling heritage, having grown up among the world of the funfair in Denmark. His practice reflects his pride in his upbringing and cultural identity. Across his works, fusing folkloric and high art, he utilises the portraits and creatures that form his subjects as vessels for his exploration of colour and form. In his first solo exhibition with Vigo, the androgenous and striking forms of the artist's portraits, directly reminiscent of the accentuated designs of fairground rides, line the walls of Wellington Arch. Built as the original entrance to Buckingham Palace, the Arch is here repurposed as a substrate for an ingress into the magic of the fair.
The formal components of the artwork are inseparable from the artist's time spent as a child painting the panels and façades during renovations 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 œuvre. At 23, he left fairground life to become an artist. The controlled brushwork, geometric lines, flat surfaces, and tight compositions of the artist’s cubistic portraits act as a conduit for his personal exploration of classically modernist forms. In Godsk’s angular paintings, Cubism’s traditionally busy, saturated style is pared down in minimal compositions, typically just one woman 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: 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).
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