A strong guide in Asger Jorn's work was his intense investigation of the mythical, of the long heritage of the Nordic peoples.
Mythological and prehistoric legends preoccupied Asger Jorn throughout his life. Gods, goblins, trolls and other heroes and villains are frequently represented in his works and come alive through his swirling brushstrokes and vivid use of colour, beautifully represented by the present lot, Komposition med ugle og fabeldyr (Compostion with owl and fable animal). The raw vandalism of such stories were representative of Jorn's thoughts on what art should be like: wicked, unruly and primordial.
Jorn's own work, in his mind, was merely the latest development in a long history of folk art and heritage. Although the images he produced were not folk art, as a Dane he felt that his interpretations of his heritage was in its own right valid and, indeed, necessary. He actually believed that Scandinavians were uniquely adapted to seek and depict the true emotional core of existence: "In no place in the world do aestheticians go to the depths in madness and poverty so often and so compulsively as here. We are brought up in it" (Jorn, quoted in Peter Shield, Comparative Vandalism: Asger Jorn and the artistic attitude to life, Aldershot, 1998, p.150)
For Jorn, art had to be spontaneous, nightmarish and wondrous, keywords embodied by this remarkable painting, provocatively hostile and reluctantly aesthetic.