Created while Asger Jorn was still living in Copenhagen, Denmark, Untitled (1945) showcases the work of an artist on the cusp of his international breakthrough. The following year, Jorn moved to France, and in Paris, 1948, together with Karel Appel, Constant and Corneille, he would found the avant-garde group CoBrA. Achieving international acclaim, the group’s unifying doctrine was complete freedom of expression, with an emphasis on strong colour and brushwork.
Throughout the mid-1940s, Jorn focused on the development of particular themes, each period lasting the course of one or two years. Untitled belongs to the period given the name ‘Didaska’, and features a typical two figure composition in a warm and soft colouring, with animalistic shapes and mask-like faces based on the imagery of surrealist paintings. Jorn draws together the birds of Max Ernst, the masked characters of Danish artist Egill Jacobsen and the multitude of elements seen in the sculptures and paintings of Ejler Bille, to create a poetic pictorial language. In Untitled, the moving figures have grown together with their surroundings, merging in a lyrical rhythm. The pictorial space is filled with action and dynamics, which imbues the work with a sense of energy, while bold and strong lines show the artist’s energetic brushwork. Untitled, more a suggestive than a descriptive work, celebrates movement, form and colour.
A lithograph of a similar composition exists from 1944.