La Chambre
An exhibition by Søren Behncke

La Chambre à Arles - Van Gogh’s 1888 Masterpiece. Most artists would close the door on that room. Søren Behncke entered, deconstructing and re-painting La Chambre again and again during the course of a year. The exhibition (street level and downstairs gallery) is both the result and the documentation of the process. In 20 works on canvas, cardboard, and paper Søren Behncke engages the iconic image of the room in Arles and various artistic profiles including Philip Guston, Henri Matisse, Albert Mertz, and Roy Lichtenstein, while challenging his own craft and style of painting. He paints his way in and out of the room, transforming figurative elements – chairs, table, paintings, bed, and coatrack into a semi abstract alphabet of shapes.

The artist’s room is a classical motif for a painter. Almost a cliché but at the same time one of the most serious and honest rooms a painter can enter. A painter’s gym. Trial and error. Surely pain and sometimes triumph. Behncke is evolving in front of us, becoming a better painter, not by the act of homage, but by sparring with the masters, investigating and painting. And painting and killing darlings and painting their grave. Creating his own gestures, his own jab and dance on the canvas, his own room.

Søren Behncke (b.1967) lives and works in Copenhagen. He previously had a solo exhibition at ARoS Art Museum and has recently been part of group exhibitions at Heart Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, Arken Museum of Modern Art and KØS museum for art in public spaces. He has travelled the world to make limited edition lithographic prints on site with the Mobile Printing Press in Vienna, Paris, Madrid, Helsinki, Venice, Reykjavik, and Warszawa. In May he will bring the mobile press to the scene of the crime: Arles where he will produce a series of limited prints. His temporary public sculptures and actions have been seen in New York, Copenhagen, Venice, Paris, and along Danish highways. An upcoming monograph Sorry No Image Available will be published by Space Poetry and released in conjunction with the exhibition. La Chambre is Behncke’s 5th solo exhibition with V1 Gallery. The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication documenting the process of La Chambre.

Søren Behncke and V1 Gallery would like to thank Statens Værksteder / Danish Art Workshops who awarded Behncke a studio residency for 2,5 months to complete his investigation into La Chambre. This institution has been pivotal in the creation process of many great works of art and we hope it will exist for many years to come no matter what strange and uninformed political winds are blowing. Ars longa, vita brevis.