The Richard Mortensen Room

To create a space where architecture and painting merge: that is the main idea underpinning the Richard Mortensen Room at Trapholt.

While the construction of Trapholt was underway, the museum’s director, Sven Jørn Andersen, was in talks with artist Richard Mortensen about acquiring a couple of paintings for the museum.

By this time, the abstract artist Richard Mortensen (1910–93) had long been keenly interested in the interplay between painting and architecture. Mortensen proposed that if the architects behind the museum, Boye Lundgaard and Bente Aude, would design a room dedicated to Richard Mortensen’s art, he himself would create a series of paintings especially for the museum.

The project was duly realised: working in collaboration with the museum architects, Richard Mortensen created a polygonal space in which each work is given its own large, white wall. The Richard Mortensen Room was inaugurated as part of the official opening of Trapholt in 1988.

The nine paintings featured in the room cover different periods and series within Richard Mortensen’s overall oeuvre.

The sequence of the works is inspired by The Tale of the Cow,  an ancient East Asian myth with which Mortensen first became acquainted as a young man. The story would have a major impact on Mortensen’s life and artistic work.

The paintings follow the course of the simple narrative about a cowherd who has lost his cow, looks for it and finds it. The story may be regarded a folk tale with its simple plot reflecting a deeper significance. Briefly put, it concerns a man who reaches insight into the great questions of life and subsequently sets out into the world to speak about his experience – telling the Tale of the Cow. The story is cyclical, just like life itself.

The works in the hall do not constitute a unified or continuous narrative. Rather, they reflect Mortensen’s perception and expression of various states of mind explored over the course of the narrative.

The Richard Mortensen Room may be closed due to lectures and other events.