A Tribute to the Migratory Birds
My father had a huge book collection that I from an early age started to read. One of the books that made a big impression was ‘the Migratory birds’ by the Danish author and lyric Steen Steensen Blicher that included woodcuts by Johannes Larsen.
I am not a writer, but a sculptor so I am on thin ice and I do not see the poems as national romance as such, but that the universal romance of Enlightenment is that of nature has a spirit and the movement of the human soul can be read into nature and Blicher’s description of the world as a place of transit to almost religious or PreRaphaelite imagery.
You are born to die. Maybe the mystery is not before or after, but the fact that you are here.
Hannah Arendt writes that the most beautiful thing written in the The New Testament is the sentence “a child is born”. Something unique has entered the world, and the consequences of how this unique human being is going to act is unpredictable, since no one knows what the future holds. Therefore, both Karl Marx’s theory of Socialism and Adam Smith’s theory of Liberal- ism is about foreseeing the actions of the individual, based on well-reasoned arguments. The world is being clarified as a way of objectifying the world.
The fact that we were born with opportunities to act, but always in a constant movement into the unknown, can be perceived as determinism that either overcome in hubris or in tragedy. For Blicher “Weltschmerz” (a feeling of melancholy) is not a tragedy of an individual, but a fundamental condition.
The wonderful interaction between Steen Steensen Blicher’s poems about nature and Johannes Larsen’s “natural realism”, transmits nature and observations to the physical possibilities of the wood and the graphical abstraction. Larsen saw nature as a »value« in itself and as a scientist with his microscope he would transform his observation as independent phenomenons to physical possibilities and the graphic abstractions. This way of observing nature in a realistic way. The birds shows a respect, fascination and perception of the observed. “The object” becomes a passion, an enthusiasm between Blicher’s romantic symbolism and Johannes Larsen’s realistic view. This combination has inspired me since I was a child, and it continues...
It is striking to think back that this Larsen was in the 1960’s the chairman of the ‘Nature Foundation for Denmark’s Natural Values’ when the current Minister for Environment and Food of Denmark, another Larsen, Esben Lunde Larsen looks at our nature as a resource for growth, livestock and aquaculture without giving reflection. It points out that if we neglect the voice of the art, it will fail.