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The National Solo Exhibitor 2017
Aase Seidler Gernes

By Louise Skafte

“The jury is thrilled to present the Charlottenborg Foundation’s National Solo Award to Aase Seidler Gernes in recognition of a her impressive lifework as an artist, a lifework that did not emerge from obscurity until late in her life. So what we are dealing with is actually a second debut, and for that very reason worthy of even greater respect.”

These were the words of the jury presenting Aase Seidler Gernes with the National Solo Award in 2016. In the 1950 s and 1960s Seidler Gernes was a prominent textile designer, known for her geometric circles, squares and brightly coloured compositions. But in 1968 she gave up her own career to assist her husband, the Danish avant-garde artist Poul Gernes.

Despite continuing to work as a textile designer throughout her life, it is first now that her achievements have ceased to be eclipsed by those of her husband. In addition, for many years textile art was seen as a ‘women’s craft’, which in an art historical context meant that it was devalued as an art form. With this National Solo Award the jury therefore not only grants Aase Seidler Gernes’ art the attention it deserves, but also honours textile art as an artistic medium on a par with all others.

Seidler Gernes celebrates her 90th birthday this year, so it seems fitting that the 2017 national solo exhibition should include works from her entire oeuvre from the 1950s to today. The exhibition has a selection of textile works from Seidler Gernes’ extensive textile printing in the 1950s, which includes tapestries, tablecloths and one-of-a-kind garments as well as curtains of the fabric Seidler Gernes and her husband created for Herlev Hospital, which adorn the beautiful, large windows of the exhibition space.

A large number of new drawings are included in the exhibition, living proof that Seidler Gernes continues to work undauntedly despite a stroke in 2007 that left her paralysed on the right side of her body and deprived her of the ability to speak and write. In the past she was right-handed, but has trained her left hand to draw with felt-tipped pens on paper. The exhibition pays tribute to a strong woman who lives and breathes for her art.

Born in 1927 in Frederiksberg, Denmark. Completed her apprenticeship at Nordisk Stoftrykkeri [Nordic Textile Printing Works], Copenhagen, Denmark in 1946 and graduated from Frederiksberg Technical School, Copenhagen, Denmark in 1948.