As its title implies, “Alternative languages – Asger Jorn, the artist as a social activist” highlights Jorn’s (1914 – 1973) artistic side as a social activist, while tracing the trajectory of his political activities. Guy Debord, Jorn’s fellow leader of the Situationist International, called Jorn an “agitator” in reference to the constant drive that kept his work moving forwards.
In retrospect, it is clear that Jorn was constantly attempting dialogue and cooperation in multiple directions, from his membership of the Communist Party of Denmark in the 1930s to the publication of art magazine Helhesten (The horse from hell), COBRA, the Movement for an Imaginist Bauhaus and the Situationist International; through this ongoing collective activity, he engaged actively throughout his life with various artists and thinkers. Jorn showed a wide-ranging interest in natural sciences, philosophy, political theory, economics, aesthetics, archaeology, and art history all the way from prehistory to contemporary popular art. Ruthlessly and without prejudice, he snatched incompatible elements from different fields of study, working to create organic links between them.