Som et møl mod flammen titel

Like a Moth to the Flame. Martin Bigum & J.F. Willumsen
February 10th. – July 28th. 2024

Dobbeltportræt af Martin Bigum og J.F. Willumsen Som et møl mod flammen

There is a series of incredible coincidences in the works of Margin Bigum and J.F. Willumsen. Themes, color tones and motifs sneak in and out of each other across time and place. These coincidences – which have in the exhibition been placed side by side – in themselves make a juxtaposition between the two artists interesting. However, it is the artistic process, seen from the perspective of the creative artist, that is the core of the exhibition. At the exhibition, the audience can experience paintings, lithographs, sculptures, photographs, drawings, and sketches by Willumsen and Bigum – from their very young years to their more mature productions. Also, Martin Bigum’s collection of songs and poems “Overmorgen” and piano improvisations will be part of the exhibition in dialogue with the exhibited works.

It is Bigum’s dazzling communication skills and personal approach to both his own works and the wider history of art that he brings into the exhibition. Based on his own and Willumsen’s artistic practice Bigum takes the audience through the often demanding and complex aspects of the artistic process. The exhibition is a journey though being a visual artist and it offers a look behind the scenes of both Willumsen and Bigum through Bigum’s present narrative.


Martin Bigum
Selvportræt efter H.C. Andersens Skyggen

J.F. Willumsen
Projekt til en statue af maleren

The title of the exhibition is Bigum’s own words for the life of an artist and the artistic creation:

“Like a moth into the flame. That is probably the best way one can describe art making. You make your art without anybody asking you to do so. I can almost hear the crackle, the sizzle, the sudden flare up and the irrevocable burn up that occurs when the moth is lured by the dancing flame of the wick and flies into it. Yet not quite. As – contrary to the moth – not all artists burn out. Some appear unharmed on the other side like a Phoenix Bird or a Pegasus. “

With these words as the guiding principle, the exhibition unfolds with a sharply angled focus on exactly the fragile, bold and for some incomprehensible and always fascinating of an artist’s life and the creative process. Like a moth into the flame. Martin Bigum and J.F. Willumsen unfold precisely such sides of an artist’s life that are not always revealed to the public, but to which for good reasons Bigum has access. The side where the drive towards reinvention and innovation also implies a risk of burning out or burning up completely. With Bigum’s entirely personal approach to the artistic process, the door is opened to what it means to depict the world in pictures – both the visible and invisible world – the world no one asked for. The world no one knew that we were missing. The world we, now that it exists, absolutely will not do without.

Martin Bigum
Radical Myth (Henrik Nordbrandt)

J.F. Willumsen
Sophus Claussen læser sit digt “Imperia” op for Helge Rode og J.F. Willumsen

As a moth into the flame. Martin Bigum & J.F. Willumsen will be shown at Willumsens Museum from 10 February to 28 July 2024 after which it will be passed on to “Randers Kunstmuseum” (The art museum of Randers) where it will invite the guests into Willumsen’s and Bigum’s universe from 10 August to 10 November 2024.

A catalogue with texts (in Danish) by Martin Bigum and art historian Merete Sanderhoff, who is co-curator of the exhibition and who has an in-depth knowledge of both Willumsen’s and Bigum’s production, will be published for the exhibition. The texts supplement the impact of the exhibition with even more aspects and perspectives that are revealed by the meeting between the two artists.

Martin Bigum
The Father

J.F. Willumsen
Maleren og hans familie