Lasse Antonsen: In the Scriptorium

Event Date(s): 
Thursday, January 23, 2014 (All day) to Friday, February 14, 2014 (All day)
Opening Night Reception: Thursday, January 23 from 4 - 5:30 p.m.

Artist's Website:

For his exhibition, “In the Scriptorium,” artist Lasse Antonsen presents work that directly or indirectly incorporates and references books and text. Antonsen works with found objects that he recontextualizes by juxtaposing them to other objects and by presenting them as museum or art objects.

An early work, "Letters," from 1994, is based on a juxtaposition of pages from an adult literacy and handwriting book with dead moths. A recent work, "Not Quite Red," from 2013, features pages of photographs from a book published in Prague in 1982 that celebrates official Communist artists and features them in their studio. Antonsen has “blackened” their eyes with red strips taken from the endpapers of the book.

For Antonsen, art is about the individual, and the influence of culture and politics. Much of the work on display references philosophy and the philosopher’s role in society. Antonsen uses text by the German philosophers Husserl on the color red. He has also created several works that reference the life of Husserl's student, the philosopher Heidegger. Related to this work, which is about the philosopher's role in society, is a group of works, "Geöffnet," also from 1994, which feature envelopes inspected and censured by the Nazis before and during WWII. The envelopes are juxtaposed with cicadas, a gesture that for Antonsen references cycles of Fascism.

Although Antonsen's work is conceptual, he pays great attention to theatricality, and in presentation relies extensively on the enigmatic nature of objects and their evocative beauty.

About the Artist
Born in Vanløse, Denmark, in 1947, Lasse Antonsen has lived in the US since 1978, and now lives and maintains a studio in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Antonsen studied art in Copenhagen in 1963-64 at the Experimental Art School with artists Poul Gernes and Per Kirkeby, and art historian Troels Andersen. He studied art and creative writing in 1964-65 at Holbæk Kunsthøjskole with poets Inger Christensen and Poul Borum.

In the late 1970s, Antonsen studied art history at Copenhagen University and in the 1980s, he continued his studies at the Harvard University Extension Program, and later at Tufts University where he received an MA in art history in 1986.

Antonsen was director of the University Art Gallery at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth for twenty-five years where he curated and organized more than two hundred exhibitions, presenting the work of, among others, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Kathe Kollwitz, Georg Baselitz, Ilya Kabakov, Nancy Spero, Per Kirkeby, Ana Mendieta, Frank Stella, Paula Rego, Duane Michals, Josef Sudek, George Segal and Pedro Cabrita Reis.

Lasse Antonsen career as an exhibiting artist began in 2006, since which time he has exhibited widely, most recently at the Artists Foundation in Boston. More information about Lasse Antonsen, his work and his exhibitions can found at his website,

"(Antonsen’s exhibition) is beautiful, engaging, mysterious and beyond the fully knowable." -Artscope, June 2013

Artist's Work

Lasse Antonsen Gardener Series
from the Gardener Series
Lasse Antonsen  Letters number 5
Letters No. 5, 1994
Lasse Antonsen Mask
Lasse Antonsen from the Nocturama series
from the Nocturama series
(image from The Dedee
Shattuck Gallery)
Lasse Antonsen Not Quite Red
Not Quite Red, 2013
Lasse Antonsen Three Generations
Three Generations
Lasse Antonsen Vignette
Vignette, 2009
Lasse Antonsen Yucca Cabinet
Yucca Cabinet, 2009