Læsø Artist in Residence

For many years, art has been an inextricable part of Læsø’s identity, and for almost two centuries the island has played a major role in the life and work of some of Denmark’s greatest artists.

What is particularly special is how the unique artistic retreats of two of Denmark’s and the world’s most acclaimed artists – Asger Jorn (1914-1973) and Per Kirkeby (1938-2018) – have been recreated and preserved. The nature, tranquillity, contemplation and the ability to escape from the bustle of the metropolitan art scene whenever they needed to, were essential for these two artists.

As a result of collaborations with a number of recognized partners in the Danish and international art worlds, Læsø AiR (Læsø Artist in Residence) will ensure that the retreats of the two artists remain a symbol of history and the artists’ work and residence on the island, serving as inspiration and support for future generations of artists.

The objective of Læsø AiR

The main objective of the Læsø AiR program is to supports the development of the artistic process and and research phase for professional visual artists by providing time, space and opportunity to reflect and immerse in the working process in the unique and appropriate settings on Læsø.

It is also a main focus of the Læsø AiR program to support the development of the artistic practice for professional artists and to promote the exchange between Danish and foreign artists and the Danish art scene. Furthermore foreign artists granted residencies will be given the opportunity to take part in networking activities with representatives from the Danish contemporary art scene.

Residents are also given the opportunity to present their artistic practice.

Læsø AiR’s partners

Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalborg, Museum Jorn in Silkeborg, Læsø Museum, The Danish Art Workshops (DAW) in Copenhagen, ‘Bangsbohave’ – Asger Jorn’s former artist’s retreat on the island of Læsø, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Visual Arts in Copenhagen, HDK-Valand – Academy of Art and Design in Gothenburg, Sweden and The Art Academy at the University of Bergen, Norway.

In 2023 Læsø AiR receives the kind support of

Augustinus Fonden, Gangstedfonden, Knud Højgaards Fond, Læsø Municipality, The Danish Arts Foundation, The North Denmark Region, The Obel Family Foundation and The Læsø Ferry.

The application deadline for residencies in 2025:

To be announced later.

Applications should be submitted using the digital application form, which is available at www.laesoeair.dk

In 2024, the Læsø AiR program for foreign artists will include

  • Use of the studio and accommodation in Per Kirkeby’s ideal, beautiful, authentic artist’s retreat, ‘Haabet’, on the island of Læsø, in its beautifully scenic seaside setting.
  • Payment of travel costs (economy class) to and from Læsø.
  • A monthly grant of DKK 7,500/EUR 1,000 to cover living costs, transport and expenses for materials and production during the residency.
  • Visiting programme to Danish art venues for foreign artists.
  • A local host and knowledge group for introductions and networking.
  • 1-2 public events; lecture, artist talk, open studio, performance or education as parts of Læsø AiR/ Læsø Art and Culture’s annual program.

Residency periods in 2024

Professional, foreign (non-Danish) visual artists can apply for stays of 12 weeks’ duration. Professional Danish visual artists can apply for residencies of 4 and 6 weeks’ duration. At Haabet – Per Kirkeby’s former artistic retreat – artist can attend the residency program at the same time.

Haabet, Per Kirkeby’s former artistic retreat
In 1979, the artist Per Kirkeby (1938-2018) visited Læsø. During the visit, his interest in the island grew and so did his wish to stay for longer periods of time and immerse himself in his artistic work and in nature. Later the same year, the Kirkeby family bought a share of Haabet from the previous owners, Søren and Inga Rasmussen. In the years to follow, the farm was owned jointly by the families.

By the end of the eighties, the existing space at Haabet became too small for the large formats that Per Kirkeby now worked with on Læsø and a separate studio was drawn in collaboration with Ib Rasmussen. In 1989 the big and beautiful studio was ready, placed a few meters from the actual farm and inspired by the white-chalked barns from the region of North Jutland.

After the death of Per Kirkeby in 2018, Læsø Art and Culture acquired the property from the Kirkeby family in 2019 with the purpose of creating a residency program for professional artists.


Who can apply?

According to the objective of Læsø AiR professional Danish and foreign visual artists (non-Danish), who can document exhibition experience and previous collaboration with curators at a professional level, can apply for a residency.

For Danish artists, it applies that they live in Denmark and primarily participates in the Danish art scene, and for foreign artists, it applies that they reside abroad and primarily participates in art scenes abroad.

In order to foster exchanges between Danish and foreign artists, Læsø AiR will due to spatial conditions primarily accept applications from individual artists. In the near future we hope to develop Læsø AiR and comply with the requirements of hosting artist groups.

The selected residents will be able to bring close family for a shorter periode of time by agreement with Læsø AiR. The costs of this will be covered by the resident.

It is not allowed to bring pets.

It is a requirement that the residents are able to communicate in English.

Requirements for Læsø AiR applications

  • A motivated application for a Læsø AiR residency
  • At least one solo exhibition/biennale/major public art project
  • References from 2 professional curators

The application must include

  • A motivated application (max. 1 A4 page)
  • A CV containing a minimum of one exhibition within a professional context and two professional referees (max. 2 A4 page)
  • Illustrations of works – at least five pictures. Text, titles and links can be added here (max. 5 A4 pages)

How will the applications be assessed

The following criteria will be given priority when assessing the applications:

  • the motive the applicant expresses must tally with the policy of the Læsø AiR residency programme. The main objectives of the program is to support the development of the artistic process and and research phase for professional visual artists by providing time, space and opportunity to reflect and immerse in the working process in the unique and appropriate settings on Læsø. And furthermore to build new relationships between Danish and foreign artists and the contemporary visual arts scene in Denmark
  • The applicant must be able to document their experience of exhibition/s in significant artistic contexts (i.e. solo presentations in museums or similar art institutions and/or participation in biennales and/or major public art projects etc.), and that
  • the applicant must be able to document previous collaboration with curators, providing the names and contact details of two professionel referees, who can comment on recent work and artistic development on a professional level, and that
  • the applicant must have an ambitious plan for their residency, reflecting artistic quality at a high professional level.

The applications will be assessed by Læsø AiR’s jury of artistic professionals

  • Ellen Hyllemose, Artist, MFA, The Royal Danish Academy of Art, Schools of Visual Arts, Copenhagen
  • Sanne Kofod Olsen, Mag.art., Vice-chancellor, Kungliga Konsthögskolan, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Jacob Thage, Senior researcher, Museum Jorn, Silkeborg, Denmark
  • Caroline Nymark Zachariassen, MA, Curator, Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalborg, Denmark

Applicants will be informed directly about the jury’s decision within six to eight weeks after the application deadline.

The application deadline for residencies at Læsø AiR in 2025:

To be announce later.

Applications should be submitted using the digital application form, which is available on Læsø AiR’s website www.laesoeair.dk

The story of Læsø’s artists

The isolated location of the island in the Kattegat has inspired artists from the mid-19th century to today. The intense light, the sea, the beaches, the meadows, the dunes, the seaweed houses and the tranquillity and space for contemplation the island provides have all invested Læsø with a very special place in the history of Danish art.

Since the Golden Age, artists – including many major names in the worlds of Danish and international art – have journeyed to Læsø to create art. They range from the Golden Age painters Martinus Rørby and P.C. Skovgaard to Michael Ancher, Viggo Johansen, Laurits Tuxen and the Funen painter Johannes Larsen. In the 1950s, modernist landscape painters such as Søren Hjort Nielsen and Johannes Hofmeister made Læsø their haven, while in the 1970s, the artist brothers Arne and Jørgen Haugen Sørensen developed a long-term association with the island. Today, the artist/author Erik Steffensen and the artist Absalon Kirkeby reside and work on Læsø for extended periods of time.

In 1964, Asger Jorn bought ‘Bangsbohave’, a farm on Læsø, allegedly without ever having seen it, going on to convert it into a dwelling and studio. The farm became Jorn’s Danish base in the last years of his life, until his death in 1973. In the late 1970s, Per Kirkeby visited Læsø, and in 1979 bought ‘Haabet’ as a place to stay and work, for almost three decades working intensely during his stays there.