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Uwe Max Jensen

Controversial Danish shock artist bleeds for his work via The Peninsula

Danish shock artist Uwe Max Jensen has courted controversy for years, using his unorthodox and provocative work — some of which make use of his own blood and excrement — to test the outer limits of art appreciation.
In a soft voice and with an almost juvenile expression, the 34-year-old father of three insists he is not “a lunatic, not a provocateur.”
“People do not like the natural materials that I use in my work: blood, urine and excrement…. They prefer oil on canvas!” “It’s free of charge, and we all have it in our bodies,” Jensen adds.
His latest installation is no exception to the irreverent style: every morning and evening in the last week of July, Jensen walked his dog Rocky on the lawn of the Aarhus gallery, the last word in cutting-edge art, leaving “messages” from his pet on the grass.
“It’s a gift for the museum because they do not have to pay for the exhibit,” explains Jansen.

The gallery is no stranger to Jensen’s pranks.
In January 2005, he relieved himself on the “Waterfalls” sculpture by Danish-Icelandic sculptor Olafur Eliasson. “I have not improved the work,” he said at the time. “I have merely added a little local art, which is sadly lacking in this museum.”
Some simply consider him a vandal, while others see genius in his work, pushing the limits of conceptual art.

An exhibit displayed in Stockholm in 2002 featured his own mother, a washing machine, a tumble-dryer and an iron, entitled “Mother’s Laundry”. Members of the public were encouraged to leave their dirty washing at the exhibit and collect it, freshly washed and pressed, as they left, “thus liberating visitors from their domestic tasks and mundane daily routines to allow them to focus on art.”

He shocked the art world again last March with a live performance at an Aarhus museum where he made a sausage from his own blood. His 11-year-old daughter then passed the sausage around to onlookers to taste.
Jensen admires other artists who have made use of bodily functions, such as Frenchman Marcel Duchamp for his “Fountain”, a urinal, and the Italian Piero Manzoni’s creation “Artist’s Shit.”
He has also attracted the attention of maverick Danish film director Lars von Trier, who invited Jensen to celebrate his 50th birthday in May at a provocation-suprise-absurdity-themed party.



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