CoBrA

carl-henning pedersen

In the 80s, my parents attended the FIAC Art Fair in Paris. They had taken the heavy gun with them – new works by Carl-Henning Pedersen. He was one of the best CoBrA painters, and so far everyone was unique. ⁠
So let’s get back in time; On the opening day, FIAC, at Asbæk’s booth. In comes a group of art lovers, guided by a very passionate and very French guide. It sounded something like this:⁠
“My friends. Here you experience real Cobra art. You call it Cobra because it is dangerous. A quick and furious expression. Lightning-fast in its attack – like the snake. There are bids in every single stroke. This is really wild and very Oh La la. ”⁠

Look, that’s completely wrong (but maybe a little typical French). My mother, Patricia Asbæk, is French herself, but she could not let this interpretation pass. So she spoke to the group and the guide – “It was once called CoBrA because the most prominent contributors came from Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam, respectively – and so …”⁠

The Oh La la turned to an angry look and off they went. Almost everybody in the group was gone, only an elderly lady stayed. My mother thought she was interested in real art history, but the older lady hit my mother on the leg with her umbrella and hissed: “You are an idiot. The other story was much better. ” And then she walked away to another booth at FIAC.⁠
The learning in this story is straightforward. What is factually incorrect can easily be an experiential and emotional truth. And quite frankly – when Carl-Henning Pedersen is the best, then there are bites in the strokes and colours go straight into the vein.
– Thomas Asbæk