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 J. V. Martin  (1930 - 1993)

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Lived/Active: Denmark      Known for: painting, illustration, cartoons, writing

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Victor Jeppesen Martin is primarily known as J. V. Martin

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
Nedbrydning (degradation), oil on canvas, 23 3/4" x 28", signed titled and dated 1969 on verso
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

J.V. Martin (AKA: Victor Jeppesen Martin, AKA: Martin Viktor Jeppesen, AKA: Martin V. Trillingsgaard) was a painter, illustrator, cartoonist and writer who was born, lived and died in Randers, Denmark.
His mediums were oil, acrylic, enamel, gouache, pencil, collage, lithography and mixed mediums.  His subjects were social commentary, culture, politics, irony, eroticism, nudes, thermonuclear war, abstraction and landscapes.  His best known styles are Abstract Expressionism  (Action Painting) and Detournement (1).

He defines his art as “New Irrealism”.  His abstract expressionist work is colourful and seemingly chaotic, with little apparent attempt at order, concept or harmony.  The smears, slashes and drips of bright colours are punctuated with heavy impasto that often appears to be squeezed out of the tube onto the canvas.  His signature “Martin” is usually a prominent part of the painting.  The works seem to mimic graffiti or vandalism.  The subjects of his cartoons and illustrations are political commentary and eroticism.  His best known collages are of maps of the world with political messages. Quotes: “Art can be realized only by being suppressed.” and  “Long live the popular art of toilet graffiti, (suggestive language deleted)…” – J.V. Martin.
Martin was self-taught.  His influences were Sven Dalsgaard (see AskART), Asger Jorn (see AskART), Dada (see AskART glossary) and the CoBrA movement (see AskART glossary). His travels include Venezuela and Spain in 1971.
In 1957 he was one of the original members and leaders of the artistic, political and cultural movement called Situationist International, an offspring of several things among them CoBrA, Lettrism (2), Dada, Imaginist Bauhaus and Surrealism.  Other founders were Asger Jorn, Jorn’s brother Jorgen Nash (see AskART) and the French writer Guy Debord. Other artist members were Ralph Rumney (see AskART), Armando (see AskART) Jacqueline de Jong (see AskART), Lothar Fischer (see AskART), Heimrad Prem (see AskART), Helmut Sturm (see AskART), Hans Peter Zimmer (see Ask ART), Ansgar Elde (see AskART) and Constant Nieuwenhuys (see Constant in AskART).  The movement’s political ideology was anti capitalist and called for the destruction of modern consumer, mass media driven society.  Its artistic components were detournement*, Anti-art, graffiti and Dada (see all in AskART glossary).  They produced films, paintings, graphics, comics and posters. Their artistic stance was ‘there is no situationist art only situationist uses of art.’  Their most famous/infamous venture was decapitating the sculpture of the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen harbour (1964).  A tamer example was mechanically painting 70 to 90 foot rolls of canvas then cutting them up to sell as individual works of art.  Its architecture advocated buildings suspended from wires and cities constructed as one labyrinthine interconnected structure.  The movement went through many purges and splits, J.V. Martin and Guy Debord were its only two constant members from its beginning to end, in 1972.
Among Martin's exhibitions are the “Destruction of RSG# 6”, Situationist International show in Odense, Denmark (1963).  He exhibited at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, in the ''On the Passage of a Few People Through a Rather Brief Moment in Time: The Situationist International, 1957-1972.'' (3) (1989) traveling exhibition, which visited the Institute of Contemporary Art, London and  the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.  He has also exhibited at the Grand Palais des Beaux-Arts (Paris), Halmstad Museum (Sweden), Skive Museum (Denmark), Randers Museum of Art (Denmark), Viborg Stift Museum (Denmark) and Gallerie Moderne Silkeborg ( Denmark).  In 2007 the Randers Museum of Art had the exhibition titled "J.V. Martin" and in 2008/ 2009 the Esbjerg  Art Museum (Denmark) included him in the exhibition "The Map is Not the Territory". (5)
His works are in many private collections. Some of the public collections are the National Gallery (Copenhagen, Denmark), the Silkeborg Museum of Art (4) (Denmark), and the Halmstad Museum (Sweden).
His hometown of Randers honoured him with a street named "J.V. Martin".
As a very controversial radical activist there are many newspaper and magazine articles about him and his activities which include pornographic postcards mocking the Danish and Greek Royalty (1964), protests against NATO (1964), and the bombing of his home (1965).
He was editor of the magazine Situationistisk Revolution and did much writing on the Situationist movement.  Some examples of his articles titles are:  Response to a Questionnaire from the Centre for Socio-Experimental Art (1964); Operation Playtime (1968); and All culture is collective - notes on collective creativity (1974).  He is a contributor to the book Situationist International Anthology (1981), published by The Bureau of Public Secrets, Berkeley, Calif. (406pgs).  He also illustrated the book Hanegal, Gallisk poesiealbum(1961), by Jorgen Nash.
(1) Detournement is reusing well-known images or found items to create a new work with a different and often opposite meaning. Examples are speech balloons attached to photos of famous people, additions of expressionist brush strokes and paint to photo-copies of famous paintings or composing a book entirely with clipped pieces of existing text and images.
(2) A Dada derived movement founded in 1945 by Isidore Isou, (see AskART).
(3) The title of a 1959 Guy Debord film.
(4) Asger Jorn contributed 5000 works by himself and 150 other artists to the Silkeborg Museum of Art.
(5) Scientist/philosopher Alfred Korzybski’s (1878 – 1950) theory of General Semantics called for a change in our awareness through “consciousness of abstracting”. He suggested we change our approach to the world by acknowledging our beliefs about it are often being mislead by the abstract words we use to describe it. His most famous quote is "The Map is Not the Territory".

Prepared and contributed by M.D.Silverbrooke and Eeva Isaksson

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