Sonja Ferlov Mancoba

Sonja Ferlov Mancoba (1911-1984) is one of the most significant Danish 20th century sculptors. She studied at the School of Arts and Crafts and at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen.

In 1936 Sonja Ferlov moved to Paris, where she obtained a studio in the same building as Alberto Giacometti, with whom she established a lifelong friendship. She became the link between the international and the Danish worlds of art, and as such she contributed to introducing new views on art in Denmark. In 1938 she met her husband, the South African painter Ernest Mancoba.
She was active in the surrealist and spontaneous-abstract movement connected to artists`groups as Linien, Høstudstillingen and CoBrA, but developed her own characteristic idiom, inspired – among other things – by African and Mexican mask art.

She worked with her sculptures in an intuitive manner: They were created forthright, without any sketches and in dialogue with the material. Her work process was slow, meticulous and extremely self-critical. She went over the sculptures again and again only to often destroy the finished work, because it did not live up to the heavy demands that she made on herself. That is one of the reasons that only approx. 110 different sculptures from her hand are known.

Like her fellow artists Sonja Ferlov believed that art could contribute towards changing the world by communicating values like trust, equality, tolerance and humanity. She thought it to be the duty of the artist to create a connection between the world of art and the political and social world just as the shaman in so-called primitive religions creates a connection between the spirits and man.