Jens Galschiot: Biographical overview

Excerpts of the book that was published on the occasion of Galschiot’s 50th birthday, “I accuse – about the artist Jens Galschiot” by art critic Erik Meistrup. Published by, 177 pages with illustrations, ISBN 87-990178-0.6. is available as a PDF-file at: anklager/jeg-anklager.pdf

1954 Born on 4th June in Frederikssund by decorator Sophus Andresen Christophersen (born 1912) and Night-time-phone woman Edith Galschiot Christophersen (born 1917).  They name the child Jens Galschiot


1959 The parents are divorced, this breach deeply impacts the family, and the mother does not speak with her ex-husband ever again.
However she does allow the boy a monthly Saturday with the father. The mother keeps the two children in a three-room apartment in the public housing, Norreparken in Frederikssund. A housing where her two sisters also live, and where the family has a bigger social network.


1961 Jens Galschiot starts attending first grade, at the Falkenborgskolen in Frederikssund. He is a very restless and creative child. Something that in no way fits in at the time, this fact combined with dyslexia resulting in a school filled with endless battles with the teachers, which resulted in punishment. On the contrary the restless child worked well with his friends, and the housing where he grew up. The mother moves together with Carl Breslev. She is very fond of animals, which influences the home. Jens Galschiot thus experiences in his childhood among others having two monkeys, two red squirrels, a chipmunk, and birds.

1962 The older sister Hanne Galschiot moves because of conflicts with the stepfather.
The father gets his first children in his new marriage, Tina Lindgren Christophersen, later the children Mette (born 1965) and Morten (born 1971).

1965 The municipal school proposes that Jens gets a stay in the boarding school Lindasvold for maladjusted boys, the stay lasts three months.

1967 The mother dies of breast cancer, this completely catches the 13 year old boy by surprise, who has no idea about the seriousness of the disease. He demands to stay with his step dad in the environment which he grew up in. The conflict ends with him being more or less being force-transferred to live with his father. The step father has a hard time handling the death of the mother, and experiences a social de-tour resulting in his death.

1968 In 8th grade Jens Galschiot is given an ultimatum by the school principal: He can either choose to quit the school, or be expelled.  He chooses to leave the school by free will. At the same time his sister Hanne is done with education at the craftsman school in Copenhagen, as designer and weaver.

1969 Works as a factory boy in various places. He becomes a part of the 60’ies hippies movement, and experiments with narcotics.

1970 Jens wants to go back to primary school to get ninth grade, because he wants to go into apprenticeship as an electrician. The teacher’s council reject the application, but the principle overrules because he thinks that you can save the 15 year old from his starting drug abuse. Schooldays function okay, because of the new more progressive teachers, who are influenced by more pedagogical principles.

Jens starts a production of leather, bags, hair bands, and belts, sold partly by a street trading, and partly by a store owned by the father. He moves out of home as a 16 year old, and establishes his own workshop.

Works as an assistant in a kindergarten, but is fired by the social services who believe he sells marijuana to children. It results in a stoppage where the personnel from two institutions strike over the unjustified firing.

The father tries to affect Jens in a political manner, but this fails the first time, because he has declared his love to Zen Buddhism, which is a mile away from his father’s communist attitudes.

1972 The father is concerned with his sons excesses and offers to pay a stay at the
“Travelling high school on Fanoe”. Jens accepts the offer, and changes his self destructive course, permanently quiets the drugs, and becomes one of the angry intellectual youth rebels.

At the high school stay included a study tour in a house-bus. At the school the 17 year old Jens his coming life partner, Colette Markus.

Moves with other students in the collective in Horsens, Jens works as a laborer at factories in the area and go to study groups in left-wing theory.

1974 Purchases a large property in Odense with Colette among others, and establish a shared flat. A house the family in 2004 still live in.

1988 Galschiot has his first separate sculpture display at Gallery Noeglebaek in Odense, he presents mainly his “empty” aesthetic  woman clothes sculptures in copper.

1989 The fall of the Berlin wall, Galschiot has a proposition for a monument, and gets two tones of the wall.
Galschiot crafts the textile industries present for queen Margrethe’s 50th anniversary, “The coat of the ringbearer”  

1991 The artist had many exhibitions in art galleries and art societies.

1992 Exhibits at the International
art pavilion at the World Exhibition Expo 1992 in
Seville, Spain.

Meanwhile World Expo is on; the raging
brutal Yugoslav civil war is going on. Notably
Serbs are using mass rape of Muslim
women as a war strategy.
The war triggers
massive flows of refugees seeking
asylum in Europe and will include in Germany postponed
of violent reprisals from right-wing

These episodes are shaking Galschiot who at that
stage has an idea that the more
humanity is civilized, the smaller
chance of barbarism.
He will change this position in recognition that
civilization and humanism is only a
thin shell, which may craze anytime
conditions are present. His conclusion
is that barbarism will not be prevented because of
knowledge, but by people personally
building some moral stops,
how they treat other people.
This means that he can respond personally and
with an ethic based on social
frustration, he had with him since his youth.

It also means a decisive change in
His artistic production after 10 years
his aesthetic sculptures, are now complemented
with art that questions the
our ethics and morals.

1993 ‘My inner beast’, 20 ton
sculptures are set in 20 cities in Europe
under the motto "it's not the foreigners but
our response to strangers, which is a threat to our civilization.
He chose to portray his own beast
hence the name "My inner beast".
The inner beast happening leads to
Galschiot almost going bankrupt. He only gets
rescued by an insurance indemnity from Seville.
He starts modeling for his
masterpiece the pillar of shame.

1994 Galschiot buys his current workshop in Odense north.

Receives the teaching assistant federal “Jubi” price, 1994 at 25.000 DKK for the “My Inner Beast” happening.
Recipient Salaried and
Civil Servants' Joint Council
Culture Award, in 1994 at 50,000 DKK for
the “My inner beast” happening.

1995 The new workshop will frame
Around 'Elysium' a theatrical performance with
50 performers.

'The Silent Death'.
UN’s Social Summit in
Copenhagen is the setting for the happening of
15 tonnes of children-carcasses and 13 millions printed
evidence on children's lives, comes to dominate
large parts of public space on the Summit.

During the Summit NGO Forum presented
Pillar of shame the project for the first time, and
will be exhibited a 2 meter high model.

The webpage “Art in defense of humanism”
(AIDOH) created.

Building the Pillar of Shame in full size
(8 meters) begins

‘The Quiet Death’ brings back Galschiot
workshop on the verge of bankruptcy.
But he is
rescued by the great sculptural decoration 'The
Little Prince 'For the Fuglebjerg School at Sealand.
Galschiot creates models for the sculpture in the
native town of Frederikssund, where he resides
with his father who is seriously ill and dying in late 1995.

Receives  Gelsted / Kirk / Scherfigprisen, 1995
Shame for the Pillar of Shame happening

1996 Pillar of Shame completed and
presented for the first time in an international
coherence of FAO food conference
in Rome, where it is a landmark for
NGO Forum.
Recipient Korsloekke youthful spirit and
Joy Award, 1996

1997 Pillar of Shame established in Hong Kong
cooperation with the Chinese democracy movement
to honor the victims of massacre
Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989.
'Young people in glass - an installation about life before
death 'at the Town Hall Square in Copenhagen
Art installation focuses on
youth mental state.
'The earth is toxic'. In collaboration with
high school students in Odense set
2,500 white wooden crosses as a copy of a
war cemetery.
Recipient of the Golden Shovel '97, prize
strains from Danish Radio Christmas and
given for an exceptional contribution to cultural life.

1999 The pillar of shame is erected in Mexico in cooperation with the Indian movement.
The “Octopus dress” created in cooperation with Erik Mortensen, is set up.

2000 ‘The messenger’ is a part of Jubilee 2000, the campaign for debt relief for third world countries.

The third Pillar of Shame is set up in Brazil, together with landless farmers, MST.

Hands of stone, cooperation with amnesty international 2500 children hands, symbolizes the results of many children’s childhood conditions in the Third World.

2001The tenth plague '. Art Installation
becomes the basis in the trial on
patent medicine against South Africa.
'Just Do It'. The sculpture exhibition in Odense.

'The extreme stillness'. Scenography on the Unabomber,
terrorist Ted Kaczynski.

Galschiot appointed honorary craftsman
Odense by Craftsman and
Industry Association.

2002'Nightmare' Performance on
Roskilde Festival and at Town Hall in

Receives Scharnberg price and shortly after the Artist Cradle a grant of 50,000 DKK from
Jens Jensen artist cradle for his
"Reckless" projects as LO`s
Vice President Tina Aurvig-Scrap Berger
put it.

'Hunger March'. 25 famine sculptures are
used to focus on cuts in
foreign aid.

‘Freedom to Pollute’. A six feet tall, blue
Statue of Liberty helps the environmental movement to
to create awareness on environmental summit

'Survival of the Fattest. ‘ paints a picture that it’s the fattest, and those in power who define justice.
Justice is not a set size.

2003 'Asian pavilion'. The large sculpture
is used as a scene for the Asian
'From Duckling to Swan. "
Decorations for Micro
Matic in Odense.
10 year anniversary of My Inner Beast happening in

2004 'Tells the well'. Galschiot proposal
for a Hans Christian Andersen sculpture in Odense
on the occasion of the poet's 200th anniversary.