Born 1959, Silkeborg, Denmark

Education: 1983-87 The Fine Art Academy of Fyn, Odense, Dk

Selected exhibitions: ”Two Stations” Nordic Contemporary Art Exhibition in Xiamen, i Kina 2018. Process exhibition, Three Lions and Nine Hearts, The Amalienborg Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark 2012. Soloshow in front of the Parliament, Oslo, Norway 2006, Soloshow retrospective, Køge Collection of sketches, Vendsyssel Art Museum, Hjørring, Koldinghus Art Museum, Kolding, Dk 2004, ”Genius Loci” Søgne, Norway 2002, "The Medieval period viewed through our time", Vejle Art Museum, Dk 1999, ”New Danish church art” Esbjerg Artpavillion, Dk 1986, The Vraa-exhibition Vraa, Dk 2005-09, ”Corner” Charlottenborg, Dk 1996 -09,

Selected Public Commissions:  "Refraction", Stevns, Denmark 2020. "Cockpit", Lesja, Norway 2019. "Little Tectonic Square" Hirtshals, Denmark 2016. "Three Lions and Nine Hearts, Marselisborg Palace Park, Aarhus, Denmark 2012 ”The hour of the wolves” Aalborg Military 2007-09, ”Dreamer”, Kristiansand, Norway 2004-07, ”Downfall” Karlebo, Dk 2005-07, ”Whirl”, Porsgrunn, Norway 2004-07, ”Snake” Aalborg, Dk 2006, ”Seacreature” Hirtshals Town Hall, Dk 2005    ”Turned”, Vraa school, gift from New Carlsberg Foundation, Dk 2003-04, ”Tension”, Hjørring Railway Station, Dk 2002-03, ”Introvert stranding” Ny Hellesund, Norway 2001-02, "Three Wanderer's", Hedegård school, Ballerup, Dk 1999-01, ”Walking beast“ Næstved, by The State Art Foundation, Dk 1997-98, “Cliff Animal“ Aabenraa old Town-hall, Dk 1994-96, ”Creature” Quaq- ortoq, Greenland 1994, ”Lion and Snake, Samson and the Lion” theValgmenighedschurch, Odense Dk 1991-93, ”Sculptural landscape” next to Kunsthal Brandts Klædefabrik, Odense, Dk 1985-88                          

Selected Stipendiums / Prizes: Honorary award Minister Erna Hamilton's scholarship for science and art 2017. Appointment to Knight of Dannebrog order 2015. The Danish Arts Foundation, Gerhard Hennings Foundation, Thorvaldsens foundation, Silkeborg Art price, Prize for successfull commission, by Odense Council, Ole Haslunds Artist Foundations Honorable Prize, The winner of  The Academy`s Council prize contest ”Commission for a church”.

Teaching and lecturing: Cal Arts: California State Summer School for the Arts, Los Angeles, USA 2017 og 2018. Aalborg University. Billedskolen, København. Langelands Kunsthøjskole

"Claus Ørntoft has a tremendous sense of the numinous - the overwhelming in the sea, the overwhelming in the mountain mass, in granite. The overwhelming in the Universe. The holy.

It is not for nothing that he reads Kierkegaard and always thinks about existential questions. "Art and religion have always belonged together. It is about cognition. Art is cognition," he says."

Dean Lars-Erich Stephansen

"Animals, humans and strange beasts virtually force their way out of the granite in movements that are both violent and at the same time repressed. Ørntoft’s sculptures appear to be symbols of mythical, primordial force and physical strength, subdued to the point of breaking point by stringent shapes."

Museums inspector Birgit Jenvold

"It is an art to know how to place oneself. The garden becomes a better garden, the palace a better palace. Claus’s lions are on their way out to the woods, and in spite of their speed and their insistence, they are still imprisoned in the material, as if they leaped out of nature and froze in a thousandth of a second.

Despite their amorphousness, their indefinable breed, they have a presence, in their pure contact with the surface of the soil, despite their supernatural appearance, they become a part of everyday life. They are also a part of us, down to earth, among the guests in the garden. And yet, still this game of hide-and-seek - the sudden fossilisation of their physical bodies, they feel real but are never entirely real. There is a strange, abstract naturalness about Claus’s animals, and this is one of the greatest qualities of art - challenging reality, asking new questions and providing surprising answers."

Lars Juel Thiis, Architect and chairman of the Danish Arts Council

"Claus Ørntoft is one of Denmark’s most important contemporary sculptors. His art unites a superb technical know-how and a unique style, which bears witness to both his curiosity and his awareness of tradition. Ever since he was a young student at the Royal Academy of Art and cycled around to old Danish villages to learn from the Romanesque stonemasons, he has been fascinated by church art."

By Jeppe Ilkjær

"His sculptures are mostly of animals. Monumental, fabled animals, strange animals, funny animals, and animals in sculptural landscapes, but animals that often display human qualities. They often have a hypnotic attraction with compelling compositions that are mythical, mysterious, and possessed of a primordial power rooted in the Nordic. His messages hit home without the use of cultural viagra. They stand alone. Majestic and chiseled into the memory at first sight. His art can stand alone, but allows itself to be integrated into the architectonic whole if it is invited in."

Lars Ole Knippel

"When one encounters Claus Ørntoft's sculptures in school playgrounds, in public places, out in nature or close to churches, one is constantly surprised by the degree to which they create a new identity for the spaces in which they are located. They inspire us to create new contexts in our lives, whilst establishing new parameters in our everyday lives and stimulating our creative activity."

Else Marie Bukdahl, Dr. Phil, former Rector of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art 

"The artist usually respects the closed form of the stone block, but has also started to let his figures wrest themselves out of them, precisely as an expression of a stronger contact between the figure and the space. Claus’ work with the space is not limited to freestanding sculptures. He has a strong affinity for the interplay between the figure and the space, and has always thought the location into the environment during the planning of his projects."

by Nils Ohrt