The sound art of Jacob Kirkegaard explores ways to reflect on complex, unnoticed or unapproachable conditions and environments. In 1981, at the age of six, Kirkegaard made his first sound recordings and in 1994 he was introduced to the world of sound art. His works have treated themes such as radioactivity in Chernobyl and Fukushima, border walls in global and metaphorical contexts and melting ice in the Arctic. Two of his recent works are immersive acoustic explorations into global waste management and of processes related to when a human being dies. Since 2006 Kirkegaard has also been extensively researching, recording and creating works using otoacoustic emissions; tones generated from the actual human ear. The core element and method of his work derive from the use of sound recordings of the tangible aspects from its intangible themes.
Kirkegaard has presented his works at galleries, museums, biennales and concert spaces throughout the world, including MoMA in New York, LOUISIANA - Museum of Modern Art and ARoS in Denmark, The Menil Collection and at the Rothko Chapel in Houston, The Sydney Biennale in Australia, Aichi Triennale in Nagoya, the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Japan.
Jacob Kirkegaard has gallery representation through Fridman Gallery (New York, USA) and Galleri Tom Christoffersen (Copenhagen, DK). His work is represented in the permanent collection of LOUISIANA - Museum of Modern Art in Denmark.
Kirkegaard's sound works have been released on labels such as Important Records (USA), Touch (UK), mAtter (JAP) and Posh Isolation (DK). He is a founding member of the sound art collective freq_out as well as the not-for-profit arts organisation TOPOS. In 2016 Kirkegaard was the sound-artist-in-residency at St. John's College, University of Oxford, U.K.
The recording locations of the Danish sound artist Jacob Kirkegaard are especially poetic: His albums have revealed the empty rooms of Chernobyl, the inside of morgues and the otoacoustic emissions of his own inner ear. New York Times, June, 2020, by Christopher R. Weingarten
One of contemporary sound art's most subtle, intriguing figures. More artistically minded than field recordings, more naturally hewn than noise tapes, Kirkegaard amplifies hidden worlds into evocative drifts. Rolling Stone, December 2015
Kirkegaard has countered Duchamp’s dictum, “One can look at seeing, one can’t hear hearing.” Douglas Kahn, Earside Out, 2014
For all the scientific rigour to Kirkegaard's research into the sonic possibilities of various materials, his work reveals an underlying fascination for the mysteries and myths embedded in them. His work channels an access to an inner world. Anne Hilde. Neset, The Wire, 2009