Homage to Tom Lindhardt and Kompan

The Jigsaw Became My Destiny

This article can be found here: https://fyens.dk/artikel/stiksaven-blev-min-sk%C3%A6bne

38 years. The workshop in Sødinge, where Kompan had three employees. From the memoir

The designer and artist Tom Lindhardt is the father of five and of many play equipment – but also many paintings. Now he shows 200 of them in his own warehouse at the Port of Odense

Sep 15, 2006 at 07:45

By Marianne Koch

– I have been painting since I was little and continued when I grew up. But it was only when an architect gave me a jigsaw in my hand and asked me to make a wall decoration of 10 meters that I found my form – and my destiny, says multi-artist Tom Lindhardt, 71.

Still, there is no jigsaw for many miles around, as I cycle right into his giant hall at the head of the Finnish Quay at Odense Harbor. Surrounded by water to three sides.

Here sits Tom Lindhardt with his wife and faithful helper Anne-Marie Bagger. In the middle of his own warehouse, comfortably located in some very teddy bear and very untrendy leather furniture, profits from a now sold country house.

On the walls around hang own paintings. In 200s and everywhere.

Large, medium and small.

– And in fact, it is possible not just to cycle in here. You can also drive in here by car. Yes, maybe you could call it a drive-in exhibition, it sounds thoughtful and increasingly enthusiastic from the man, whose life has taken on color and shape and eventually a lot of money, because he has always followed his intuition and worked on the motto that it one does, one must do of desire.

What also the many colorful memory, landscape, debate and writing pictures on the walls are talking about.

The play equipment company Kompan, which Tom Lindhardt created from scratch with boards, jigsaws and spray paint and whose first world hit was the rocking swing Spilophønen, was sold to Lego in 1995. And two years ago, the founder also left the board in his own life’s work.

Now life had to be concentrated on a completely different work of life – namely to stay alive and well and happy.

With the memory intact.

– I got a blood clot in my brain and lost both sight and memory. Fortunately, the sight came back quickly, but it struggled with memory, says Tom Lindhardt.

Therefore, he decided to write his memoirs. And since he is better at painting than at writing, it became the book “66 years in the service of form” – a very different memoir.

Here is a short text about something memorable in each of Tom Lienhardt’s first 66 years. Next to an image illustrating the text.

– First, I wrote the minimal text for each year. Later I painted it. And you can also see all 66 paintings here in the warehouse, says Tom Lindhardt and points to the 66 paintings from the memoir.

25 years: “In the United States, I learned that anything is possible”. from the memoir

Art a necessity

– Yes, but the large paintings on the other walls are actually excerpts from the small ones. Tom paints all the time and every day. I do not have numbers on how many paintings we have. The ones we have now exhibited are only a fraction, says Anne-Marie Bagger, who has composed the exhibition.

For Tom Lindhardt, painting is a way of living well. He does not paint to sell. He does not have to.

– When I was young and poor, I dreamed of one day being able to buy all the paint and all the canvases I wanted. I could not then, but I can now. And I do, because I can not do without painting.

– I lock myself in my studio every day. That is why I also have a studio in all the places we live – here in Odense, on Avernakø or on Mallorca. Painting is a happy state to be in. You are deeply concentrated and forget everything else, says Tom Lindhardt, whose memory painting has also helped to recreate the memory that the blood clot put a stop to.

– What I do not remember myself, Anne-Marie remembers, says Tom Lindhardt with a voice where the self-irony gets a soft edge when he mentions his wife.

Four years and on three wheels from the memoir

A book – a life

If you flip through the 66 pages of the memoir for 66 years, you are led in words and pictures into a long and in every way rich life.

It started in an apartment in the Skibhus district, led to an education as a watchmaker, a scholarship for an epoch-making US stay, the design of Gallery EXI in his and Amdi Petersen’s jointly purchased house on Hunderupvej in Odense, the abandonment of a good position in the Odense company Micro Matic, the invention of Spilophønen, design for and operation of Kompan in Ringe – and the quiet enjoyment of recent years.

“The rest of my life I intend to spend in the future and can therefore with this book for the future let the past rest in the present” as the introductory words to the memoir read – in the characteristic Tom Lindhardt way who loves to play with words and concepts.

Tom Lindhardt calls his gallery on Findlandskaj in Odense Lindhouse A / S. The man behind Kompan is now back as an artist.

The teachings of the United States

A PS reads: “I must for my life true thesis that only reality surpasses the imagination”.

One could also formulate Tom Lindhardt’s life with the words that last week’s culture award recipient, landowner Jørgen Langkilde, Bramstrup, used here in Stiftstidende about the importance of culture:

“Artists are good at finding the breaking point in a society and formulating the future. Therefore, they are helping to create the new forms of solution that we as a nation and as the world cannot be without”.

A Tom Lindhardt had also managed without the jigsaw.

He himself says that today he is a multimillionaire:

– In the United States, I learned that anything is possible. I have no particular nose for where money and art go up in a larger unit. No. That’s luck it all. It’s intuition. It is not the result of a thought process.

Adverse Childhood Experiences, COVID-19, and Play

One year ago this month, California Senator Mike McGuire and State Surgeon General Nadine Burke Harris, M.D., brought the message about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) to Mendocino County. Dr. Harris had recently been appointed as California’s first Surgeon General, following her ground-breaking work on ACEs’ impact on children and their health outlooks. Her message made it clear that adverse childhood experiences affect 34.8 million children across socio-economic lines, putting them at higher risk for health, behavioral, and learning problems.

I became aware of Dr. Harris’s work after hearing her NPR interview and reading her book The Deepest Well. She wrote the book based on her experiences at the Center for Youth Wellness that she established in the poorest sector of San Francisco. The impact of learning statistics and the success of her program had on my thinking was profound. To list just one example, the studies on which this program is based identified 10 ACEs. They also found that as little as three ACEs can lead to profound biologic changes, reducing life expectancy by 20 years.

So, what do ACEs have to do with COVID-19?  The pandemic has introduced many changes that exacerbate the impact of ACEs. One of the most profound and least recognized effects has been on normal play interactions by kids. For example, we have written several blogs on the critical role of rough and tumble play on children’s development of executive function, on which social competency is based. It was hard enough to allow for R&T play before the pandemic. Now? Fuhgeddaboudit.

It has become increasingly clear that our society will not be able to transition into a healthy and robust new normal until the issue of COVID safe childcare is addressed. The fact that children are asymptomatic vectors for the disease presents a huge challenge. Just the current practice of isolation of children from their grandparents alone is a daunting problem. The economic impact on daycare providers to reduce capacity and increased teacher ratios make the current situation unsustainable.

Tom Hobson has written extensively in his blog and books about early childhood’s essential physical intimacy on healthy development. The Play First Summit that Tom helped organize occurred over four days in July and reached more than 75,000 early childhood practitioners and experts. The outpouring of interest in COVID during the summit is evidence that there is real energy on this issue. It is past time that Tom and other child development thought leaders are brought into the discussion on solutions for the impact on COVID-19.

What is needed now is to combine the event that Mike and Dr. Harris held with the support of First Five California and the Play First Summit attendees. Such a gathering will bring both the expertise and scale to begin to develop and execute new protocols and programming with the potential to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Such a COVID Safe Play Summit will also help spread the awareness of ACEs in general to the places where parents, children, and teachers can effect change.