There I Belong at Statens Museum for Kunst

 

There I Belong is the first in a new series of exhibitions under the title SMK Plus where contemporary artists will explore the collections of the National Gallery.

For this exhibiion - Inspired by the works of the Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershøi who lived and worked in Copenhagen around 1900 - the artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset have collaborated with Marianne Torp and Tone Bonnén, the museum's curators of contemporary art.

Spartan interiors by Hammershøi are restrained and calm but they are enigmatic - paintings that tread a fine line between being self contained or depictions of a life of painful isolation. The paintings resonate with a contemporary audience, reflecting aspects of modern taste and restrained Scandinavian interiors.

There may be windows in these rooms but the view out to a world beyond is usually obscured by thin, translucent curtains … the natural light entering the room is crucial but a sense of place not so because these are studies in light but never put people, objects or place under a harsh spot light. Figures in the paintings are detached, generally absorbed in what they are doing, inward looking, often with their back to the viewer and in many of the paintings we do not even know if they are reading or writing or simply sitting with head bowed in quiet contemplation. Open doors indicate that there are rooms beyond but barely hint at a lived life.

Interior with the Artist's Easel, takes this to an extreme because, when painting the picture, the artist himself should be at the easel. The only conclusion has to be that there is a second easel at the point where the viewer is standing so are we the artist? Perhaps we have been co-opted into this quiet and private world but this is the ultimate antidote to that modern scourge - the selfie - where the photographer shows themselves at the centre of the scene, always the subject of the view, inevitably relegating an event or scene beyond to a secondary role.

The second gallery - a large space - shows the work Powerless Structures (8 doors) by Elmgreen & Dragset from 2000-2002. These are the most simple, basic, standard white doors imaginable, with plain white door frames but each is a variation in a theme of a detachment from the real or the functional … one door has handles and hinges on both the left and the right side so it would be impossible to open - another has a handle that is not on the door but on the wall alongside so it might or might not open - one door is slightly open to reveal a locked door immediately behind - one door is folded and wrapped around the corner of the gallery - a pair of doors on adjoining walls at another corner are separate but linked by a security chain as if someone might be able to squeeze through from a room on one side to another room without being able to get into the gallery.

This work, or a version of this work, was shown at Statens Museum for Kunst in 2015 in Biography - an ambitious set of major installations by Elmgreen & Dragset. Then, the doors were part of a corridor and a series of rooms that were in what appeared to be a government or public office building. If not obviously dystopian then the corridor was completely anonymous and designed to smother any sense of self. On entering you had a choice to go one way or the other but with no signs or notices to say where you were or why you were there although you could get a ticket from a machine to wait for your number to be called but it never would be, of course, and if you proceeded past these doors you could only return to where you started.

By now placing these doors on the four walls of a large gallery, the work takes yet another step back and pays homage to Hammershøi but expands his space until it is monumental in scale.

The exhibition includes photographs, paintings, sculptures and video by other artists - all taking the theme of doorways and spartan anonymity - with works by Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Lilianna Maresca, Francesca Woodman, Robert Gober, Annika von Hausswolff, Ugo Rondinone and Thomas Ruff. Only the work by von Hausswolff is from the museum collection with the other works either courtesy of the artist or on loan from galleries and private owners.

 

the exhibition at Statens Museum for Kunst / The National Gallery in Copenhagen
continues until 1 September 2019

Interior with a young woman sweeping, 1899

Interior, No 30 Strandgade, 1906-1908

Interior with the Artist’s Easel, 1910

Fællesskab anno 2019 - Biennalen for Kunsthåndværk & Design /

Community anno 2019 - The Biennale for Craft & Design

 

The Biennale of Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere - the Association of Craft and Design - is a major exhibition for craft in Denmark with a prestigious prize.

Following an open call for ideas for works on a theme of Community, eighteen were chosen for the exhibition at Nordatlantens Brygge in Copenhagen - an impressive 18th-century, brick warehouse at the centre of the inner harbour. The Biennale is in a gallery space on the attic floor with good light from windows on both sides so low, strong natural light, forms shadows across the space, as the sun moves round the building, but that light emphasises the confident use of deep colour and strong element of texture in many of the works.

Some of these works are about family - about the gift of food at the table or about memories of lost loved ones - and there is a strong sense of exploring - exploring through play and exploring through senses not always associated with design - specifically taste as in flavour - as well as the obvious senses that mean we can appreciate carefully designed shapes or the choice of a colour in beautiful and well-made object.

These are exceptional and unique works, formed, in large part, from common and everyday materials but, primarily, they are works that express individual imagination so are about communicating ideas … in some cases complex ideas. Shape and form and colour, choice of material and even technique of crafting those materials are all used as a way to communicates and become as valid as language and spoken words …. what Pernille Stockmarr identifies in the catalogue as "archetypal forms that make up a common primeval source of inspiration."

Several of the projects were produced together with other artists and the biennale is clearly an opportunity to share experiences and increase debate and discussion …. more than appropriate given the theme for the exhibition of Community.

 

Jury of the Biennale exhibition in 2019

Anni Nørskov Morch, exhibition curator of Koldinghus 

Maria Foerlev, owner of design gallery Etage Projects 

Pernille Stockmarr, curator at Designmuseum Danmark

 

Prize Committee for the Biennale in 2019

Pernille Stockmarr, curator at Design Museum Denmark 

Christina Zetterlund, freelance curator and lecturer at Linnaeus University in Sweden 

Peder Rasmussen, ceramist

 

Axel Salto Stentøjsmesteren / Axel Salto stoneware master

 

A major exhibition of work by the artist, designer and ceramicist Axel Salto (1889 - 1961) opened in February at Øregaard Museum in Hellerup - just along the coast to the north of the city.

Salto studied painting at the Royal Academy and graduated in 1914.

By 1916 he was living in Paris where he met Picasso and Henri Matisse and on returning to Denmark he produced, edited and wrote for a short-lived but influential journal Klingen / The Blade that was published between 1917 and 1919.

He was a member of the Grønningen group of artists and one of The Four with Svend Johansen, Vilhelm Lundstrom and Karl Larsen who exhibited together between 1920 and 1929.

In the 1920s he began to design ceramics and his stoneware pieces were produced in the workshops of Carl Haller at Saxbo keramik in Frederiksberg and he also produced designs for porcelain by Bing & Grondahl with his work shown at the Paris exhibition in 1925.

This exhibition shows a full range of his ceramic works from small stoneware bowls with incised decoration or bold moulding with Japanese-style glazes to large-scale works with scenes from Classical mythology or stylised nature.

Paintings and strong and very confident ink and line-work drawings, including designs for the ceramics, show clearly the style Salto developed from his training as a painter.

He also worked with the book binder August Sandgren and a selection of designs for end papers are shown in an upper gallery which have a distinct feel of the 1930s with deep colours and stylised and small repeat patterns.

 

the exhibition continues at Øregaard Museum until 23 June 2019

I Have Grown Taller from Standing with Trees - Claudia Comte at Copenhagen Contemporary

I have grown taller from standing with trees

Claudia Comte

Copenhagen Contemporary 8 February - 1 September 2019

 
 

This is a stunning exhibition in the main hall of Copenhagen Contemporary with the huge space filled with Spruce trunks that are six metres high but stripped of their bark and set on a carpet with a digitally-printed grid that becomes increasingly distorted as you move through the work.

The first rows of tree trunks are upright and set on the grid implying a carefully managed forest rather than natural woodland but the grid might also suggest the grid of roots through which, from recent research, trees are thought to communicate.

At the centre of the space is a large ceramic sculpture - the only dark form in the space - and beyond that the trunks are falling, either toppled by the ground appearing to collapse or with the apparent hollow created by the falling timber.

You are encouraged to climb on or over the trunks but watching people, it was clear that, as in a forest, the calm and the soft light means most slow down, talk quietly or sit and think - self absorbed. Light from windows and views out have been muted with white fabric that, as in a forest, undermines any sense of distance and direction.

The trees were around 100 years old when they were felled and the growth rings on the cut ends adds that dimension of time to the strong command of the corporeal space.

Claudia Comte at Copenhagen Contemporary

 

Irreplaceable Landscapes - Dorte Mandrup

left —
Icefjord Centre, Ilusulissat, Greenland to be completed in 2021

right —
model of Vadehavscentret / The Wadden Sea Center in Vester Vedsted completed in 2017

 

With the title Irreplaceable Landscapes, this major exhibition at the Danish Architecture Centre starts with the new Icefjord visitor centre and research centre that overlooks the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier in Ilusulissat on the west coast of Greenland.

Then, in the main exhibition space at BLOX, are models and information panels for an astounding trilogy of buildings - the three new visitor centres designed by Dorte Mandrup in three different countries that overlook three of the distinct seascapes of Vadehavet / The Wadden Sea.

Vadehavscentret - The Wadden Sea Center - completed in 2017 - overlooks the marshland of Vester Vedsted in Denmark; the Vadehavscenter - Wadden Sea World Heritage Center - in Wilhelmshaven in Germany will incorporate the remains of a war-time bunker and Vadehavscenter - The Wadden Sea Center -  is on the tidal waters of Lauwersoog in the Netherlands.

Dramatically, the floor of the exhibition space has been kept open but has been overlaid with thatch - the material used for both the roof and the walls for the Danish buildings - and around the walls are projected images of the sea and sky and foreshore of the natural setting of these buildings.


So, this is an exhibition about our relationship with the natural landscape - wild and powerful, but threatened landscapes - and about striking modern buildings and their place in those landscapes.

On one information panels, there is an important quotation where Dorte Mandrup explains her belief:

 

that a building can enhance a landscape - increase the drama or underpin its beauty when placed correctly and when shaped aptly.”


 

Vadehavscentret / The Wadden Sea Center in Vester Vedsted completed in 2017

Vadehavscenter / Wadden Sea World Heritage Center, Wilhelmshaven in Germany with completion planned for 2020

Vadehavscenter / The Wadden Sea Center, Lauwersoog in the Netherlands with completion planned for 2021



The exhibition includes models and photographs and drawings from more than twenty building projects by the architect, completed over a period of twenty years, and including many distinct and well-known buildings in Copenhagen. Shape and form and the volume of a space are the starting point but, in a very Danish way, details matter.

What you see in all of these buildings is a strong awareness of place and context - a sensitivity to location - but with the confidence to use new materials or materials in an unconventional way and, although the buildings have to be practical and functional - most are schools or libraries or community centres - there is always a strong sense of human scale, but also a sense of architecture used to challenge people through an adventurous use of unconventional shapes or volumes inside or through the use of unconventional shapes or roof lines outside.

But this is definitely not architecture used to impose an ego … these are not bombastic buildings from a starchitect - even the word is awful - but buildings that do push boundaries to challenge the preconceptions of the viewer and the user.

Another quotation from Dorte Mandrup helps to explain this approach because the studio:

 

insist on clients that share our ambition and courage -
in the end, the extraordinary requires nerve
.”

 

On the architect's internet site, there is a video about the Icefjord Centre - that describes how the building was conceived and how it will function. It is an object-lesson in how to talk about modern buildings and about architectural spaces - buildings that appear to be simple but are realised through an incredibly sophisticated construction; have a complex set of functions and - particularly with the Icefjord Centre -buildings where, ultimately, the landscape rather than the building has to have precedence but where that building is a crucial vehicle through which the visitor is helped to access and understand and appreciate that landscape.

 

Irreplaceable Landscapes - by Dorte Mandrup continues at
Danish Architecture Centre in Copenhagen until 26 May 2019

Dorte Mandrup

 
 

 

above —
Fælleshuset / Community Centre, Robinievej, Herstedlund, Albertslund 2009

below —
Neighbourhood Centre, Christian Svendsens Gade, Copenhagen 2001

 

Yellow at Officinet

An exhibition at Officinet - the gallery in Copenhagen of Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere - to show the works of the Danish artist Torgny Wilcke and the English artist Simon Callery.

Both artists have used the colour yellow for a common element and both use what are essentially functional every-day materials - for Callery heavy canvas and Torgny Wilcke timber and corrugated metal strip for roof covering.

Both work on a large scale with a strong presence in the space and both hint at potential practical uses for their works … the wall pieces by Simon Callery reference storage and the large floor pieces by Torgny Wilcke have been used for seating so they are challenging boundaries between art, craft and design.

Both use proportions to bring order and to assume control of the space in the gallery. 

 

the exhibition continues at Officinet until 24 March 2019
Bredgade 66, Copenhagen

Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere /
Danish Association of Craft and Design


Torgny Wilcke

Simon Callery

 

Klimabyer / Climate Cities at the Danish Architecture Center

On the staircase at DAC (the Danish Architecture Center) there is currently a small but important exhibition that was initiated and funded by Realdania.

Eighty two of the 98 municipalities in Denmark submitted projects that tackle problems caused by climate change From those solutions 100 were chosen for publication in Klima 100 2018 and a selection are shown here in the exhibition.

These examples confront a range of problems caused by adverse effects from changes in the climate. The best solutions were implemented at a local level and involved local communities but these projects can be adapted or scaled up to be implemented more widely … locally, regionally or globally.

All the projects have been judged against the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

What can be seen here is not just an impact in the way these solutions mitigate potentially serious and destructive problems but, at the same time, they can be seen to improve our built environment and can make positive differences to the way people live.

For some of these problems there are relatively straightforward and obvious solutions - so, for instance, by planting more trees or replacing hard surfaces with grass to control the run off of surface water - and some solutions employ existing technology while others require imagination and ingenuity to reverse the impact of a man-made environment A good example of this is where former streams and water courses have been reinstated where they had been taken down into culverts and drains or where natural wetlands are restored to manage drainage.

There are gains where nature has been brought back into cities and particularly where children are encouraged to understand how food is produced and to develop a positive and more informed attitude to the natural environment.

Other solutions have focused on encouraging people to change their behaviour. Recycling should no longer been seen as optional or as a chore and one of the projects featured in the exhibition has focused on how we can up-cycle more by using new facilities at city waste centre that can help people repair rather than dump possessions that are broken. 

In all this, at so many different levels, applied design has a crucial role.

 
 

note:

Headings below are taken from the information panels at the exhibition but are also active links to a relevant page on the Global Opportunity Explorer Klima goexplorer site and the numbers refer to the page in the publication Klima 100 2018 where the project is described and illustrated.

 

Sustainable city center [26]

The new City Hall in Middelfart has set new standards for the proposed life-span of its building materials and for energy use and water consumption both through the construction work and now when the building is in use. Solutions here may now seem obvious - so offices and functions spread around the town have been pulled together into a single location; floors use recycled wood; the building has 700 square metres of solar panels on the roof; waste heat is transferred to the district heating system and waste food goes to make natural gas - and together they are clearly effective. But perhaps what is more important is that the appearance of the building is of a thoroughly modern construction where there is no compromise of modern aesthetics. To put that another way, this building shows that nailed on old planks and chunks of moss and weeds on the roof are fine if that is what you want but it is not obligatory to achieve the very best green standards.

 

Sustainable renovation [27]

This is an important project for Copenhagen where the city has a substantial number of well-built apartment blocks that date from the 19th and 20th centuries although these may not be arranged in the best way to provide an arrangement of accommodation that people now expect and almost-certainly do not come up to current standards for insulation or for good natural light or for energy use.

This block on Gammel Jernbanevej in Valby was constructed in 1899 as purpose-built apartments with shops on the ground floor. The location is good, close to a railway station and in a pleasant street, and the building materials are durable but the apartments are small, lack bathrooms and the indoor climate is not good.

The aim of the renovation is to preserve historic features but optimise natural daylight so a new glass façade will be constructed out from the courtyard side to form a climate screen that faces west. This will add 10 square metres to each apartment and, with triple-glazed folding screens and flexible glazed sliding screens, on the line of the present back wall, that space could be used like a large balcony in the summer but during the winter will be a warm and well-lit extension of the living space.

An extra floor will be added to the block - to generate financial returns - and solar panels will be added on the new roof.

This is a Living in Light project 

Fremtidig-snit.jpg
 

A sustainable village from the ground up [31]

This is a new-built residential neighbourhood in Lisbjerg about 7 kilometres north of the centre of  Aarhus. New buildings have been designed to reduce environmental impact and citizens have been involved. The area will develop over 60 years and the municipality has produced a long-term plan for sustainability and has produced “inspirational catalogues” to guide architects and builders working on the next phases.

Building density is high and commercial buildings - and with them employment - have been brought back into the residential areas to reduce distances to travel to work or school. Water is collected after downpours and is filtered through limestone for flushing toilets and washing clothes and that reduces the use of treated drinking water by 40%.

Projects like this show that we have reached an important turning point in our approach to climate change and sustainability. For many of the first solutions, the focus had to be on adapting to the problems - so retrofitting solutions - but for new buildings we can now be proactive.

 

A new concept for food and knowledge production [58]

Impact Farm is a two-storey greenhouse that was installed in Nørrebro in Copenhagen in 2016. Intense cultivation on the top floor can produce between two and four tons of leaf green a year that is sold to local restaurants and cafes and the ground-floor space can be used for work and recreation including education workshops and food festivals.

Rainwater is collected and recycled so growing food consumes 70-90% less water than a regular farm. Components are pre fabricated and the greenhouse is built around a shipping container and after 15 months it was packed up and moved on to a new site.

Schemes like this have a vital role in helping children in towns and cities understand and appreciate how their food is produced.

Human Habitat - Impact Farm

Impact-Farm-Abdellah-Ihadian-2898-800x600.jpg
 

Robust nature in the city [67]

A new area of park and extensive urban garden has been laid out around the Marselisborg Centre in Aarhus with a focus on biodiversity and with integrated wetlands that utilise rainwater both for nature and for children so they develop a positive understanding of the natural world through play and exploration. Schemes like this are changing radically our preconceptions of what urban landscaping should look like.

 
 

Courtyard garden project [75]

An imaginative scheme for a courtyard of 3200 square metres at the centre of an existing apartment building.

Many of these large courtyards in the city simply have grass or low maintenance hard surfaces but neither deals well with the heavy rainfall from storms. In this courtyard, a "climate wall" built with recycled concrete will create a temporary lake to hold back water when there is a storm - in a heavy storm in Copenhagen enough rain can fall over a few hours to flood the ground floor and cellars of buildings, flood streets and overwhelm and damage drains and sewers.

To control storm water by holding it back on the surface, rather than letting it surge immediately through storm drains, is now described as a "blue solution". Here the planting, described as "biomimicry", is closer to true or wild nature and, again, schemes like this are changing attitudes and expectations about planting in urban landscapes.

More information about Fremtidens Gårdhave / Courtyards of the future can be found on the site of the Lendager Group.

 

Ancient landscapes shapes new urban space [96]

In this landscape project in Vejle, Jutland, rain water is held back as it drains down into the fjord.

This is another good example where climate resilience, over a large area, not only creates an attractive new landscape but also creates popular and well-used space for physical activity.

 

Securing the coastline for the future [104]

Le Mur / the wall protects the harbour of Lemvig against rising sea levels and destructive high tides. The solution here has been to build a concrete wall in sections with steel gates to close gaps that normally give access to the water.

Hasløv & Kjærsgaard Arkitekter with the engineers COWI

 

Recycling and upcycling for the future [157]

A former paper factory - Maglemølle in Næstved - is now a centre for green companies that recycle and upcycle materials including the collection and sorting of glass by Reiling Glassrecycling that is then reused by Ardagh Glass Holmegaard.

 

Klimabyer / Climate City
5 December 2018 - 15 February 2019 

The Stair Gallery,
Dansk Arkitektur Center,
Bryghuspladsen 10, København K

 

Danish Architecture Center

Goexplorer.org/klima100

TRÆ, SAKS, PAPIR / Wood, paper, scissors

Karmstol, Stitched wood and a Skammel and Massive weaving

 

Knitted wood

Massive weaving and Folded wood

Knitted weaving and Folded wood

Knitted wood

An important exhibition of recent work by the furniture designer and architect Else-Rikke Bruun has just opened at the gallery of the Association of Danish Crafts and Designers in Bredgade .

There are several strong themes running through the works shown here but perhaps the most interesting and surprising idea is about not just defining space but also exploring shadow as a strong component as if it is itself a material element in the design.

Five screens in wood - the main works - define space but also occupy space and very considerable care was taken to set the lighting and to use the natural light of the gallery so strong shadows on the floor dissolve the sharp edge between the vertical of the screen and the horizontal surface of the floor and views through the screen and light coming through the screen from the other side change as you move round the space.

After completing her training as an architect Else-Rikke Bruun studied Arabian architecture for three years and here not just the fragmenting of light but also the use of precise geometric forms show the influence of Arabian architectural forms. Walking around the exhibition Else-Rikke explained that she is fascinated by patterns and the way we look for patterns and geometric pattern has a strong role in architecture of the Middle East, North Africa and southern Spain.

Influence from Japan is acknowledged both in the way the screens and the arrangement of faceted blocks of wood in the chair and in small panels reference the Japanese art of folding paper - two panels in wood are titled Origami panel - but also there is the sense of a Japanese aesthetic in the calm and measured division of space - a key feature of the way the pieces have been arranged in the gallery.

All the works shown are made with incredible precision so they also have the quality of fine engineering - particularly in the way separate pieces are linked or joined together or have different forms of hinge: all the screens can be articulated to adjust the angles of the parts or the alignment of the whole screen and Knitted wood folds back in on itself.

Another strong theme is inspiration from textile art and that is shown directly in the titles of three of the works … Stitched wood, Massive weaving and Knitted wood. This is not just about how elements interlock - Veneer has what are in fact giant warp and weft in cut plywood - but, as with woven textiles, the visual character from a distance is different from the complexity and subtlety that is revealed as you move closer.

Four of the works exploit the properties of laminated wood and develop different techniques for cutting to shape, bending, linking or interlocking plywood.

Use of colour is important but generally subtle … the screen titled Massive weaving uses spray paint so colour is strong on the cross-cut ends of the battens but fades out along the length. This work was developed with the colour artist Malene Bach. Generally subtle except that Knitted wood has a strong colour on one side that counterposes the shadow as you look through the interlocking curves.

The exhibition is the culmination of over a year of work specifically but actually develops and builds on themes that were first shown by Else-Rikke Bruun in the craft Biennials in 2015 and 2017.

Immediately  before the exhibition Else-Rikke Bruun had a residency at Statens Værksteder for Kunst / Danish Art Workshops in Copenhagen and in a longer review here both the development of the main ideas and themes of the exhibition and the role of the workshops in giving artists access to space and equipment to realise their work will be discussed.

Stools in Oregon pine were made by Anders Petersen Collection & Craft in Copenhagen.

Karmstol, the chair in the exhibition, took, as a starting point for its design, round-headed niches at each end of this gallery. It is not strictly site specific but does hint at just how carefully-considered this work is with strong references to the design of Classic Danish chairs while experimenting with both form and construction techniques. It is an important piece that blurs our artificial boundaries between art, craftsmanship and utility and will be the subject of a separate post.

Danske Kunsthåndværkere og Designere

Else-Rikke Bruun

 30 November 2018 - 20 December 2018
Officinet, Bredgade 66, Copenhagen

Mød Vikingerne / Meet the Vikings

 

A redesign of the exhibition space at the National Museum in Copenhagen for the display of their collection of Viking artefacts was opened officially yesterday.

A first small square gallery has an introduction to this new display with images of three warriors and larger than life images of the king Harold Bluetooth and Tova his queen with the reconstruction of a throne. There are important items from the museum collection but displayed along with rubber portrait heads.

In the main gallery beyond, one long wall has further large figures of characters from the Viking period with a merchant, a housewife and so on and with each given a pen portrait or short back story.

My first reaction was that I wasn't sure if I was being introduced to Vikings warriors who were the first competitors from an early version of the Roskilde Festival naked run - but with fancy head gear - or to hipsters who have been living in Vesterbro since 875 AD and to kings and queens who were unbelievably attractive people who had just had a sauna and scrubbed up well before going to the equivalent of a casting session at HBO or Netflix but in the 9th century.

But actually, although I'm being sarcastic, I'm not about to launch into an attack although there has been some heated discussions in the press over the last couple of days about how authentic the costumes are or if some artefacts have been shown together when they are not contemporary and much about where on their bodies Viking men had tattoos … or not.

These costumes and setting for the reconstructions are by the Danish designer and author Jim Lyngvild although the museum has been quick to emphasise that these are based on current academic reassessments although much has to be speculative because, for instance, fragments' of rich silks brought back from the middle east have been recovered from excavations but few garments.

However, on balance, it is a good attempt to make us, the visitor, look again at our view of Viking life and Viking culture and particularly if that view is confined to stories of long ships and warriors wearing horned helmets who headed off on raids to plunder and pillage.

The story here draws attention to trade, culture and governance and looks at just how far Danish traders travelled and just how much was brought home from not just Baltic neighbours but through trade and conquest of Northern England; from settlements in Ireland and then south through areas of France and by the Viking traders travelling through the Mediterranean to trade with the Middle East to bring back valuable goods from as far away as Persia.

But the exhibition is also careful to point out that the vast majority of the population stayed at home with the wealthy taking care of large estates farmed by peasants and servants. The role of women was more nuanced than we might assume for with men away trading or fighting, aristocratic Viking women may have had a large degree of freedom and power. The exhibition also looks at recent ideas on the role of women in these expeditions abroad. Women would have travelled with the fighting ships to form new settlements and although some may consider the idea of shieldmaidens as a myth, some warrior graves have been identified as female graves.

I learnt a lot. For a start Viking men seem to have been fastidious about grooming and in one excavation of grave goods they even found silver ear spoons. I actually looked but IKEA seem to have dropped them from their catalogues sometime since the 10th century.

the new exhibition is at Nationalmuseet, Prinsens Palæ, Vestergade 10, Copenhagen

Nationalmuseet  / National Museum

 

Brooches that were part of a hoard from Hornelund near Varde. The fine filigree work and the form of decoration with vine leaves indicate that they are by Danish goldsmiths and date from the second half of the 10th century. 

Hoard from Terslev in Zealand with silver weighing nearly 7 kg including an astounding 1,751 coins. Buried in second half of the 10th century. A large bowl may have come from Persia showing the huge stretch of Viking maritime trade.

Sword from 800-900 AD found in Søndersø Lake in Northern Jutland. It has elaborate decoration with silver thread and fragments of the scabbard suggest it was not lost in battle but was possibly part of an offering of thanks.

Jørn Utzon Horisont / Jørn Utzon Horizon - Dansk Arkitektur Center

 

 

A major new exhibition has just opened in the Golden Gallery – the lower exhibition space at the Danish Architecture Center in Copenhagen – to mark the centenary of the birth of the Danish architect Jørn Utzon who was born in April 1918 and who died in November 2008.

Under the title Horisont / Horizon, the exhibition makes extensive use of models, audio-visual presentations and the reproduction of many photographs taken by Utzon himself as he travelled widely and looked at traditional buildings in North Africa, Iran, Nepal, China and Africa and at the buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright in America that all inspired his work or were, at least, used as a starting point for some of the most imaginative and most eclectic modern buildings of the second half of the 20th century.

 

8 November 2018 - 3 March 2019
Dansk Arkitektur Center / Danish Architecture Center