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29th January 2018

Art on exchange: Copenhagen’s best exhibitions in 2017

Calypso April, a student abroad, talks of her experiences in Copenhagen’s thriving art scene
Art on exchange: Copenhagen’s best exhibitions in 2017
Photo: Calypso April

I arrived in Copenhagen in mid-August, which I was thrilled to find landed me in the middle of Copenhagen Art Week 2017.

Not only was this a wonderful introduction to the city and a great way to socialise, but it was also a fantastic introduction to the vibrant and diverse art scene that Copenhagen has to offer.

This first week inspired me to explore all the galleries and exhibitions that Copenhagen has to offer.

Here are some of my highlights so far:


Tove Jansson: Art, Love and Moomins at GL Strand

I find it hard to imagine that there is anyone who doesn’t love the endearing tales and illustrations of Moomins and Moominland. Tove Jansson’s Moomins are loved universally and this exhibition was an exploration of their charming world.

It featured a vast array of Jansson’s original sketches, illustrations, posters, and more. The final room of the exhibition featured a Moomin forest drawn on the walls, which guests were invited to colour in and elaborate on — a fun touch which played on the childhood nostalgia that the Moomins invoke for so many people.


Marina Abramović’s ‘The Cleaner’ at Louisiana

For those who have never heard of Abramović, she is a performance artist who has shocked and delighted audiences with the powerful use of her body in performances.

She is famed for her early works, such as Rhythm 0 (1974) in which she provided her spectators with a variety of objects (think — loaded gun, knife, razor blades) and allowed them to do whatever they wished to her for the six hours that the performance lasted.

More recently, Abramović was recognised for The Artist is Present (2010) in which she spent almost three months in the MoMA’s atrium, sitting silently opposite a member of the public.

Although The Cleaner did not include live performances from Abramović, I was captivated by it because it offered a vast and meticulously curated display of her life’s work, spanning over fifty years.

The exhibition was Abramović’s first major European retrospective, and it made for a challenging yet powerful viewing.


Rineke Dijkstra’s ‘The One and the Many’ at Louisiana

The appealing thing about Dijkstra’s photography is its deeply personal nature.

Her focus is on people in transitional periods of their life, such as bullfighters after a big fight, mothers just after childbirth, or a refugee child who has just arrived in Holland.

Most relatable to me was her beach series, in which she photographed teenagers on various holidays, awkwardly positioned for the camera. The photos are bright, bold and comically reminiscent of the awkwardness of adolescence — or mine anyway!

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