National Gallery of Denmark - Press releases Latest posts en National Gallery of Denmark - Press releases 18 16 Latest posts TYPO3 - get.content.right Tue, 03 Apr 2018 16:37:00 +0200 Large donation brings Matisse masterpiece to the National Gallery of Denmark With a substantial million-euro donation, the New Carlsberg Foundation and the Augustinus...

SMK – National Gallery of Denmark owns one of the largest collections of Henri Matisse’s art found anywhere outside of France. Now the museum adds yet another important work by Matisse to its collection, which now numbers 25 paintings and sculptures and a large number of works on paper. Back in 1928, Johannes Rump – an engineer, politician and art collector – gave his collection of modern French art to the museum, and even today his generous gift makes up the majority of the museum’s collection of Matisse’s art.

Nymph and Faun from c. 1911, the Matisse collection of SMK not only grows by one picture; it also grows more complete: this particular piece has a special connection to Denmark and relates directly to the SMK collection and history in many ways. Nymph and Faun is among the largest single donations made to SMK in recent times.

The Danish connection
Nymph and Faun originally came to Denmark in 1919, having been purchased by the prominent Danish art collector Christian Tetzen-Lund. Up until 1924, Tetzen-Lund owned one of the world’s largest and most important Matisse collections, which he kept at his private residence in Copenhagen. Several of the works now found in the French collection at SMK were originally owned by Tetzen-Lund before being bought by Johannes Rump and subsequently donated to SMK.

With the acquisition of the painting Nymph and Faun, the museum can now offer a more complete and nuanced presentation of Tetzen-Lund’s famous collection, which constitutes an important chapter in the history of Danish art and culture. The painting was acquired via Christie’s private sales service.

‘Because it was part of a Danish collection in the early 20th century, we have been on the lookout for this painting since the 1990s. Back then, we didn’t succeed in tracking it. Indeed, it is very rare to see early works by Henri Matisse on the market. So we feel extremely privileged to have been offered the opportunity to acquire the work. We look forward to sharing this beautiful and tremendously interesting painting with our many guests from Denmark and around the world,’ says Mikkel Bogh, director at SMK.

An important picture
Nymph and Faun offers an important key to our understanding of Matisse’s art during a period where he experimented with new modes of expression. The subject itself, two bathing figures in a landscape, connects this picture to other figure compositions in the SMK collections. But with its loosely applied, vibrant brushstrokes and sketch-like nature, the picture also exemplifies an important dimension to Matisse’s experiments that has hitherto remained unrepresented at SMK.

The work was of key significance to Matisse himself, as is clearly demonstrated by the fact that it appears among other key works from the period in the large, revolutionary painting
The Red Studio, 1911 (The Museum of Modern Art, New York), which also happens to include other important works from the SMK collection.

One of the great masters
Matisse (1869–1954) is considered one of the leading masters of 20th century art. He is particularly well known for powerful, vibrant pictures executed with a keen sense for the beauty of colour and line. Throughout his life, Matisse maintained an explorative approach to his art, always challenging his own idiom and trying out new modes of expression.

Nymph and Faun will be on display at SMK from 27 March 2018.

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> Matisse-themed Easter activities for children

For more information, please contact:

Karen Ormstrup Søndergaard

Head of Press, SMK
T: +45 2565 9252

Karen Søndergaard Mon, 26 Mar 2018 14:40:00 +0200
New exhibition: Symbols in art – rebellion and new imagery The exhibition Hieroglyphs at SMK focuses on the important position held by the art of drawing in... By the late nineteenth century, a group of Danish artists had grown tired of the naturalist endeavour to depict reality in an objective, neutral fashion – some even believed that naturalism constituted an artistic dead end. Instead they directed their gaze inwards, towards humanity’s inner lives, emotions and thoughts. Thus, Danish Symbolist art is often called ‘images of the soul’ – giving rise to pictures that are both decorative, mystical and enigmatic. Great emphasis is placed on form, and the art of drawing took on a key position in the overall rebellion against naturalism.

Opening on 19 April, the exhibition Hieroglyphs at SMK presents 100 works of art that allow visitors to explore dreams and visions embodied through symbols such as gnarly trees, flowers, ceramics and pregnant women.

Not just a rebellion
Big words and an urge to rebel fuelled the group of artists who brought Symbolism to life on the Danish art scene. Among them we find Mogens Ballin, who is part of the central circle alongside figures such as Ludvig Find and G. F. Clement. In 1891 Ballin states that the young artists ‘have a great, revolting corpse to put into the ground … Naturalism – for that is the name of the corpse – is dead’. The artists’ association and exhibition venue Den Frie Udstilling (The Free Exhibition) is also established in 1891; this is where the Symbolists can have their work exhibited. What is more, Johannes Jørgensen publishes the journal Taarnet, which helps give Symbolism its great breakthrough in Denmark. In the journal, Johannes Jørgensen states that the artists want ‘a visual language that seeks to give voice to the Eternal through earthly hieroglyphs’.

Hence the name of the exhibition at SMK. Hieroglyphs are stylised pictorial symbols, signs of something deeper, of another world, just as the Egyptian hieroglyphics are characters in the form of pictures. J.F. Willumsen was among those who, according to the reporters and writers of the time, sought for hieroglyphics that he could use in a new visual idiom. Perhaps seeking to familiarise himself with other ways of expressing oneself, he copied an entire side of an Egyptian sarcophagus at the Louvre in Paris.

Major sources of inspiration
With their new imagery and visual language, many of the Danish Symbolists made a lasting mark on the Danish art scene. Among them we find Johannes Holbek, a prominent idealist and angry young man of the age. He worked as a satirical cartoonist for several papers, including Politiken, and his penmanship was wild and uncompromising. He was much admired by his close friend, Jens Lund, as well as by fellow artists such as Storm P. and, later, Asger Jorn. Holbek was also rediscovered even later, in the 1980s, by the poets and writers of the punk movement.

Another of these artists is Jens Lund, who mainly employed a decorative style characterised by prominent lines. He uses arabesques, curlicues and fantastically entwined figures in organic ink drawings that artists such as Richard Mortensen and Asger Jorn would later regard as precursors of Surrealism.

The exhibition Hieroglyphs – Symbolist Drawings 1890–1910 features drawings from the Royal Collection of Graphic Art, paintings from the SMK, ceramics, and drawings on loan from institutions such as Vejen Kunstmuseum, Museum Jorn and the Storm P. Museum.

At the opening of the new exhibition venue Den Frie in 1891, J.F. Willumsen exhibited the etching Fertility, which caused quite a scandal: the deliberately simple picture seemed coarse and unlovely to many – and was certainly radically different from what audiences were used to seeing. Observers were also outraged by how Willumsen’s heavily pregnant wife, Juliette, is depicted without any concessions to modesty, flanked by wildly sprouting ears of grain as a symbol of procreation. Translated from French, the text says: ‘Old art has its old language that the world has gradually come to understand. New art has a newly created language that the world must learn in order to understand’.

Hieroglyphs – Symbolist Drawings 1890-1910

19 April – 12 August 2018

Official opening 18 April 17.00–19.00. All are welcome. Free admission to the exhibition. For press access prior to the opening, please contact Kitt Andersen (tel. +45 3023 9103 or to set up an appointment.

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The exhibition is sponsored by

For more information, please contact:
Kitt Andersen
Journalist, SMK
+45 3023 9103

Thomas Lederballe
Senior Researcher, SMK
+45 25 52 72 28

Karen Søndergaard Tue, 03 Apr 2018 16:37:00 +0200
Frederik Bille Brahe opens new eatery at the National Gallery of Denmark With Kafeteria, the National Gallery of Denmark (SMK) gets a new restaurant that will help raise... In March 2018, renowned Danish restaurateur Frederik Bille Brahe will open his new restaurant, Kafeteria, at SMK – the National Gallery of Denmark. Located right by the main entrance, the new eatery can be visited without buying a ticket to the museum itself. The new café is an important milestone in SMK’s ongoing efforts to invite a wider audience to enter the museum.

As the name strongly suggests, Kafeteria is a cafeteria-style restaurant. Working closely with chef Jakob Kjær, Frederik Bille Brahe has developed a cuisine based on simplicity and reasonably priced dishes. The two creators focus on quality, seasonal and local produce and have a firm ambition to be 100% organic. The restaurant has its own bakery, offering a large selection of home-made cakes and bread freshly baked on the premises.

Frederik Bille Brahe is no stranger to the Danish art scene: after a career spanning several gourmet restaurants he opened Café Atelier September, transforming the renowned Copenhagen boutique-cum-gallery. Last year he also created the popular Apollo Bar & Kantine at Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen.

‘Working with Frederik Bille Brahe and Danh Vo, we want to set new standards for what a museum café and food experience can be,’ says Mikkel Bogh, director of SMK. ‘Kafeteria is envisioned as a place where museum visitors – and all those who simply pop in for a meal or a cup of coffee – get an experience that is infused by the spirit, the history and the collections found in this place’.

Italian DIY furniture and Japanese lamps
The ambition behind the new eatery is to establish a synergy between food and art. Reflecting this, the interior of Kafeteria was designed in co-operation with the Danish-Vietnamese artist Danh Vo, who is currently exhibiting his works at the Guggenheim in New York – and will exhibit at SMK this autumn.

Danh Vo is interested in the history that underpins design and art. His choices for the new SMK restaurant include the Italian designer Enzo Mari’s ‘do-it-yourself’ furniture. In the 1970s, wishing to make design objects more readily available to more people, Mari created a furniture concept that enables people to assemble his designs themselves out of low-cost materials.

The distinctive new floor of Kafeteria was laid using broad oak planks from Dinesen Floors’ GrandOak series. Designed in 1956 and sporting a distinctive spindle backrest, Poul M. Volther’s iconic J46 chair will also be part of the interior, as will Nanna Ditzel’s (1923–2005) ‘toadstool’. The lighting consists of lantern-like lamps created by the Japanese-American artist and sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904–88), who is famous for his sculptural furniture and lamps.

Opening reception 21 March 17.00–20.00.
All are welcome

Corporate events
Kafeteria is also happy to deliver custom-made menus for corporate events at SMK. Frederik Bille Brahe and his team will bring in Danish and international partners to create gourmet food experiences of the highest international standard for your event.

Brunch & supper
Every Saturday and Sunday, Kafeteria serves brunch, and every Wednesday the eatery supports the SMK Wednesday events by offering the opportunity to have supper at the café or bring it home with you as take away.

The Kafeteria team
Chef Jakob Kjær (formerly of Admiralgade 26, Manfreds)
Restaurant manager Rikke Mie Bygmann (formerly of Relæ, Geranium and Saturne in Paris)
Chief barista Klas Rehn (formerly of The Corner and Koppi)

Opening hours
Mondays closed
Tuesdays–Sundays: 11.00–16.45
Wednesdays: 11.00–19.45
The menu will be online at from 1 March
Follow Kafeteria on Instagram at kafeteria.smk

Karen Søndergaard Sun, 18 Feb 2018 17:55:00 +0100
‘The next great moment in history belongs to us’ From February, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark will unfold an entire universe surrounding one of... ‘The next great moment in history belongs to us’. That is how Ursula Reuter Christiansen’s art film The Executioner from 1971 ends. The short film rebels against widespread historic and contemporary perceptions of what women’s role should be – such as that of motherhood – looking ahead to a time of genuine female emancipation.

Ursula Reuter Christiansen plays the main protagonist in the film, which was created during the artist’s first years in Denmark. The film takes the form of a series of tableaux that include her encounter with the titular executioner in a field of poppies; with an exhausted soldier, whom she breastfeeds; and with a flock of beer-drinking men busily digging her grave.

A constantly evolving work
The Executioner stands among the key works in Ursula Reuter Christiansen’s oeuvre and is one of the most important works within Danish feminist art. Now, the work has served as the basis and cornerstone of a total installation at SMK, created in collaboration with the artist. Ursula Reuter Christiansen’s work on The Executioner did not stop in 1971. Ever since, she has continued to build on its themes in other media, such as paintings, photographs, artist’s books and silkscreen prints, that all incorporate elements from the original film.

The installation at SMK brings together the film and the subsequent works of art – and in addition to this the display also includes props from the film, such as costumes and the executioner’s axe, tapes of the original soundtrack by Henning Christiansen and cuttings of media coverage from the period, allowing visitors to explore how the film was received by the feminist scenes in Denmark and Germany.

Ursula Reuter Christiansen: THE EXECUTIONER
8 February – 10 June 2018

Press Preview: Tuesday 6 February, 10-13
To sign up, please contact Karen Ormstrup Søndergaard, Head of Press SMK,

>> Press images

Ursula Reuter Christiansen, 2017. Photo: Brittany Laura Overgaard / SMK

For further information, please contact:

Birgitte Anderberg
Senior research curator
Tel. +45 2552 7211

Karen Ormstrup Søndergaard
Head of Press
Tel. +45 2552 7203

About Ursula Reuter Christiansen

The German artist Ursula Reuter Christiansen (born 1943 in Trier, Germany) graduated from the Akademie der Künste, Düsseldorf, in 1969. At the academy she studied under professor Joseph Beuys. She married the Danish composer Henning Christiansen (1932–2008), and in 1969 the couple settled in Askeby on the Danish island of Møn, where Ursula Reuter Christiansen still lives and works today.

Reuter Christiansen was a professor at the art academy in Hamburg (HfBK) from 1992–97 and professor of painting at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen from 1997 to 2006.

She represented Denmark at the 2001 Venice Biennial alongside Henning Christiansen. Reuter Christiansen’s other exhibition activities include Kunsthal Charlottenborg (2016), MOCA, Los Angeles (2007-08), Kunsthallen Brandts Klædefabrik (2000) and more.


Annette Rosenvold Hvidt Mon, 22 Jan 2018 13:33:00 +0100
From idea to masterpiece: how is a work of art made? A new exhibition at the National Gallery of Denmark (SMK) discusses how artistic creativity has... Throughout the spring of 2018, SMK visitors can explore works by Donato Bramante, Paolo Veronese, El Greco, Rembrandt van Rijn, Edgar Degas, Nicolai Abildgaard, Bertel Thorvaldsen, Christen Købke, P.S. Krøyer and many other great masters of art history. The exhibition Art in the Making delves into the artists’ creative processes, offering insight into their deliberations as they created their works.

For how is a work of art made? How do ideas arise, and what processes does the work undergo before it is finished? These questions are addressed in this exhibition, which invites visitors to trace the evolution of selected works of art – from the initial idea to the finished work.

Presenting more than 150 drawings, fine-art prints and paintings dating from the fifteenth to the twentieth century, the exhibition allows visitors to explore the relationships between sketches and finished works – and how artistic creativity has unfolded itself in different ways through the ages.

The exhibition shows rarely-seen works from the Royal Collection of Graphic Art as well as a range of major masterpieces from e.g. the Louvre in Paris, British Museum in London, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm

The myth of the creative genius
There are many myths about how a work of art is created. Most of them share the assumption that artists possess special creative gifts that set them apart from other people. Inspiration, the ability to see possibilities that are hidden to ordinary mortals, and the ability to engross oneself completely in one’s work are the three most frequently seen factors in the various myths about how art is made.

The exhibition Art in the Making deflates these myths by demonstrating how creativity is very much a working process. And that most artists have made their works of art through the application of experience, craftsmanship and hard work, with each finished work being preceded by plenty of sketches.

A lifetime of research
The exhibition Art in the Making is based on the lifelong study of  Old Master drawings conducted by Chris Fischer, senior researcher and head of SMK’s Centre for Advanced Studies in Master Drawings. An internationally acclaimed expert, Fischer has conducted extensive research within the field and arranged exhibitions at institutions such as the Louvre in Paris, the Uffizi in Florence, the Courtauld Gallery in London and Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam. He is the world’s foremost expert on the work of the Italian Renaissance artist Fra Bartolommeo, who ranks alongside Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Michelangelo as one of the four pre-eminent artists of the High Renaissance.

The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive book written by Chris Fischer. Here, selected works of art are subjected to a close study of the creative process, exploring every step from idea to finished work. The author also considers factors such as tradition, finances and societal demands and how they have influenced the working procedure as well as the finished work of art.

From idea to masterpiece. An exhibition about artistic creation
8. February – 6. May 2018

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Press view of the exhibition: Tuesday 6 February 2018 from 10.00 to 13.00.

Also opening on 6 February: Ursula Reuter Christiansen: The Executioner

For more information, please contact:

Chris Fischer
Head of SMK’s Centre for Advanced Studies in Master Drawings, Senior Researcher
Tel.: +45 2552 7212

Mette Houlberg
Art Interpreter
Tel: +45 2552 7186

Karen Søndergaard
Head of Press
Tel.: +45 2552 7203

Major international artists featured in the exhibition

Hans Holbein the Elder (German, 1460-70 – 1524), Vittore Carpaccio (Italian, Ca. 1460 – Ca. 1526), Donato Bramante (Italian, 1444 – 1514), Fra Bartolommeo (Italian, 1472 ­– 1517), Paolo Veronese (Italian, 1528 – 1588), Federico Barocci (Italian, 1528 – 1612), El Greco (Greek, 1541 – 1614), Guercino (Italian, 1591 – 1666), Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606 – 1669), Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini (Italian, 1675 – 1741), Jean-Baptiste Greuze (French, 1725 – 1805), Edgar Degas (French, 1834 –1917)

Major Danish artists featured in the exhibition

Nicolai Abildgaard (1743 – 1809), Jens Juel (1745 – 1802), Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770 – 1844), Christen Købke (1810 – 1848), P.S. Krøyer (1851 – 1909), Niels Larsen Stevns (1864 – 1941), Edvard Weie (1879 – 1943)

Most of the works on display are rarely-seen pieces from the Royal Collection of Graphic Art at SMK, but the exhibition also includes loans from international collections such as the British Museum, London; The National Gallery, London, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Royal Collection, Windsor Castle; Fondation Custodia, Paris; Louvre, Paris; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.

Karen Søndergaard Mon, 22 Jan 2018 12:48:00 +0100
New exhibition at SMK delves into the relationship between artistic creation and institutional support From 7 December 2017, the x-room venue at SMK – The National Gallery of Denmark will show the... From 7 December 2017, the x-room venue at SMK – The National Gallery of Denmark will show the exhibition SÅ LÆNGE DET VARER* by internationally renowned artist Nairy Baghramian. With an installation produced especially for the x-room, Baghramian reflects on the role of the institutional frame as an experimental space that is made available to contemporary art.

In her multi-layered sculptural work, Nairy Baghramian implements an architectural reminiscence of the Renaissance Society in Chicago, thus referring to the history and meaning of this influential US institution. Through the transference of the grid-like ceiling structure from the Renaissance Society into the x-room at SMK, she creates a situation that calls attention to the general interdependence between artistic creation and institutional representation.

Reflecting on the ceiling grid at the Renaissance Society in Chicago, initially conceived as an architectural feature holding lamps etc. and then, over decades, worked over and repeatedly subjected to interventions by artists, Baghramian uses the grid almost as a matrix. The structure has since been taken down, but Baghramian obtained a piece of the original grid to cast her sculpture from. In her version, the originally solid, load-bearing grid structure is transformed into light, semi-transparent shapes propped up by thin polished metal rods.

The steel truss grid can be seen as a support structure for The Renaissance Society and has become an iconic representation of the institution and the pioneering curatorial work of Susanne Ghez, who, through her unwavering continuity and loyalty to the institution over 40 years, represents the urgency of permanent commitment. The Renaissance Society represents an institutional framing that has been inspirational to institutions interacting with contemporary artists. Baghramian’s sculptural work meanders through the x-room pointing to the experimental potential, which spaces like this are supporting.

Baghramian is generally interested in supports – in what holds up something, in that which something stands upon, in what underpins and shores up functions in our bodies, in our spaces and in our everyday lives.

As is often the case in Baghramian's installations, she introduces a further level of meaning through a photographic work: The self-portrait Smart Water, which is an artistic reference to the conceptual artist Michael Asher’s seminal public sculpture Untitled, 1991, located on the campus of the University of California San Diego. The photo shows Baghramian drinking from Asher’s sculpture, which transfers a well-known architectural feature from official US buildings, a drinking fountain, into stone, and into an outdoor space.

The exhibition title SÅ LÆNGE DET VARER* is a translation of the text piece AS LONG AS IT LASTS by the artist Lawrence Weiner, who in 1994 painted a version of this work on the walls of The Renaissance Society.

About Nairy Baghramian
German artist Nairy Baghramian (born in 1971 in Isfahan, Iran) lives and works in Berlin, Germany. The x-room exhibition constitutes the artist’s first solo show in Scandinavia.

Baghramian’s exhibition activity includes DOCUMENTA 14, Kassel (2017), Skulptur Projekte Münster 2017 and 2007, and solo shows at e.g. Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2017–18), S.M.A.K. Museum of Contemporary Art, Ghent (2016), Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2015), Art Institute of Chicago (2014).

Nairy Baghramian: SÅ LÆNGE DET VARER*
7 December 2017 – 2 April 2018

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>> About x-rummet

Official opening 6 December 17.00 to 19.00
All are welcome. Free admission to the exhibition.

For press access to the exhibition prior to the official opening, please contact Ayoe Torbensdóttir,

For more information, please contact
Marianne Torp
Chief curator and senior researcher
T: +45 2552 7224

Ayoe Torbensdottir
Communication assistant
T: +45 2552 7205

Thank you for support to the x-room


Ayoe Torbensdóttir Mon, 04 Dec 2017 17:47:00 +0100
Family life in 2017 is up for discussion in new show at SMK British artist Gillian Wearing is interested in real life experiences. In her art she gives people... Throughout her career Gillian Wearing has addressed the question of how the concept of family is perceived and should be understood today. She seeks to illuminate the many different ways relationships form the patterns of our lives.

From 13 October 2017 Gillian Wearing – Family Stories features a range of the artist’s works from 1992 to the present day that works with the theme of the family. The work includes photography, film and sculpture.

Gillian Wearing explains her interest:
“I look for situations where there is an element of truth. People can’t relate to a made-up fantasy of what a family is; they might aspire to it for themselves. But if they are to view someone else’s situation then they want something that is honest,” says Gillian Wearing.

Her new work A Real Danish Family, involves 492 Danish families, a jury, a TV show and a large-scale public bronze sculpture of a Danish family that will be unveiled on 13 October 2017 at SMK – which is also the day the museum opens the exhibition Gillian Wearing – Family Stories, parts of which chronicles the process of finding A Real Danish Family.

13 October 2017 – 7 January 2018
Gillian Wearing  – Family Stories

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>> Read more about Gillian Wearing here
>> Read more about the catalogue GILLIAN WEARING Family Stories

A Real Danish Family

Public sculptures traditionally depict larger-than-life figures: famous people, royalty and mythical heroes, never families. However, with the nationwide sculpture project "A Real Danish Family". The project was first launched in the autumn of 2016, at which point all families in Denmark were invited to take part in a competition where they might end up immortalised in bronze. A total of 492 signed up, and a jury eventually picked one family as the winner. They have now sat for a life-sized bronze statue that will be erected in Copenhagen.

The Danish Broadcasting Corporation, DR, followed the entire process: From interviews with the various families who signed up all across the country to the jury’s deliberations and the final choice of the winning family. DR has made three TV programmes about the project; these will air for the first time on 2, 9 and 16 October 2017 on DR2.

Wearing has carried out similar sculpture projects twice before, in Trento and in Birmingham. On those occasions they were called "A Typical Trentino Family" (2008) and "A Real Birmingham Family" (2014).

“I think it’s really hard to relate to most monuments around the world. They are famous people and they are normally very high up in lofty situations and you can’t see them. They’re on a pedestal and they are carved from a fictional idea of that person. Where this will be based on real people that are living now. And the clothes they wear now. I want to do this in bronze because a family should be strong, like bronze,“ explains Gillian Wearing.

The "A Real Danish Family" project was initiated by Kunsthal Aarhus and carried out as a collaboration between Gillian Wearing, Kunsthal Aarhus, DR and SMK. The project is supported by the Bikuben Foundation, the City of Copenhagen and the Danish Arts Foundation.

For more information, please contact:
Marianne Torp, Senior research curator
Phone: +45 2552 7224

Karen Ormstrup Søndergaard, Head of press
Phone:  +45 2552 7203

Karen Søndergaard Wed, 20 Sep 2017 09:07:00 +0200
SMK Fridays: Your brainy Friday bar is back Music, art talks and a salon where you can have your ears painted green: SMK is ready to launch a... On 25 August SMK welcomes all to the first SMK Fridays event of the season, offering a wealth of visual impressions, words and sounds. To help celebrate the Cph Art Week, SMK joins forces with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Roskilde, inviting you to an entire evening on the theme of Sound & Vision – an evening that explores the fields where visual and aural art intersect.

Throughout the evening you will be able to experience vast total installations, concert performances and art that merges sound and imagery. As always, visitors can enjoy art talks, drinks, artist DJs and street food.

Get your ear painted green
The Danish Fluxus artist and composer Henning Christiansen proclaimed the year 1984 to be the “Green-ear-year”. One of his actions consisted in taking over a barber’s chair in a Horsens salon for an entire day, painting the ears greens on anyone willing to take part. The green ear is a gesture that encourages us to listen to the sound of nature as if it were music. This evening we repeat his action: everyone can get a green ear with which to listen.

Sound performance featuring Felia Gram-Hanssen & Meshes
In 1984 Henning Christiansen composed a score called Grundtone (Base Note). This evening, artist and musician Felia Gram-Hanssen and the performance group Meshes re-enact and interpret Christiansen’s work with the aid of two drum kits, cymbals and two dancers.

Concert performance featuring Peter & the Danish Defence

Working in collaboration with the Danish Defence forces, the artist and musician Peter Voss-Knude has interpreted the thoughts and experiences of soldiers formerly posted abroad, translating them into pop songs, drawings and video works. This evening, Peter & the Danish Defence present a concert performance based on Voss-Knude’s years of collaborating with the Danish Defence and his conversations with soldiers.

Underneath the bridge
At the x-room you still have your last chance to see the vast motorway flyover created by the acclaimed British artist Mark Leckey. In this immersive installation, the interplay between the huge phantom bridge and a sound piece produced especially for this work takes you back to the artist’s childhood hideout. Throughout the evening we will host art talks underneath the flyover, focusing on how sounds, objects and images can trigger memories, thoughts and emotions.

Street food, bar and museum ice cream
In a departure from our usual set-up, this SMK Fridays event will include food stands and bars in the front and back gardens of the museum. In the Østre Anlæg park, Kødbyens Mad & Marked and Copenhagen Cooking will offer food talks, music and creative culinary experiences. In the Museum Garden you can buy food and beverages as always. To celebrate the late summer, we have even added an extra twist to the SMK Fridays menu: the popular SMK ice cream produced especially for the museum by Østerberg Is.

And much more… For example, the artists Kasper Vang and Jonas Olesen from Institut for Dansk Lydarkæologi present DJ sets featuring music from the sound archives and vast record collection housed at the Museum of Contemporary Art. On the Stage you can see Christian Marclay’s video work Telephones from 1995 – a film combining clips of telephone conversations from famous Hollywood films. You can also join in as we quite literally pull original artistic ideas out of our pockets and tackle art through brief, incisive art talks.

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Practical information
SMK Fridays: Sound & Vision
25 August from 16.00 to 22.00
Free admission

For additional information, please contact:

Ayoe Torbensdóttir
Communication assistant
T: +45 2552 7205

SMK Fridays is sponsored by Bikubenfonden





About SMK Fridays

Seven Fridays a year SMK stays open later than usual, inviting everyone to explore art in in alternative ways.

SMK Fridays take place from 16.00 to 22.00. Admission is free, everyone is welcome and no booking is required. The programme varies from one event to the next, but will usually include a range of art talks held in the exhibition areas, music, film screenings or other performances on the Stage, and artist DJs.

SMK FRIDAYS #28 – 25 August l 16.00-22.00
SMK FRIDAYS #29 – 15 September l 16.00-22.00
SMK FRIDAYS #30 – 17 November l 16.00-22.00

Ayoe Torbensdóttir Mon, 14 Aug 2017 11:00:00 +0200
Christian II wanted to reclaim power through pictures Christian II is one of Denmark’s most fascinating kings – and the first Danish king to properly use... Christian II is one of Denmark’s most fascinating kings – and the first Danish king to properly use visual art to promote himself and his political agendas. From 15 June a new exhibition arranged by the Royal Collection of Graphic Art at SMK demonstrates how he used art as a tool to aid his political strategies.

Christian II is famous as the king who married into one of the most powerful noble houses of Europe, angered the aristocracy, lost his crown and was banished from the country. At the same time he had to navigate between the old Catholic Church and the new Lutheran faith. And Christian II was the first Danish king to extensively use pictures in his efforts to promote himself and his political agendas.

In a new exhibition arranged by The Royal Collection of Graphic Art, SMK shows how Christian II used pictures strategically – both while he was still king and when he was exiled, striving in vain to reclaim his lost realms. 

Pictures as weapons
Christian II was a man of vision. He wanted to bring the Nordic realms together as one. Indeed, by 1520 he had become ruler of Denmark, Norway and Sweden/Finland. However, he was deposed in 1523 and went into exile in the Netherlands, where he plotted to reclaim his realms.

During Christian II’s time in exile in the Netherlands from 1523 to 1531, his key goal was to reclaim power. He needed to persuade rulers as well as the bourgeoisie that he had been unjustly deposed, and that his noble efforts to reclaim the throne deserved support. Pictures became one of his most important tools in this struggle.

Inspired by his Habsburg family, who were experts at communicating through pictures, Christian II used paintings and – especially – prints, both engravings and woodcuts, to get his message out to all relevant persons. And he used the most famous artists of the age for his propaganda.

Even though Christian II’s made extensive efforts to reclaim his throne, he never succeeded. During one of his attempts, in 1532, he was captured by the new king, Frederick I, and lived the rest of his life in captivity until his death in 1559.

Luther and the Protestant Reformation
The exhibition Pictures and Power. The Visual Politics of Christian II is produced on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation – the revolt against the old (“Catholic”) Church and the formation of the Protestant religious communities. The exhibition demonstrates how Martin Luther, who launched the Reformation movement with his famous 95 Theses against the Church’s trade in indulgences, not only had a major impact on Christian II’s faith, but also on the king’s use of pictures.

Works from The Royal Collection of Graphic Art
Pictures and Power. The Visual Politics of Christian II is an exhibition of works from The Royal Collection of Graphic Art, which is one of the oldest collections of prints and drawings in the world.  Numbering more than 240,000 works of art, the collection has roots that may go all the way back to the sixteenth century. The exhibition also features paintings from the SMK collections and loans from major European museums, including the National Gallery in London and the Städel Museum in Frankfurt. The exhibition features paintings, drawings, engravings and woodcuts by artists such as Albrecht Dürer, Jan Gossart, Michiel Sittow and Lucas Cranach the Elder.



1481: Christian II is born, son of king John of Denmark and queen Christine.

Death of king John; Christian II accedes to the throne.

1514: Christian II marries Isabella of Austria (1501-1526), who becomes known as queen Elisabeth in Denmark. As a member of the powerful House of Habsburg, grandchild of the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I and sister of the next emperor Karl V, she was one of the most eligible women of her time.

1520: Christian II becomes king of Sweden/Finland. In order to quell all future Swedish resistance, he executes many members of the Swedish elite in the so-called Stockholm Bloodbath.

1522: Inspired by his Habsburg family in the Netherlands, Christian II improves conditions for the merchant bourgeoisie in the cities at the expense of the aristocracy's established privileges.

1523: The aristocracy denounce Christian II and appoint his uncle, Frederick I, as regent. Christian II escapes to the Netherlands with his family.

1532: Christian II sets sail for Denmark, where he has agreed to enter negotiations with Frederick I. Frederick breaks his promise and takes Christian II directly to Sønderborg Castle, where he is imprisoned.

1559: In January, Christian II dies in captivity at Kalundborg Castle.

Pictures and Power. The Visual Politics of Christian II
15 June – 10 September 2017

>> Press images for Pictures and Power. The Visual Politics of Christian II

Opening on 14 June 5 - 7 PM
All are welcome. Free admission to the exhibition

For additional information, please contact:

Curator, senior reseacher
Hanne Kolind Poulsen
T: +45 2552 7217

Art interpreter
Mette Houlberg Rung
T: +45 25527186

Digital communication assistant
Ayoe Torbensdóttir
T: +45 2552 7205


The exhibition is supported by:

Ayoe Torbensdóttir Fri, 26 May 2017 19:23:00 +0200
Mark Leckey creates new sound work and a giant motorway bridge for SMK Inspired by recollections of a motorway bridge from his own childhood, internationally acclaimed... British artist Mark Leckey (b. 1964) grew up outside Liverpool in England. With the exhibition He Thrusts his Fists against the Posts but Still Insists he Sees the Ghosts he invites audiences to join him in returning to a very distinctive place from his own childhood: the ramps underneath the M53 motorway bridge in Ellesmere Port.

For the x-room venue at the National Gallery of Denmark (SMK), he has recreated from memory the bridge and ramps where he and his friends hung out in the early 1970s.

An exorcism in the x-room
“Many of my works have their wellspring in things and experiences from my childhood and youth that still haunt me. The motorway bridge is one of those things that have settled in my memory. That is why I have recreated it. It is as if memories of this kind take on too much importance, too much room. They become too overwhelming”, says Mark Leckey. According to Leckey, all his works are a kind of exorcism – the urge to create a work arises when something becomes too toxic and must be expelled and eradicated.

One of the distinctive traits of Mark Leckey’s artistic practice concerns his use of found objects and found footage, i.e. existing objects, images, sound and video footage. Speaking about the M53 Bridge, Leckey says:

“I’d like museumgoers to have a psychedelic experience when they step into the room. I’d like the light, the scale of the bridge and the music to transport them to a different state of mind,” he explains, speaking about a major transformation of the x-room that involves not only a giant phantom bridge awash with sodium lights, but also peeling posters and a new audio piece embedding the entire installation in an immersive soundscape.

The sound piece is reminiscent of a cross between a lecture, a radio broadcast, an autobiographical narrative and a DJ set. It is made out of audio samples that span four decades, live recordings, historical facts and Leckey’s own reflections and thoughts. Created especially for the exhibition at SMK, the new audio work represents a continuation of a performance that Leckey staged in connection with his most recent exhibition, Mark Leckey: Containers and Their Drivers, at MoMA PS1 in New York.


When the museum hosts its SMK Fridays event on 5 May, the evening will also focus on Mark Leckey and his exhibition in the x-room. For example, SMK Fridays visitors will be able to hear exhibition curator Marianne Torp speak about Leckey’s artistic practice and the ideas behind He Thrusts his Fists against the Posts but Still Insists he Sees the Ghosts.

From 20.30 onwards the Stage will screen his video work Dream English Kid 1964-1999 AD, where the vast motorway bridge makes its first appearance in Leckey’s work.

About Mark Leckey
Ever since the late 1990s Mark Leckey has been a prominent figure on the international contemporary art scene. He first shot to fame with his 1999 video work Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore, a celebration of British dance culture, and in recent years Leckey has reaffirmed his position with an exhibition cycle at the prominent venues of WEILS in Brussels, Haus Der Kunst in Munich, Madre in Naples and Kunsthalle Basel in 2014-15.

His works and performances have also been exhibited at e.g. the Serpentine Gallery in London and most recently at MoMA PS1 in New York. In 2008 Leckey was awarded the prestigious Turner Prize for his work Industrial Light and Magic. Leckey’s artistic practice spans a wide range of media, from installations, prints and sculptures to video, performance and sound works.

Mark Leckey: He Thrusts his Fists against the Posts but Still Insists he Sees the Ghosts
4 May – 3 September 2017

>> Download press images
>> About the x-room

Official opening: Wednesday 3 May from 5 pm.
Free admission to the exhibition

For media access to the exhibition prior to the official opening, please contact Karen Ormstrup Søndergaard,, to arrange a visit.

For more information, please contact:

Marianne Torp
Chief curator, senior researcher
T: +45 2552 7224

Ayoe Torbensdottir
Communication assistant

Thank you for support to the x-room

Ayoe Torbensdóttir Thu, 27 Apr 2017 13:33:00 +0200