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Winter 2017: A Museum Odyssey through time, sound & hygge

Culture, discovery and hygge — Student culture reporter Léa Severino has scoped out the museum scene around Copenhagen and suggests four hygge-rated day trips for you and a friend.

Temperatures are tumbling, light is fading, the wind is starting its glacial melody; these are the irrevocable signs of what you were waiting for with apprehension: the arrival of the Nordic Winter.

But while trees are getting more and more indecently naked, and you are running out of woollen layers to cover your own modest body, do not let go! To survive the cold, remember to stay active and – most importantly – treat yourself with hygge and good company. To conciliate those two prescriptions, we recommend a very cozy and well-heated spot to visit: the museum.

As there are as many museums around Copenhagen as kinds of toppings for your rugbrød, we made a selection of the most appetizing exhibitions available this winter. From fascinating stories of individuals, such as the mentally-ill Danish artist Ovartaci, or the master of filmmaking Stanley Kubrick, to moving journeys through time, space and sound with Rineke Dijkstra’s photographs or “My Music” at Arken; you will find the exhibition that will please your eyes and curiosity.

Special bonus: an exclusive hygge-rating of each museum-café, tested just for you!

Stanley Kubrick at GL Strand

When? Until the 14th of January 2017.

How much? 65 kr. for entrance (student price). Between 25 and 30 kr. for a tea/coffee

How to get there? As it is in the city centre, many buses are stopping nearby (1A, 2A, 6A, 15, 26, 29), but if you are not too afraid of the rain, put on your most shiny rain pants and jump on your bike!

This exhibition will enchant all Kubricks aficionados for its great amount of details, anecdotes and original accessories, which seem to have magically popped out of the screen and landed into the window displays of the museum.

Each room is dedicated to a movie and contains some surprising treasures, leading to this mystical universe called “behind the scene”.

As you walk on the same carpet Danny used to drive his glorious tricycle in The Shining and you face the ghostly twins’ authentic blue dresses and varnish shoes, the barrier between reality and fiction starts to blur. You end up inside Kubrick’s made-up world, and it feels so real.

On the other hand, for those who are not familiar with Kubrick’s universe or thought he was famous for having invented a colourful toy (the Kubrick’s cube, you know?), the exhibition still has a lot to offer: a crazy world shared by gorillas, astronauts, gladiators and 18th century countesses; beautiful photographs (before directing, Kubrick worked as a photographer), colourful story-boards and polaroids, as well as many screens showing clips of the most cult scenes. The novice should be warned though; he might see the end of a movie before the beginning!

After leaving the museum, you realize one thing: cinema is definitely one of the greatest art forms.

The patriotic detail not to miss: a cutlery set designed by Danish architect Arne Jacobsen used in 2001: A Space Odyssey – imponerende!

GL Strand’s indoors café consists of three white tables and a few metallic chairs placed in a corner of the bookshop. It is not hyper cozy but definitely comfortable. The terrasse in the courtyard looks a lot more welcoming. A good reason to come back in the spring time!

Hygge-rating : 6/10

Ovartaci & The Art of Madness at Charlottenborg

The story of this Danish artist who began his career as a man painting houses and ended up as a woman drawing delirious creatures and flying machines will blow your mind.

In 1929, after a trip to Argentina where he »probably participated in rituals involving hallucinogenic drugs« (says the explicatory sign), Ovartaci came back to Denmark and spent the 56 following years of her tumultuous existence committed to a psychiatric hospital where she created her own parallel universe, populated by strange figures made of papier-mache and colourful gouache.

When? Until the 31st of January 2017
How much? 50 kr. for entrance (student price). 32 kr. for an Americano, 35 for a tea.
How to get there? Get off the metro at Kongens Nytorv and walk, or ride your bicycle – but watch out the ten thousand reckless tourists wandering around Nyhavn!

Her creations belong to the tradition of “Art Brut” – or the English equivalent “Outsider Art” – which designates art made by people who do not consciously know they are making “art” as such. Often living on the margins of society, they express themselves through an artistic activity.

Displayed in big plexiglass windows, Ovartaci’s drawings seem to float in the middle of Charlottenborg, inviting the visitor to walk literally through them, to cross this curious world of fantasy and feel, for one instant, the creative force of “madness”.

After this, entering Charlottenborg café – aka “Apollo Bar” – will also surprise you, as you will discover it is actually not a café but a quite fancy restaurant. Pricey wines and cocktails are proposed on the menu that a young and sophisticated waiter will bring you, while you will be seated on an elegant velvety stool, surrounded by Greek statues and sophisticated plants.

Tea will be brought in a very fancy piece of pottery (calling it a ‘cup’ would be blasphemy towards its designer) and might make you feel a bit out of place.

Hygge-rating: a sophisticated 4/10.

image: Museum Ovartaci
image: Museum Ovartaci
image: Museum Ovartaci

Rineke Dijkstra & “Being There” at Louisiana

Here, you will discover two completely different exhibitions that will please both your classical and more audacious tastes.

When? Until the 30th of December (Dijkstra) and 25th of February (Being There)
How much? 110 kr. for entrance (student price). 26 kr. for tea/coffee (refill for 15 kr.). Add an extra 100 kr. for the train to get there and come back.
How to get there? Take the train direction Helsingør at Nørreport Station. After half an hour, get off at Humlebæk and walk ten minutes until you reach the museum. Follow the signs – or the guys wearing the most extravagant sneakers and jiggling manbuns; those are without a doubt heading to Louisiana too.

The first one is dedicated to the work of the Dutch photographer Rineke Dijkstra. Although the idea of an exhibition composed of only portraits may seem monotonous, the variety of this one proves how fascinating a single face can be. Each room presents one or two series of portraits and takes you into different spaces, times, and narratives.

You will follow Almerisa, from her arrival in the Netherlands in 1994 as a little Bosnian refugee until today, as an adult, mother and integrated woman into western society.

You will also get to know the young Olivier and witness his transformation into a man, as he becomes a muscular soldier after joining the army. You will meet Emma, Lucy, Cécile, and many other young strangers, individuals, who become curiously familiar once you have gazed with your eyes into theirs.

The second exhibition is a lot more bling-bling, involving all your senses through music, videos, lights and sounds. The works of ten international contemporary artists have been reunited at Louisiana to make you think about technology and the existence “between physical and digital worlds”, between presence and absence, fascination and fear. The individuals you will meet there are no longer silent portraits but voluble digitalized characters, talking to you from their screen.

You should get a well-deserved coffee break between the two exhibitions. While eating a tasty Danish pastry, you will be able to enjoy the beautiful sea through the huge windows. The veranda is charming but a little cold, therefore a seat next to the chimney seems like the perfect spot to rest and admire the pouring rain from inside. Very popular during eating time, the café is more crowded than the art gallery itself!

Hygge-rating: 8/10.

image: Louisiana
image: Louisiana.

Michael Kvium’ Crikus Europa & “My Music” at Arken

The contrast between the two exhibitions at Arken is so strong that both seem to be laughing at the other.

When? Until the 14th of January 2017 (Kvium) and 25th of March (My Music)

How much? 95 kr. for entrance (student price). 25 kr. for tea/coffee. Add around 50 kr for the train with a rejsekort.

How to get there? Take the train from Copenhagen Central Station to Ishøj (20 minutes). Depending on the weather and your energy, you can decide to walk another 20 minutes towards the museum or wait for the bus n°128 and get off after 3 stops.

On one side, Michael Kvium presents his very critical view of Western society, depicted as a sinister circus, whose floor is strewn with trash.

Mixing video, painting, sculpture and big immersive installations, Kvium shows a very dark and ironic image of “today’s values”: entertainment, power, sex, corrupted justice, religion … He also touches upon the question of (indifference towards) immigration in such a way to make your stomach feel squeezed.

No spoilers here, but one advice: bring a friend so you can discuss what you see. There are no explanatory signs, so having the possibility to debrief together might make it easier to understand, or, at least, serve as support to keep you from leaving depressed and disgusted with, humankind.

On the other hand, you will become completely asocial with “My Music”, as you will be given a set of headphones that you will connect to your smartphone after having downloaded a special music app for the occasion. You will then be able to watch/listen to a melting pot of eleven music videos, from divas such as Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, to visual artist like Pipilotti Rist.

The purpose of this eclectic mix-tape is to question the relations between pop culture and art, commercial and non-commercial culture, mass and elite audiences. Is this art, or not? Interesting question that you will try to answer while enjoying the participative aspect of this original exhibition.

Unless you prefer to stop analysing everything and just lose yourself to the music for once? Fair enough.

NB: make sure your phone is fully charged before coming.

After all those intense debates, Arken Café will be the perfect place to sit and relax, admire the nice scenery through the huge windows and enjoy a warm drink.

We highly recommend the excellent dagens tilbud: for 45 kr. you will have the immense joy of getting a big cup of coffee and not only one but TWO delicious pastries. A more than well-deserved reward!

Hygge-rate: 9/10.