The Real. Unnaturalism
When in Copenhagen we always visit the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek with its patterned red brick work and polished granite columns facade, resembling a Venetian palace, and the enormous glass and cast iron dome.
The building complex was built in three stages; the oldest part from 1892-1897 was designed by architect Wilhelm Dahlerup, the area in the back, designed by architect Hack Kampmann, was built in 1901-1906.
Enter the world of Contemporary architecture with a visit to the Annex, an independent building in the courtyard, designed by Henning Larsens Tegnestue between 1994 and 1996.
And now enter the world of contemporary art with the installation by Erik A. Frandsen. While venturing into uncharted territory in his experimental work with the material and media of modern art, he engages in an intimate dialogue with Antiquity and the museum’s permanent collection.
The exhibition, installed in three rooms, deals with three forms of expression: mosaic, steel, and painted wood.
The Roman Mosaic in the Central Hall, Europa and the Bull (Roma Imperial Period, 1st century AD) is reflected in a polished steel cylinder, six meters in diameter and six meters tall. The monumental cylinder is partly decorated with flower motifs meticulously incised with a grinder.
The colonnade, the mosaic and the public are reflected and distorted in the steel… disappearing in Frandsen’s profusion of flowers.
On the walls of the Roman Portrait Collection the artist has transposed small photographs to 2.2 x 3 meter mosaics. As his point of departure Frandsen takes contemporary American brand-names, Marvel, Disney, Marlboro, omnipresent symbols of consumerism and western popular culture, that also signify adventure, imagination, and artistic inspiration.
The mosaics refer to the Roman Empire and the way it created its own image, in which emperors and their portraits were the embodiment of this superpower of Antiquity.
Frandsen’s mosaics were made in Pietrasanta in Italy, where the tradition from the ancient world is kept alive and in step with the times, in collaboration with the craftsmen.
In another room with Roman Sculptures the entire floor is covered with one-meter-square spray painted wooden panels. These enlarged mosaic tiles, with their bright colors, are the background of a very new experience of the sculptures.
Visitors are literally walking around “within the mosaics.”
The three experiences both support and define the encounter with the art, physically and mentally as well as in historical and cultural terms. Each challenges the viewers relationship to art, the surroundings and the human body.
Conceived for the museum the exhibition “The Real. Unnaturalism” is in many ways a new departure for Frandsen.