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Photo: Foto: Lise Hannibal

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MAJOR art experience at the Copenhagen Contemporary

The popular Copenhagen Contemporary art center has moved to the island of Refshaleø, where the old welding hall in the B&W shipyard offers a perfect space for installation art on a (very) large scale. The first thing you see in the exhibition are swings, the world’s largest pendulum and a video of a poetic pop song.

Copenhagen Contemporary began in 2016 as a pilot project on Papirø island, and rapidly became the most visited art center in Denmark. From the very start, the aim has been to exhibit large and technically demanding installation art from some of the biggest names in world art, and to date these have included Yoko Ono, Bruce Nauman and Anselm Kiefer

The 7,000 sq. m. space available in the bleak Refshaleø post industrial landscape means Copenhagen Contemporary can now think big when it comes to exhibiting accessible and tangible art that engages with visitors. The opening exhibition begins with a turn on the swings. 

Swing away! Photo: CC

Swings are something everyone can relate to. Even though swings are a thing of the past for most adults, they evoke childhood memories of weightlessness, a tingling in the stomach and sense of daring. So, what happens, when you sit on a swing as an adult?  But rather than on an individual swing, a three-seater swing - and maybe you’ve never met the people on the two other seats before? 

One Two Three Swing, an interactive work by Danish artist group Superflex, is a playful way of making you lower your guard and appreciate that you achieve more as a team than as an individual. You literally swing faster when you've learnt to work together as a team and start talking to each other as you share a fun experience. The swings are suspended in a line on orange metal pipes, and if someone swings at one end of the installation, you can feel the rhythm at the other end. A great way of illustrating the effect of working together and how one thing affects another. 

Pendulet og pengesedlerne. Foto: CC

The second part of One Two Three Swing is located in the next room, where the floor is covered with a massive striped wall to wall carpet in the colors of Euro bank notes, with a 400kg chromed pendulum rhythmically swinging above. If you lie down on the carpet under the pendulum, you see a fish eye reflection of yourself and the carpet, and you’re lured into a sense that you are swinging back and forward yourself. Does this lead your thoughts to the Euro being on unsteady ground or to break the endless fixed pattern of the pendulum arc? However you choose to interpret it, it's fun for your senses. Like the swings, the pendulum work has been exhibited in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern in London, where it proved a genuine crowd puller with people swinging, having picnics on the carpet and setting up camp for hours. 

Doug Aitken: Song 1. Foto: CC

The dot over the i comes with Doug Aitkins’ massive, round video installation Song 1, where you enter an American universe of diners, car parks and crowded highways, that provides a flowing backcloth to the song I Only Have Eyes for You from 1934. The same stanza is sung and illustrated again and again, but so originally and differently, that it always feels fresh and welcoming despite the banal lyrics. The serried masses of the big city disappear when you zoom in on the individual in a deeply personal and deeply universal experience of all-embracing love and becomes genuine and moving.

A very special work the memories of which linger long inside you.  

Superflex og Doug Aitken
29.juni 2018 til 30. december 2018
Copenhagen Contemporary
Refshalevej 173A, København
cphco.org

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Last edited: July 13, 2018

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