All about the Aarhus Art Museum (Aarhus Kunstmuseum).
Before I just jump in and start describing the eccentricities of the Aarhus Art Museum, I will fill in a bit about what I’ve been up to.
Getting a little lost!
Thinking there is a black hole or rip in the space time continuum on Vestergade (a street downtown), because no matter where I walk to, I ALWAYS end up there!
But really, I’m having a lovely time. So much of being here reminds me of Swansea, and so much is uniquely Aarhus.
For example: the Aarhus Art Museum, one of the largest art museums in Europe.
I figured I knew what I was getting myself into; I’ve been to several art museums, mostly in Europe, but also some in the USA, and am familiar with the typical realism-type of pieces (portraits, landscapes, still-lifes), impressionist and modernist pieces, post-modern, some strange stuff. I was excited to experience the rainbow walkway at the top of the building that has so often been my landmark point-of-reference whilst wandering around downtown. I had looked briefly at the other exhibits currently on display at ARoS, but wasn’t anticipating women on television grating cheese, dead things in jars, being trapped in pink fog, or lots and lots of boobs.
I went with a girl from Brasil in my program (though it’s more accurate to say she invited me, while I have done little research to figure out the best parts of Aarhus and what not to miss, Fernanda has compiled an incredible list of things already), and we started at the top of the museum: “Your Rainbow Panorama.”
From far away the gradient is nice to look at, but once you’re in it you realize every single pane of glass is a different shade of a colour. Seeing the city behind the colours really changes your perspective a bit — not in any meaningful way, mind you, but just enough to make you look at everything twice. Or three times.
I also figured out that my shwanky new iPhone has the most user-friendly panorama-taking capabilities, ever, and so much fun with it.
I especially liked seeing some of the complementary hues from each other (green-red, blue-orange).
After that we made our way to the lower levels, going through the expected realism, surrealism, modernist, post-modernist. I was fascinated with the details in some of the realism pieces, especially the eyes in this one from the Classic Collection.
Then we started the weirdness that was “Out of the Darkness.” I enjoyed it, truly, but I feel like parts of it I over thought (re: the retro television showing two women in all-black, each grating a lump of cheese, and crying, on loop), and other parts were just too much to experience more than a few seconds of (“Your Atmospheric Colour Atlas,” AKA being trapped in opaque pink fog through which you could not really see your hands, and certainly could not see the doors). All of it was generally fascinating, though I would have really liked to see more descriptions of the artists’ own thoughts and inputs. The spiel from the museum’s curator was adequate enough, and thought-provoking, but I personally prefer to hear from the artists themselves — preferring the details over the bigger picture.
(The photo that looks like a person in water is a still from a video in a room that had five videos on loop simultaneously, projected onto different parts of the room. I think it was called something like, “The Five Angels of the Millennium,” or something. Regardless, I was captivated by this room.)
(The photo of words is the last paragraph of the few paragraphs-long description by the museum’s director curator, describing the whole of the “Out of the Darkness” exhibit.)
Our last stop was wholly unanticipated, at least for me. The artist is 26 and from New Jersey, USA, if that begins to hint at anything. Wes Lang’s most-used motifs are skulls, the Grim Reaper, Native Americans (he calls them Indians), and boobs. Yes, boobs. Lots of photos and drawings of topless, or simply scantily-clad women, lined the walls of his “Studio” exhibit and his pieces themselves. I truly appreciated his honesty when explaining on the interview-video set up at the end, when he says he draws them because he likes them. That’s it. No statement, no metaphor. The dude just likes boobs, and grew up on Playboy magazines.
His mixed-media pieces included phrases, words, song lyrics (I found some very obvious Lana Del Rey scrawlings in one piece, which amused me to no end).
The last picture there with the words is a bit of Lang’s personal philosophy, mostly taken from the teachings of Lao Tzu (I also chuckled that we both seem to own the exact same edition of the Tao Te Ching).
I will add that in the Studio bit of the exhibit, there were many Grateful Dead allusions and even memorabilia, as well as other bits of stereotypical Americana: a painted Harley, several motorcycle vests or jackets, Coke bottles, and bluegrass playing on the radio.
To top off this very American feel, we ended up getting burgers, fries, and Pepsi Cola for lunch at an American gastropub down the way. Which, for the record, was super delicious.
Until next time! It’s dinner time here.