Contemporary Art at Amalienborg
Sketches for interior art in Frederik VIII’s Palace
Until February 26 2017
The new art on the walls and ceilings of Frederik VIII’s Palace was created when the building, which is part of the Amalienborg complex, was restored and modernised from 2004 to 2010. Today the palace is the Crown Prince Couple’s residence and also hosts a range of administrative and representative functions. The artists Kaspar Bonnén, Jesper Christiansen, Olafur Eliasson, Erik A. Frandsen, Eske Kath, John Kørner, Morten Schelde, Tal R and Kathrine Ærtebjerg have created works for selected rooms within the palace itself, mostly rooms that serve official or ceremonial functions. Signe Guttormsen designed the pattern for the paving on the roof terrace. All artworks were created in close cooperation with the Crown Prince Couple and funded by Realdania. The palace was open to the general public from February to August 2010. That same year KØS acquired the artists’ sketches and models for their contributions.
This project is one of the most remarkable artistic endeavours seen in castles in recent history. Here, pre-eminent contemporary artists were invited to create art that was integrated in the building itself – taking their starting point in their own practice while responding to a very distinctive historical, cultural and architectural context. The exterior architectural setting for the artists’ work was Nicolai Eigtved’s original Rococo mansion built in 1750-60, while the interior had been remodelled in 1827-28 to a late Empire-style design by Jørgen Hansen Koch.
This art project continues a historic tradition for close interaction between art and architecture in palace interiors. Here, however, the task was to be solved by artists from our own era, integrating their art into architecture from another period. How did they go about this task, and how did they relate to the tradition they entered into? KØS wanted to explore this by pointing to historic parallels to the present-day art project in Frederik VIII’s Palace. To this end, the museum invited The Museum of National History Frederiksborg Castle to contribute a text about the long-standing tradition for art in castles. The resulting text offers new perspectives on the present-day artists’ work at the Crown Prince Couple’s residence, reflecting the Museum of National History’s expert insights into art and applied arts in historic castles.
As a museum for art in public spaces, KØS has an obligation to document and present the significant art projects undertaken within the field. This is particularly true of art created for historic buildings that feel like they are part of every Danish citizen’s cultural heritage – as is the case with Frederik VIII’s Palace, not least due to its status as a home to the nation’s royal family. With this exhibition, KØS wishes to offer insight into the process that preceded the ambitious art project, focusing on the artists’ predecessors within a very unique genre: the artistic decoration of castles.