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Nørregade 29
DK 4600 Køge
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Tuesday-Sunday 11-17
Thursday 11-21
Monday closed
35 min from
Copenhagen H

What does art do at hospitals?

9 September 2017 – 1 April 2018


The Danish state and regional authorities are currently building and renovating hospitals to a total value of approximately DKK 42 billion/EUR 5.6 billion. Expectations run high for these construction projects as technologically advanced settings and as healing, nurturing settings for patients. Art plays a key part in bringing about the latter.
With the exhibition What does art do at hospitals? KØS focuses attention on the difference that art can make at hospitals, the great diversity with which it unfolds, the expectations associated with it, and how hospital users perceive it.

New Danish art projects
The exhibition presents recent Danish art projects such as Ane Mette Ruge’s Caryatids from 2015, created for Sygehus Sønderjylland. For this work local citizens posed for a range of highly diverse full-scale portraits that adorn the columns of the lobby area and greet all users. Visitors can also explore Gong, a work created in 2015 by Kirstine Roepstorff, who is currently featured at the 57th Venice Biennial. Located in the public library and cultural centre Dokk1, this vast bronze bell emits a deep, reverberating gong when activated by parents of children just born at Aarhus University Hospital, celebrating that a new citizen has seen the light of day.

From tranquil train compartments to hospital soaps
Take a seat in the Dutch artist duo Yvonne Dröge Wendel and Lino Helling’s installation De Coupé. Originally created for a nursing home, this 1:1 replica of a train compartment offers a meditative journey away from an everyday existence infused by weakness, illnesses and limitations. Or step inside a full-scale reconstruction of a two-bed ward from Herlev Hospital with a distinctive colour scheme by Poul Gernes – a pioneer within the field. Visitors can also immerse themselves in a TV drama by Dutch artist Jeanne van Heeswijk: created at Stavanger University Hospital, this unconventional TV soap cast hospital staff in almost every role.

New research gives a voice to 600 patients and relatives
Groundbreaking collaboration between KØS and sociologist Anette Stenslund has created new knowledge and insight into how users view and experience art.
Approximately 600 patients, relatives and hospital staff have been interviewed about how they perceive selected art projects at five Danish hospitals. A documentary film crew has followed in the study’s footsteps to capture some of the voices heard. They created five films that allow visitors to listen to enthusiastic, reflective and/or critical personal accounts about encounters with art in hospitals.

KØS adds greater nuance to the discussion
As construction of new super hospitals in Denmark has proceeded apace, the funds set aside for art have in several cases been slashed as a result of budget overruns elsewhere. The discussions concerning the hospital sector and the question of how much should be set aside for art in hospitals is more topical than ever. And it is a subject that concerns us all: every Dane will at some point in their life come into contact with the hospital sector.
The discussion is often reduced to a question of whether one wishes to spend money on art or on more wards. KØS adds greater nuance to the discussion by generating new knowledge about the subject. During the exhibition run KØS will provide new perspectives by addressing the issues in panel discussions and events: What kind of hospitals do we want to see, and how can art help us reach that objective? Visit koes.dk for updates.

Featured artists:
Ane Mette Ruge, Alexander Tovborg, Ella Doran, Eva Koch, Henriette Borg, Jeanne van Heeswijk, Julian Opie, Julie Nord, Kirstine Roepstorff, Malene Landgreen, Poul Gernes, Randi & Katrine, Roger Hiorns, Ruth Campau, Simon Starling, Spencer Finch, SUPERFLEX, Søren Martinsen, Ultra Grøn, Ursula Andkjær Olsen, Yvonne Dröge Wendel and Lino Hellings

This research and exhibition project was realised with primary support from:

The project is also supported by:







Photo: Ane Mette Ruge (DK), Caryatids, Sygehus Sønderjylland in Aabenraa, main entrance, 2015
Photographer: Dorte Krogh