The other landscape

The theme of The Sea is as immense as the sea itself. It is not, however, a motif that has attracted very many visual artists. Landscapes have been the preferred motif by far. Denmark has been and is still considered a sea-faring nation. The entire country borders on sea or fjords. The Vikings ventured into the world on expeditions of conquest, and later we gradually acquired a navy as well as a merchant fleet. Today Denmark builds some of the largest container ships in the world, and in certain parts of the country, sections of the population still make a living by fishing.

In The Sea we will focus on a few subordinate themes offering different tales of our relationship to the powerful sea, historically as well as from a contemporary angle. The exhibition will start off with a selection of sea battles such as C. A. Lorentzen’s dramatic painting, “The Battle of Copenhagen”, and C. W. Eckerberg’s beautiful seascapes. These will be followed by photographs by the Frenchman Gustave Le Gray, who, as early as the 1850s, took pictures of the sea breaking, as did his American colleague Thomas Joshua Cooper a hundred years later. We will also be taking a close look at how some of the Danish Skaw painters and others depicted the rough life of fishermen and examine an artist such as the Danish west coast painter, Jens Søndergaard, and his interest in the relationship between people and religion. A special part of the exhibition will be dedicated to the highly dramatic aspects of the mighty forces of nature and man’s fascination with them.

We will of course be looking at some of the painters and photographers – such as the impressionists – who turned the workings of light and the sea into their method. Life at the seaside and leisure time will be seen from a past as well as a present perspective, ranging from the works of C. F. Willumsen, P. S Krøyer and F. Syberg in Denmark to the vast photo panoramas of flypaper beaches by the Italian photographer Massimo Vitali. Very recently we have once again been exposed to storms, and we will be showing Bill Viola’s masterly video “The Raft”, which places us, horror-struck, in the eye of the storm, but mercifully brings us ashore again. Piracy has become a scourge of contemporary life, and here we are not concerned with fictive characters, but with deadly dangerous, merciless robbers and kidnappers. Photographic material on this topic will also be included. Alan Sekula made an extraordinary film concerning international trade relations, in which we follow gigantic container ships on their way across the seas. Also the dismantling of clapped-out ships is depicted in photographic art.

Participating artist

Else Alfelt, Anna Ancher, Michael Ancher, Hans Op de Beeck, Carl Bille, Christian Blache, Carl Baagøe, Helge Bertram, Oscar Björck, Christian Blache, Thomas Joshua Cooper, Gustave Doré, Holger Drachmann, Dankvart Dreyer, C.W.Eckersberg, Torben Eskerod, Erwitt Elliott, Palle From, Fritz Henle, Jacob Hashimoto, Einar Hein, Valdemar Irminger, Viggo Johansen, Ruprecht von Kaufmann, Christian Krohg, Peder Severin Krøyer, Vilhelm Kyhn, Johannes Larsen, Carl Locher, Gerhard Mantz, Michael Marten, Anton Melbye, Vilhelm Melbye, Anna E. Munch, Ulrik Møller, Christian F.A. Mølsted, Carl Neumann, Thorvald Niss, Pipilotti Rist, Paul Pfeiffer, Carl Rasmussen, Vilhelm Rosenstand, Allan Sekula & Noël Burch, Fritz Syberg, Jens Søndergaard, Frits Thaulow, Ernst Zeuten, Bill Viola, Massimo Vitali, Sigurd Wandel, Johannes Wilhjelm, J.F. Willumsen, Flaske Peter