Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) was an outstanding artist and a passionate power woman. Strong and independent, she was an inspirational role model. The exhibition offered a look at Kahlo’s oeuvre through a number of her most iconic self-portraits, drawings, pages from her diary as well as jewelry and dresses from her time. The works strongly reflect her tragic life, embracing a horrible traffic accident and countless surgeries, tormented love for the artist Diego Rivera, affairs with both men and women, miscarriages and childlessness, as well as political activism.
The exhibition also included a collection of photographs as well as works by some of Frida Kahlo's contemporaries: Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, José Clemente Orozco and María Izquierdo.
You were born as a boy or a girl, and your passport says if you are male or female. But what kind of man or woman are you and what has shaped your way of belonging to either gender? The Frida Kahlo exhibition inspired us to present works from ARKEN’s collection that show artists playing around with gender and its codes, putting self-representation, the gaze of others, beauty ideals and challenges to gender conventions into play.
In BLUE ROOM the Chinese artist Yang Shaobin (b. 1963) created an encounter between the powerless, the powerful and the rest of us who looked on. Portraits of well-known world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin hang side by side with portraits of completely unknown adults and children, all victims of pollution and natural disasters. Caught in the crossfire of these gazes the visitor could reflect upon whom to hold responsible.
Yang Shaobin became part of the emerging Chinese art scene in the 1990s. His sociocritical paintings deal with subjects like violence, oppression and poverty, locally as well as globally.
BLUE ROOM was Yang Shaobin’s first solo exhibition in Denmark.
From virtuoso figure painting to cool conceptual art. The exhibition turned the spotlight on contemporary art from Cluj, Romania, with a selection of artists who work in a variety of media and idioms. The participating artists were Marius Bercea, Răzvan Botiş, Radu Cioca, Radu Comşa, Adrian Ghenie, Dan Măciucă, Ciprian Mureşan, Cristi Pogăcean, and Şerban Savu.
The memory of growing up in a Communist regime until 1989 and the transition to a new societal system are recurring themes for some artists. Others are preoccupied for example with investigating the formal and conceptual language of art across the boundaries of painting, performance, sculpture, video art and drawing. Common to all, though, is a strong historical consciousness of both the political history of Europe and the history of art.
In 2013, the Danish COBRA painter would have been 100 years old. To mark the occasion ARKEN was showing a major exhibition of over 200 of the artist’s paintings, watercolours, drawings, sculptures, mosaics, ceramic works and poems. Carl-Henning Pedersen had a strong urge to create and throughout his life he sought to conjure up the direct spontaneous image. The composer Fuzzy created an electro-acoustic musical work for the exhibition.
The exhibition was curated jointly with the Carl-Henning Pedersen & Else Alfelt Museum in Herning which showed the exhibition after ARKEN.
The exhibition presented the Chinese artist Qiu Anxiong’s video installation The New Book of Mountains and Seas II, an aquisition for ARKEN's Collection.
The work, which Qiu Anxiong (b. 1972) has created from 6000 of his hand drawings, presents a poetic account of how biochemistry, cloning and other new technologies intervene radically in nature and human life.
Qiu Anxiong takes his point of departure in the more than 2000-year-old Chinese "geography book" Shang Hai Jing (The Book of Mountains and Seas), which maps the known world on the basis of the mythological world-picture of the age.