Lan and Jane 'do' Western Europe travel blog

On the train to Humlebaek and the Louisiana Museum

Jane and Moore

That's a lot of marble!

Yayoi Kusama's Gleaming Lights of the Souls

Today we’re heading out to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Despite the name, this gallery has nothing to do with the state of Louisiana; rather it was named after the three wives of the first owner of the property, all of whom were called Louise! It is one of the 1000 Places to See Before You Die and is the 85th most visited art museum in the world. So although it is located quite a long way out of the city, it certainly sounded like it would be worth a visit.

The museum is located at Humlebaek, by the northern shores of the Øresund (the Sound). The Øresund is the strait between Denmark and Sweden, and is home to the Øresund Bridge (at the southern end), the star of the thriller series, The Bridge. At several points from the museum itself and from its lovely garden, you can look out to the Øresund and see Sweden in the distance, even on this cloudy day.

The Louisiana collections are substantial and often stunning. The building itself is gorgeous, with the original house having been specifically adapted to meld the art with the landscape. Of special note is “The Tree Passage”, which is a glass walkway along the western side that provides entry to a range of galleries while simultaneously showcasing spectacular sculptures and trees in the gardens outside.

There are a number of Giacometti and Moore sculptures, and works by Pollock, Picasso and Hockney, along with younger artists spreading their wings. But probably the highlight was a special exhibition on The Moon, which integrates cultural, artistic, architectural, historical and scientific aspects of human beings’ obsession with that celestial object. Works include a grand piano auto-playing a version of Moonlight Sonata after the score was sent to the moon and back (notes dropped out randomly as they were lost during transmission!); a chilling look at what you would be giving up if you went on a space mission to create a colony in a galaxy far far away; images of the moon through the ages, from Galileo right up to the latest high-res shots taken by NASA; and various artworks focusing on the moon. The exhibition took seven years to put together and it shows - we spent several hours exploring its many themes.

Squeezed in between all this is a permanent installation by Yayoi Kusama, called Gleaming Lights of the Souls, a small mirrored room filled with colour-changing lights reflecting infinitely. It’s quite stunning. For those who are interested in Kusama (who at 90 years old is the biggest selling female artist in the world), coincidentally there is a new documentary on her that has just been released, Kusama: Infinity, so there has been lots of very recent coverage of her amazing life (e.g., the BBC).

The museum also hosts its own web TV channel that features artists and commentators discussing their work or that of other artists, including an 11 episode series on Jøn Utzon (of Opera House fame), so you can continue your contemporary art binge even after you leave.

In between all this, we treated ourselves to a buffet lunch at the museum’s café, which was delicious Danish fare. Together with a stroll through the gorgeous (if windy) garden, we were very pleased indeed with our visit and would highly recommend it!

We couldn’t possibly have done anything else after our long day at the museum, so we headed back to our apartment and enjoyed quite a good Indian takeaway for dinner. Unfortunately, the wayward fridge was playing up again and was beeping at us every couple of hours. We had to endure the beeping on and off all night, which was irritating. We would have to deal with this properly tomorrow morning!

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