Landing in dynamic Copenhagen, I spent the first two days of my journey back to my mother’s homeland roaming the streets. With more museums than I could possibly hope to take in, I selected a superb exhibit at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek entitled Gauguin’s World, beautifully curated in an equally breathtaking section of the building designed by Henning Larsen. Later that day I visited the monumental National Gallery of Denmark, an excellent example of the fusion of old and new architecture characteristic of this vibrant place and took in many of their early 17th century works as well as all of their modern Danish collection currently on display.
I also took a trip to Roskilde Cathedral where all the Danish Kings, Queens and families have been laid to rest since the time of Margrete I. On the UNESCO World heritage list since 1995, the Cathedral’s centre structure mixes Romanesque and Gothic influences with understated simplicity and the chapels that flank its sides – mausoleums dedicated to different royal “houses” beginning with Christian III – each represent the styles and cultural influences of the times in which they were constructed, some of the best examples of neo-classical and trompe l’oeuil that I have ever seen.
It was here that I began to make some rubbings on tracing paper, a practice that I continued when visiting Skovsbo farm on Langeland, a small island to the south of Odense, home to H. C. Andersen and two of my mother’s cousins, one of whom I stayed with when there. The farm was originally home to my grandmother’s sister and her children but was sold to a young, growing family kind enough to let us tour the grounds at our leisure. It had been almost four decades since I was last there and, with the exception of some minor alterations, remained virtually as I remembered it.
I am now situated in the countryside at the northern tip of Jutland where I have started drawing and painting, small gestures whose potential is still a mystery. My friends are in the process of developing artist workshops and residencies at the local elementary school that was forced to close and has been transformed for this new purpose. There is perhaps the opportunity for me to propose a printmaking workshop in collaboration with a paper-maker and I am in discussion with this artist at the moment. Time will tell.