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Denmark: Arken Museum

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Arken Museum | Denmark | Europe

[Visited: February 2005]

Although the museum can be easily visited by train from Copenhagen, I decided to take a bicycle and get to Arken exploring the western outskirts of the Danish capital city. I actually found out it is possible to get there on cycling paths following the coastline of the Køge Bugt, the bay south of Copenhagen. Especially the last part was nice to cycle, right next to the dunes separating the sea from the inner lakes and towns. To top it all, as I approached Ishøj, the contours of my destination arose from the horizon like a ship from the sea. From a distance, Arken looks like a ship stranded on the seashore.

Picture of Arken Museum (Denmark): Arken: remarkable architecture of a modern museum

In fact, the architecture of the museum, by Søren Robert Lund, is based on a ship. Outside, you can easily discern the bow of a ship and the bridge, while inside the theme is continued. Even the stairs look like those of a ship. Of course, once inside you concentrate more on the art on display, which covers modern art, with lectures, concerts, and workshops for children. The museum consists of several Axes, of which the Art Axis is the largest gallery. It is a long hall, with natural light coming in from above, and its form is an optical illusion making you believe that it is much larger than it actually is.

Picture of Arken Museum (Denmark): Arken: a different view from the back of the museum

You can get to the foyer through the Red Axis, which has more allusions to the ship theme of Arken museum. Actually, this Axis is built in a tilting way to give the passer through the suggestion of being at sea in a rough storm. This Axis is dark, in contrast to other parts of the museum which have natural light. Once back to the foyer, it is impossible not to notice a massive black block of Norwegian granite. It is a reference to the Ice Age, and also to the fact that this area used to be sea until it was turned into land in the 1970s.

Picture of Arken Museum (Denmark): Arken Museum: restaurant seen from the outside
Picture of Arken Museum (Denmark): Arken Museum of Modern Art: the Red Axis
Picture of Arken Museum (Denmark): Arken museum: probably a sail of the ship shape building
Picture of Arken Museum (Denmark): Arken museum: detail of the roof
Picture of Arken Museum (Denmark): Arken's museum: art outside the museum
Picture of Arken Museum (Denmark): Arken Museum of Modern Art: detail seen from outside
Picture of Arken Museum (Denmark): Arken: coloured windows seen from inside
Picture of Arken Museum (Denmark): Arken museum seen from a distance

Around the World in 80 Clicks

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