Art at The Scandinavian

 

Strange Lands

As a co-founder of The Scandinavian Golf Club, I am very proud of what we have created. Our multifaceted destination for sport, leisure, and great food has now opened its doors to contemporary art. I have a great passion for art, for the way it can provoke reflection and activate our imaginations. I believe that art can pose crucial questions about human nature and can inspire us to take action to better the societies we live in. With this in mind, I have built a collection of contemporary art that I want to share with The Scandinavian’s members, by exhibiting pieces by outstanding international artists in and around the clubhouse.

Torben Wind

 

 

Introduction by Michael Frahm, curator

From multi-coloured rocks, fibreglass and marble to golden bamboo and glittering LED lights, the artworks on display at The Scandinavian demonstrate the extraordinary material breadth of contemporary practices. Within its natural light and generous space, The Scandinavian is now a place of culture, meditation and education. We welcome the opportunity to introduce new audiences to phenomenal contemporary art and introduce this new facet to The Scandinavian.

The theme Strange Lands brings together a number of celebrated contemporary artists who look to nature, to their surroundings, and to history in order to re-imagine the world they live in. Although diverse in their media and appearances, the artworks speak to a common desire to re-imagine the world more poetically, to marry past with present, and to bridge the real and the imaginary. Some artists take inspiration from the shapes and motifs of the natural world; others look to cultural heritage and man-made histories which they catapult into the present. Some look to our modern-day cities and urban cultures, while other works become time capsules, evoking the art of past civilisations and archaic times. Some imagine the quieter, stranger spaces in our present-day society, the liminal areas, the outskirts, the places no one likes to look, and put them on a plinth. Strange Lands is our world but warped. Strange Lands is uncanny. Between utopia and dystopia, Strange Lands is human time and people, re-imagined, rendered strange. The Scandinavian itself, a building hidden in the Danish countryside, becomes a floating world: at once a product of reality and imagination; a vessel to escapism.

 

UGO RONDINONE

STERLING RUBY

AI WEIWEI

LAWRENCE WEINER

FRANZ WEST

YOSHITOMO NARA

 

Photo: David Stjernholm

U G O  R O N D I N O N E

the thoughtful

Bluestone and stainless steel

with concrete pedestal

653 x 198 x 94 cm

Executed in 2015

 

A B O U T   T H E   A R T I S T

Ugo Rondinone (born 1964) is a Swiss-born mixed-media artist living and working in New York. His practice spans sculpture, painting, installation, and film, and draws inspiration from nature, spirituality and the everyday to create playful works that blur the boundary between fiction and reality.

 

A B O U T   T H E   A R T W O R K

Like Yoshitomo Nara’s Miss Forest/Thinker, this sculpture is an anthropomorphic being linking nature with the realm of thought and reflection. Made of heavy stacked boulders, the thoughtful is a gentle giant, simple, rough, and reflective. Situated in this open-air, natural habitat, the thoughtful seems to emerge from primitive times, as if excavated from a bygone pre-historic era. This contemporary artwork mimics the vernacular of Stone Henge; a monument by the first men, reimagined by a man of today. Its primal appearance is further enhanced by the natural finish of the stones which are roughly and minimally chipped away at to reveal the stone’s erosion by time and the elements. The bluestone used by Rondinone is naturally formed from sand-sized minerals dating from 350 million years ago. In this way, Rondinone creates a seemingly ancient sculpture brand-new, a time-worn colossus that echoes the history of mankind and the history of art and ritual like a time capsule into another world.

 

 

 AI WEIWEI

Standing Figure

Marble

188 × 80 × 58 cm

Executed in 2016

 

A B O U T   T H E   A R T I S T

Ai Weiwei (born 1957) is one of the most famous artists to emerge from modern-day China. As an activist, he uses his art and film work to draw attention to human rights violations and raise awareness of social, cultural and political issues in his native country and beyond.

 

A B O U T   T H E   A R T W O R K

Taking his cue from cultural histories, Standing Figure was created in response to Ai’s time spent in Greece. The sculpture fuses imagery from Ancient Greek culture with the artist’s own practice: the angular features of Standing Figure mimic those of the figurines of the Ancient Cycladic period in Greece, but the figure’s traditionally crossed arms are here outstretched, hands apart. This stance visually references one of Ai’s infamous photographic series Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn which shows him deliberately letting an ancient urn slip from his hands and shatter at his feet, alluding to the wilful destruction of China’s antique objects during the Cultural Revolution. By quoting the Chinese Cultural Revolution as well as ancient Greek artefacts, Standing Figure becomes an allegory for the destruction and preservation of national heritage. By linking human figures of the past and present, Ai’s Standing Figure reflects on both contemporary China and Greece, their identification to their pasts, and their different treatments of history.

STERLING RUBY

RED R.I.P.

Fibreglass and Formica pedestal

304.8 x 134.7 x 134.7 cm

Executed in 2011

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Sterling Ruby (born 1972) is an American artist who works in a wide variety of media including ceramics, painting, drawing, collage, sculpture and video. Ruby’s work often uses the language of Minimalism to represent human psychological states. His influences range from graffiti and urban gangs to hip-hop, punk, violence, and American culture.

 

ABOUT THE ARTWORK

RED R.I.P. presents us with a drop of scarlet blood, which has seemingly been caught

and frozen for eternity. Blood has connotations of life, death and violence, the materiality of the body, our lifeline pumped through our hearts. The drop’s size, schematic shape, and perfect shiny red colour give it a hyper-real comic book quality. Beneath the drop, the Formica plinth has been “tagged” by Ruby with the title, RED R.I.P. Tagging is a common practice in Ruby’s work that takes influence from gang culture and graffiti in Los Angeles. The act of vandalising is loaded with socio-cultural connotation, a defiant act of self-marginalisation while also of subcultural belonging. Graffers, with their associations to gang culture, occupy an interesting ‘outsider’ social space with its own systems of hierarchy, territory and governance. As part of a body of work looking at American Supermax prisons, this work by Ruby presents us with a stylised depiction of an underground world removed from normal social order; a strange land in its quiet existence just below the surface of society.

 

F R A N Z  W E S T

Untitled

Epoxy resin and lacquer

215 x 622 x 140 cm

Executed in 2009

 

A B O U T   T H E   A R T I S T

Franz West (1947 – 2012) was an Austrian artist who worked across collage and sculpture. West belonged to a generation of artists influenced by the Actionist and Performance Art of the 1960s and 70s which used objects to challenge the usually passive relationship between artwork and viewer. He created brightly-coloured, tactile works that were supposed to be touched, held, manipulated. His dynamic work bridged the gap between performance and sculpture.

 

A B O U T   T H E   A R T W O R K

Untitled is typical of West’s buoyant, dynamic sculpture, a mischievous curl of pink lacquered resin like a large Viennese sausage. West’s sculptural works are often a little tongue-in-cheek in their playful rainbow hues: the associations our mind creates with the abstract sculpture are significant, as West’s work is underpinned by ideas of the subconscious, psychoanalysis and philosophy. The colour pink recurs in West’s work, favoured for its Freudian connotations to the body. This work, in particular, is a homage to West’s fascination with the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, whose ideas on randomness and theories about the meaninglessness of language inspired West’s work. The sculpture seems to be a written scribble, cast into a three-dimensional ribbon in space. West takes the strange abstractions of our minds and subconscious and renders it into a physical object, a mind-trigger.

 

 

UGO RONDINONE

white green silver blue black mountain

Painted stone, stainless steel pedestal

209 x 74 x 45 cm

Executed in 2017

 

UGO RONDINONE

black blue yellow green mountain

Painted stone, stainless steel pedestal

172 x 53 x 42 cm Executed in 2015

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Ugo Rondinone (born 1964) is a Swiss-born mixed-media artist living and working in

New York. His practice spans sculpture, painting, installation, and film, and draws inspiration from nature, spirituality and the everyday to create playful works that blur the boundary between fiction and reality.

 

ABOUT THE ARTWORKS Ugo Rondinone’s work frequently takes inspiration from nature

and ritual, which Rondinone re-imagines according to his brightly coloured and whimsical vision. His Mountain sculptures consist of heavy, rough rocks stacked vertically on concrete plinths. Inspired by naturally- occurring Hoodoos (spires or pyramids of stone) and balancing rock formations, Rondinone, however, subverts their geological form by coating individual rocks with his signature virulent, unnaturalistic colours. The works seem to erupt from a cartoon landscape; a natural world turned Pop. The stacked stones appear poised between monumentality and collapse, delicate Day-Glo totems defying gravity in their teetering formations; simultaneously weight-less and earthbound. Like Yoshitomo Nara (also featured at The Scandinavian), Rondinone transforms elements of landscape into an otherworldly dreamscape, toying between reality and surreality, between the earthly and the imaginary.

 

 

AI WEIWEI

Yu Yi

Bamboo, LED bulbs

155 x 1200 x 400 cm

Executed in 2015

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Ai Weiwei (born 1957) is one of the most famous artists to emerge from modern-day China. As an activist, he uses his art and film work to draw attention to human rights violations and raise awareness of social, cultural and political issues in his native country and beyond.

 

ABOUT THE ARTWORK

Yu Yi links China of the past with China of today – two estranged cultures since the mass- industrialisation of the country over the last decades. The shape of the figure is inspired by the ceremonial burial suits in which royal members in Han dynasty China (206 BCE – 220 CE) were buried. Made of woven bamboo, its material is associated with virtue and viewed as a symbol of traditional Chinese values. For Yu Yi, Ai weaves the bamboo using ancient kite-making techniques, a nod to the figure seemingly ‘flying’. The title is Mandarin for the ancient burial suit, but can also denote the ‘desire to see with fresh eyes,’ to feel things

as powerfully as you did when younger – before expectations, before memory, before words. Ai seems to reference traditional ancient China as a time of innocence and purity. Ai also links the history of his country to its contemporary state. Colossal and soaring face-down above the viewer, Yu Yi could be seen as a superhero, alluding to modern- day China’s status as an economic and industrial superpower, physically and metaphorically built from the country’s tradition and history.

 

U G O  R O N D I N O N E

wind moon

Cast aluminum, white enamel

600 x 520 x 460 cm

Executed in 2011

 

A B O U T   T H E   A R T I S T

Ugo Rondinone (born 1964) is a Swiss-born mixed-media artist living and working in New York. His practice spans sculpture, painting, installation, and film, and draws inspiration from nature, spirituality and the everyday to create playful works that blur the boundary between fiction and reality.

 

A B O U T   T H E   A R T W O R K

wind moon is a spectral, bone-white aluminium sculpture, cast by Rondinone from a 2,000-year-old olive tree in Southern Italy. The tensions between reality and surreality, poetry and industry, naturalism and artifice are always present in Rondinone’s work, and wind moon seeks to reconcile these realms; at once industrial in its materiality, natural in its subject matter, and otherworldly in its ghostly enamelled colour. Rondinone reinvents the world poetically, making trees to populate a dreamscape. Placed outdoors amongst real nature at The Scandinavian, this work – an aluminium tree cast from a real one – raises questions about concepts of time and displacement, and about the relationship between natural and artificial environments. The cast gnarled branches and twisting trunk, weathered by 2,000 years, transport the viewer back to a more archaic time of Earth rituals and Pagan worship of the stars, when Man was connected to Nature and ruled by the Earth’s cycles, rather than attempting to combat and overcome them.  wind moon is a kind of portal, a time-traveller in an aluminium shell, evoking past societies and imaginary worlds.

 

LAWRENCE WEINER

WITHIN A REALM OF DISTANCE CAT.1110

Language + the materials referred to

58.8 x 664 cm

Executed in 2015

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

American artist Lawrence Weiner (born 1942) is one of the central figures of conceptual art since the 1960s. He works with text and words, always produced in a signature typeface and bright colours. His text can appear anywhere, such as on walls, floors, the sides of public buildings, bridges and busses, and can be reproduced in any size and material, or simply exist as words without ever being “produced” into an installation. This is the key to conceptual art: the idea is the artwork, rather than the physical object.

 

ABOUT THE ARTWORK

Weiner explores the poetic as well as graphic potential of language. His artworks combine the aesthetic shape of letters with the meaning of words. The meaning of this work is certainly mysterious: the dictum WITHIN A REALM OF DISTANCE seems paradoxical, denoting something that is both close and far. In this sense, Weiner textually evokes the exhibition theme Strange Lands: something that feels familiar, yet also far away and alien. WITHIN A REALM OF DISTANCE could be a metaphor for The Scandinavian itself, which is located on the outskirts of bustling Copenhagen but seems to erupt from nowhere, from

the trees and the hills, like an imagined place or strange land, a sealed microcosm of escapism.

 

Y O S H I T O M O  N A R A

Miss Forest / Thinker

Urethane on bronze

500 x 140 x 159 cm

Executed in 2016

 

A B O U T   T H E   A R T I S T

Yoshitomo Nara (born 1959) is a Japanese artist best known for his enigmatic depictions of childlike figures. His style combines the two-dimensionality of traditional Japanese painting with the imagery of Western popular culture, as well as Japanese subcultures such as manga, anime, and illustration.

 

A B O U T   T H E   A R T W O R K

Nara’s venture into working with bronze began shortly after the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, the most powerful earthquake ever recorded to hit Japan that triggered a disaster at Fukushima nuclear plant. This tragedy catalysed a shift in Nara’s work to more contemplative, existential themes. In this sculpture, we see Nara articulate a relationship between the natural world and our inner minds. For Miss Forest/Thinker, Nara takes the pine tree as a symbol of growth, strength and contemplation, which he personifies into a woman; she is a woodland deity or higher being. This serene colossus is one of Nara’s “forest spirits”, transcendent beings connecting man and nature, made of strong and durable bronze, capable of withstanding time and natural disaster; symbols of life and hope. Deep and docile, sweet and subdued, this monumental and mythical being invites us to participate in her meditative state. Like the branches of a coniferous tree, Miss Forest’s conical hair appears to grow forever upwards, reaching beyond the confines of body-bound thought to a higher realm of spiritual reflection.

 

 

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