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Arken Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen

Arken is a non-governmental non-profit charitable organization, the state commissioner, a modern art museum in Ishøj near Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. The museum is one of Denmark's largest in modern art, it presents important international cultural works and exhibitions. Arken is located in the suburb of Ishøj, near Koge (Koge-bag), twenty kilometers south of Copenhagen, Denmark. Arken Museum was designed by 25-year-old architect student Soren Robert Lund in excellent architectural form and was approved by the District of Copenhagen. It was opened on March 15, 1996 and was conceived by Queen Margaret ; Her Majesty Denmark.

Arken Museum offers a collection of contemporary art, in major works on 400 Denmark, Scandinavia and the International Postwar Art, including famous works by Damien Hirst, Olafur Eliasson, Anselm Reil Shirin Neshat, Tilmans, Danish / Norwegian duo Ingar Dragset and Michael Elmgrin and much more. Arken, thanks to the synthesis of contemporary art, maritime architecture and landscape, is also recognized as a milestone in Danish architecture. The museum offers an overview of contemporary and contemporary art, cultural and research exhibitions, architecture and design, sculptural artifacts, paintings, engravings, installations and multimedia displays.

Arken (Danish for "Ark"), created and promoted in 1996, is a unique and excellent architectural form, which is a collection of works from different countries. The history of the Arken Museum of Modern Art began with the fact that the museum has created a single whole of international scale and active dynamic space.

The museum reopened in January 2008 after a major overhaul, which included an expansion that provided an additional 50% of the gallery area.

In the 20th century, there was a global growth of contemporary art museums, in particular, the Museum of Modern Art was opened in 1988. Together, this has influenced the growth and noticeable growth of cultural institutions that display both local and international art. It has played an important role in the development and collection of contemporary art.

Arken Museum of Modern Art

In 1988, an architectural competition for the creation of a new museum of contemporary art in southwestern Copenhagen was held. As a result, the 25-year-old student architect Soren Robert Lund actually won the first prize of the competition and received a commission for his design, which was completed in 1992. The name "Arken" was also chosen from the open architecture competition. The original idea was to place Arken on the beach as a characteristic maritime architectural form reflecting its Danish name. For conservation reasons, the museum was built behind low sand dunes between the lagoon.

Before the museum opened in the late 20th century, Denmark underwent significant social, cultural and political changes. In the 1960s, municipalities south of Copenhagen saw rapid population growth, especially immigrants of Kurdish, Turkish and Pakistani nationalities. A trend that further enhanced the district's multicultural development was the migration of residents from the central part of the city to areas south of Copenhagen. This led to an influx of multicultural regions into Denmark, which in turn brought together local and international arts.

Arken, as a cultural institution in transition, undertook two major renovations and extensions designed by the original architect Søren Robert Lund in collaboration with CF Møller Architects. The museum houses permanent collections and donations of works from 2005-2008 by Damien Hirst, Marc Quinn, Mona Hatum, Jeppe Hein, Jeff Koons and Elmgreen & Dragset.

ARKEN has also published the Arken Bulletin, which is a venue for discussions among international academic circles on art theory and museology.

Each year ARKEN awards the ARKENs kunstpris prize to a contemporary artist of DKK 100,000.

Arken Museum of Modern Art


The museum is designed and built as a deconstructive architectural form in maritime style. In a cultural institution, this style of architecture became the object of public attention thanks to the exhibition of deconstructivist architecture in New York in 1988 at the Museum of Modern Art, which presents famous works by Daniel Libeskind, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid. Deconstructivist architecture was publicly activated by Jacques Derrida, Peter Eisenman and Bernard Chumi. This wave of deconstruction in architectural forms became noticeable in Europe in the 1980s, in the style that Soren Robert Lundin used to design the Arken. The museum reflects this movement and continues the rational approach of modernism. Architectural deconstructivism requires the existence of an archetypical structure, a strong dialect of the usual presence of flexibility experiment against. The Arken Museum is conceived as an architectural form of shipwreck, embodying spatial shells, altered geometric masses and subversive activity, demonstrating an effective act of deconstruction. 

Deconstructivist architecture with its tendency to deform and dislocate has angular forms and abstract geometry, as defined in the outer and inner space of Arken. The museum demonstrates deconstructivism by "destroying the embodied idea of the building, exposing it from the inside out, reconstructing many spaces and creating different access points. 

The formal Arken plan includes the collected parts of the building, separated and fragmented to create a fragmented ship shape and floor plan with beveled corners. Contrasting colors of grey and red walls, large open rooms and small rooms and angles of buildings with curved galleries create a visible deconstruction. Arken simulates geometric imbalance and fragmentation to counteract modernist concepts of "form follows function", "truth to material" and "purity of form.

Since its opening in 1966, the museum has undergone architectural and spatial transformation in response to contemporary social change programs. Arken's expansion and periodic transformation has increased space availability to the public by 50% over the original space built in 1996, making it open to change and "modern museological practice. The expansion has allowed Arken to shift its approach from presenting its archives of paintings, designs and artwork on paper to displaying integrated large sculptural masses such as the UTOPIA project.

Arken Museum of Modern Art

The museum reopened its doors to the public on September 5, 2009 after renovations by the original Arken architect Søren Robert Lund and design partner CF Møller Architect. The renovation consisted of 3 parts: a new sculpture gallery and the main entrance by Søren Robert Lund, as well as areas for educational and experienced workshops designed by Anna Maria Indrio from CF Møller Architects.

This expansion significantly expanded the new Arken showroom to 1600 m2 with a total area of 5000 m2. The museum eliminated supporting walls or columns in all individual rooms, and the new showroom was structured in four white squares. The air conditioning structures were recessed into the walls and the security equipment was placed in the floor underneath the steel plates, as CF Møller sought to maintain the "rhythm and proportions of the existing facade" of Arken.

The ceilings were lowered and a new white box design was introduced. The extensions were designed by Anna Maria Indrio from CFMøllers Tegnestue. Annie and Otto Jos. The Detlefs Foundation provided financial support for the extension of 1100 m2, both donated about 10 million dollars. The Detlefs hall, which is intended for displaying sculptures and additional extensions for training workshops, was included and renovated on the north side of the building. The renovated entrance leads to a new large hall of 600 m2, which functions as the core of the museum and is the central point for all rooms and facilities.

A donation and financial investment for Arken's second expansion was made by APMøller and Hustru Chastine, the McKinney Møller Foundation for General Purposes, creating a water landscape. Excavations of the vast areas surrounding the gallery were aimed at recognizing the characteristic maritime architecture of the museum and the surrounding landscape as an "art island". The museum was moved to the island instead of the original plan to be located on the seashore due to environmental conservation factors associated with the ecological balance and heritage. This expansion is a seascape with three road bridges, two pedestrian bridges, lagoons, natural plantations and an architectural sculpture park. The renovation and expansion were carried out by Schul Landskabsarkitekter in cooperation with Møller and Grønborg as a "transition from nature to culture".

Arken Museum of Modern Art

Two pedestrian bridges were formally reconstructed diagonally on the museum's main axis to create a transitional road from the sea landscape to the gallery.

The museum is home to significant international cultural works and remarkable exhibits from a collective collection of over 400 artists. The collection covers the period from World War II in 1945 to the present day, including the permanent caches of Damien Hirst, Olafur Eliasson, Ai Wei Wei, Ingar Dragset, Michael Elmgrin and Asger Jorn. 

The museum's collection includes two fundamental themes: the human condition of the modernist man and about art, which challenges the essential definition of art itself through new media, mixed materials and sculptural forms.

To the left of the entrance to the front yard of the Arken is a sculpture of a child riding a rocking horse, signed by Ingar Dragset and Michael Elmgrin "Structures of powerlessness" . The equestrian sculpture is designed to honor the heroism of humanism.

The image of a boy riding a rocking horse encourages viewers to think about less spectacular events in their lives, which are often the most important. Sculpture reminds about everyday life and calls into question the tradition of monuments based on military victory or defeat.

Arken Museum of Modern Art

In the archives of the Arken is a permanent exhibition of British artist Damien Hirst. Among the famous exhibits: Love's Paradox, 2007, Beautiful Strummerville Spin, 2010 and 2-amino-5-brombenzotrifluoride, 2011, the size of 4.57 by 14.32 meters and specially selected to match the size of Arken. These donations were made by Dennis and Jitt Merla Dresing from the Merla Foundation. A collection of works by Damien Hirst was collected in the "Hearst Room", a gallery space designed to showcase his work. Other installations were a 2.5-meter bronze statue called St. Bartholomew, 2006 and a diamond-tipped skull called "In the name of love for God".

"Love for God" has expanded all boundaries of artistic production, as this human skull, decorated with 8601 diamonds, was worth 15 million pounds and was marked by a hard price of 50 million pounds.