Shaped by Time

Shaped by Time

National Museum of Denmark

May 27, 2012

Shaped by Time
1 June–30 September 2012

Opening: 1 June 2012

The National Museum of Denmark
Ny Vestergade 10, 1220
Copenhagen K, Denmark


Anette Abrahamsson (SE), Katja Aglert (SE), Ruth Campau (DK), Marianne Therese Grønnow (DK), Mette Hersoug (DK), Saskia Holmkvist (SE), Hans Holten (DK), Nicolai Howalt (DK), Henrik Plenge Jakobsen (DK), Charlotte Bergmann Johansen (DK), Joachim Koester (DK), Tomas Lagermand Lundme (DK), Marie Søndergaard Lolk (DK), Rasmus Møbius (DK), Bodil Nielsen (DK), Ursula Andkjær Olsen (DK), Unnar Örn (I), Olivia Plender (UK), Merete Pryds Helle (DK), Mille Rude (DK), Katya Sander (DK), Julie Sass (DK), Goldin+ Senneby (SE), Astrid Svangren (SE), Jonas Hvid Søndergaard (DK), Trine Søndergaard (DK), Gitte Villesen (DK)

Shaped by Time is a contemporary art exhibition where twenty-eight artists and authors have been invited to research and respond to the National Museum of Denmark’s prehistoric collection, presenting history from the end of the Ice Age to the Viking Age. In dialogue with the curators and museum historians, each artist has made a new site-sensitive work in the permanent prehistoric exhibition.

The exhibition takes as its starting point the specific museological context of the Danish National Museum and its 2008 re-staging of the prehistoric collection, intended to make the experience of history more digestible and exciting to audiences. Shaped by Time inserts another layer of experience and meaning, engaging with the museum’s methodology of display, its theatrical use of sound, and subdued lighting.

Commissioned texts, photographs, paintings, sculptures, video, and sound works are embedded in the collection, responding to the architecture as well as themes highlighted in the permanent exhibition, such as aesthetics, cultural exchange, status symbols, faith, and magic. The exhibition questions how cultural histories are narrated, what objects are selected to represent or stand in for thousands of years of consolidated history and human production, and what these artifacts relay about how we see ourselves and what we value. How much has human expression evolved? How can contemporary art—including abstract, non-research-based practices—think through history and through the museum that preserves and presents it?

In Shaped by Time, objects of past and present and the ideas that inform their making mirror each other, posing questions regarding how we are able to read a distant past through the objects it has produced and what we may learn from them. The exhibition sets into play artistic and anthropological methodologies, as they confluently construct history and produce meaning in different ways.

An English-language publication, titled Shaped by Time, will document and contextualize the exhibition and reflect critically on the research project and the ongoing dialogue with the National Museum. Texts by the curators, anthropologist Katja Kvaale, historian and Head of the Prehistoric Collection Poul Otto Nielsen, as well as art historian and critic Alexander Dumbadze will discuss the topics pertinent to the exhibition from different perspectives: time, history, cultural heritage, contemporary art practices, and anthropological and artistic knowledge production. Available on Revolver Publishing in July 2012.

The exhibition Shaped by Time is a curatorial collaboration between curator Milena Hoegsberg and artist Julie Sass.

The exhibition has been generously supported by the Danish Arts Council.

*Image above:
Concept: Julie Sass; design: Jeanne Betak (Copenhagen); photo: Erling Lykke Jeppesen.



Shaped by Time at The National Museum of Denmark
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May 27, 2012

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