Here is a small post about my visit last week to the Danish Museum of Decoration and Design here in Copenhagen. I decided to pay a visit to the museum because I haven’t been there for ages. It is a bit of an old fashion museum in the sense that after Danish Design Centre opened a few years back The Danish Museum of Decoration and Design has become more of a historical museum looking back in time. What’s on display here is the history of Danish design and general design and it only pays little attention to the ongoing developments. The standing exhibition is therefore a very large part of the museum and there are only few and rather small special exhibitions. This is the reason I guess why I haven’t set foot in the museum for quite a few years; seeing it all again now was a lot of fun, but I don’t think I’ll be coming back to see the permanent exhibition any time soon.
However it brought back a lot of childhood memories of the homes of my grand parents; many of the designer classics on display there were and are still parts of Danish homes today. Hans Wegner chairs and Verner Panton lamps are still very popular today and a lot of Børge Mogensen’s furniture designs were not that expensive in the 50s and 60s. The legendary lamps created by Poul Henningsen and the B&O radios were part of both my grandparents’ and my childhood home. Seeing this standing exhibition was therefore fun and sort of historically educative, but it did not show me anything about what’s happing with Danish design these days and I missed that a bit.
Copenhagen in illustration
I have always been very fascinated by Danish old school poster design. The visiting exhibition shows posters and illustrations by Danish illustrator Ib Andersen . Although I at first thought I didn’t know him, he has created many of the well known posters for example for Tivoli:
With the same brilliant perspective on street life and everyday scenery as Touslouse-Lautrec Ib Andersen also made illustrations for newspapers such as Politiken and Berlingske Tidende in the 1930s and onwards. These examples show how he both captures the city's loneliness and isolation, and can turn shapes and shadows into artistic master pieces.
But Ib Andersen's illustrations are also legendary in other less acknowledged ways – he is the guy behind the illustrations on the old Danish 20,50,100 and 1000 kroner bills. I know it seems silly to get all sentimental about illustrations on money, but for some reason I really think that they deserve greater artistic attention. These days when we're all using our credit cards more and more and a lot of cash becomes rare I think it would be cool if we could take time and look at the bills - they are small pieces of artwork.