The Copenhagen Contemporary's use of a large, unfinished space to allow artists to complete experimental and challenging installations, displays effective innovation. Art can grow and challenge perceptions while fending off pretentiousness by embracing the personalized experiences visitors can have. Whether viewers leave purely entertained or in a place of introspection, they will have interacted with art in new and exciting ways.
The Copenhagen Contemporary offers a malleable space for experimental and performative art to be displayed- art that would be discounted as impractical or not exhibited to its full potential in other museums and galleries.
The space is a warehouse full of white walls and simple, well designed placards, which allows the art to impact the viewer without constraints.
Beyond the utility of the space, the simple presentation allows the art to be experienced rather than asserted. All of the selected art seems to mirror this purpose- art as an encounter with new ideas, which anyone can experience without needing prior knowledge.
Debatably the most innovative use of the space, Celeste Boursier-Mougenot's "from ear to ear" creates a sanctuary for experimental soundscapes. 44 zebra finch couples fly around the space, seemingly unaware of the people wandering through their home. The white walls create a very tangible sense of space, with the viewer noticing that all attention is placed on the installation on the ground, while music is created all around. As the finches land and move on the guitars, amplifiers placed around the room create a spontaneous and eerie, yet strangely calming, sound. The CC really, really, wants you to know that they treat the finches very well, placing a lengthy description at the entrance of the oasis.
In an interview, the artist discusses the importance of accessibility in his work, saying "one of my goals is to make my works very musical and appealing. The piece is complex and technical and this is a fact for a lot of my work but I try not to make it the subject."
Read more about Boursier-Mougenot and his important innovation in this interview- http://kopenhagen.dk/magasin/magazine-single/article/balancing-constraint-with-chance-interview-with-celeste-boursier-mougenot/
Ragnar Kjartansson uses the malleable space to create an entirely unique, individual experience with video art through his installation "Scenes from Western Culture." He displays "postcards" of various aspects of life suspending around the room. Each piece is a moving snapshot with slight variances visitors only notice if they watch each for a significant amount of time. Visitors can experience the installation however they are drawn to, whether they focus on one snapshot to see the video at length, or they quickly take in the different perspectives.
As a viewer, it is hard not to feel intrusive and judgmental, yet not to also identify with the situations. This personal impact may be interpreted as Kjartansson's commentary.
Another innovative use of open space is CC's method of presenting films. Instead of cramped side closets with heavy curtains, the first room of the CC is a large, open room, where a large video is shown on one end, and a few benches are placed in the other. The videos reflect onto the floor and allow the quality of the image and the sound to be fully taken in.
Kjartansson's "A Lot of Sorrow" (left) makes effective use of this format. Showing a draining and cathartic recording of band The National performing their song "Sorrow" repetetively for six hours, the use of a large, dark, empty space extended the emotions of the subject to the viewer.
The Copenhagen Contemporary continues to innovate in the space of performance-inspired installations. Any visitor can have a meaningful experience when going through their exhibitions in a personal way. Also those finches are very happy do not worry.