In an earlier piece, I wrote about the onion lawns in Copenhagen’s parks. This lawn in Kongens Have (King’s Garden) must be the most tumblred, pinterested and perhaps wordpressed photo opportunity for early spring in Copenhagen, I imagine.
How’s the new year resolution going, I hear you ask. It has been a while since I wrote about what I read. And I have been reading. 16 books so far in 2015.
Recently, I have read historical fiction. I have a keen interest in Danish history – I have traced my roots to the history books. I am fascinated by writers who can animate historic characters in historic scenes and make it seem real and believable. Of course, historical fiction is just that, fiction, and should not be mistaken for real history. But when history is told in a fictional genre, it is certainly easier to remember who is who in a turbulent time of Danish history.
Virginia Woolf seems to be everywhere in my life at the moment. I read the literature she writes and I go to a lecture series named after her essay A Room of One’s Own. But I did not expect to meet her at an exhibition.
White Energy at Galleri Kant is curated by Asmund Havsteen-Mikkelsen; the title refers to Woolf’s reflections on creative energy in A Room of One’s Own – the utopian fever state of pure creation. Works have been selected because of their ‘whiteness’ and ‘strong formal power of enunciation’. So the reference to Virginia Woolf is not to her feminist agenda – which is the key message I took away from reading her – but applying more broadly her insights about the need for freedom to create. Thus, only three of the nine exhibiting artists (or groups) are women, which I supect would have somewhat disappointed Woolf. Perhaps it is reflctive of a sad reality that so many years later, men are still more likely to have access to this state. Continue reading
On Sunday last week the temperature hit two digits and the sun blared down – at least during the middle hours of the day. Spring has sprung in Copenhagen and it is beautiful, if still cold enough for the wind to make my ears ache during the morning walk.
Orlando (1928) is a short work of fiction, highly acclaimed and thought to be the most accessible of Virginia Woolf’s works. Frankly, I found it tedious and long in the tooth. It took me forever to read, getting lost in long passages of description. I had to look hard for the insights and gems.
Copenhagen has a refreshing number of green spaces that support wildlife. A harbour town (originally known just as Havn – habour), it is situated on the water with plentiful canals and parks, both highly designed gardens like the King’s Garden and the more naturally maintained parks like Dyrehaven. The moors that used to flank the old town outside the ramparts are partly preserved in parklands.
The great thing about these green areas are that they are home to plenty of bird life – from the large swans to the tiny finches and sparrows: blue tit, great tit, forest sparrow, robins etc. They flitter in and out of bushes and are impossible to capture on camera. My bird watching husband is excited to see these birds that were rare when he was bird watching in Essex as a child in the 1980s.
But the Copenhagen bird that has caught my eye and imagination is not to be found in the parks and can easily be captured on film. This bird is the Graffiti Bird and once I spotted the first one, I realised it is ubiquitous in this town.
I like graffiti and respect graffiti artists. Graffiti in the Banksy style is humourous, clever and often political. City councils find themselves preserving a bit of wall with good graffiti art (especially when it is Banksy and potentially valuale). These same councils also spend enormous resources to remove graffiti from the street picture. The Graffiti Bird caught my imagination. It is a happy picture, simple in its design and often imposed where it juxtaposes unsightly features of the city or other less aesthetic graffiti. I imagine property owners and København Kommune less enthusiastic about the Graffiti Bird, which has been around for some time. I am not sure who the artist is for there is no consistent tag, or if it is just one artist or several.