Cisternerne: Copenhagen’s Museum of Modern Glass Art
On our last day in Denmark, Alex and I split up for a few hours to pursue a few individual interests. I won’t give you any guesses as to how he spent his time, but you might not know that I have a strong interest in glass; so I was excited to learn about the Cisternerne, which is a museum of modern glass art.
Although the entrance fee seems high at 50 Danish Kroner, that’s just about £6, so I figured even if it wasn’t the most amazing thing ever, I wasn’t out too much money. Luckily for me it turned out to be a pretty cool experience. In fact, I think I enjoyed the ambience more than the art (with a few exceptions!)
As you can probably guess from the name, the Cisternerne is located in an old water cistern. It’s essentially a huge cavern underground, and from the surface you would have no idea it’s down below. The entire space of this field represents the open area underneath.
When we approached the location on the map, near Søndermarken Park, I was a little confused because I didn’t see any buildings, just a large field and a circular, manmade pond (I can’t think of the right word to describe it right now!). In the distance I could make out two triangular glass buildings, and as Alex headed off to his trains, I made my way along a lovely route to the entrance.
Once you enter the triangular glass buildings (which kind of reminded me of the capsule in which Superman was saved from the destruction of his home planet and traveled to Earth), you go down a very long and steep staircase into darkness. You can immediately feel that the air is moist, and when you stop at the bottom you’re standing in a centimeter or two of water. No one warned me about that!
There is very minimal lighting down there, which seems odd for a museum of glass. But then I realized that they weren’t joking when they said “modern” glass – because it was very cutting edge. There were quiet a few pieces I didn’t like, but the presentation alone was worth it.
The space was quite large (the website says it is 1400 meters square). There were arches and columns throughout, which made it hard do figure out where you were or what was around you. There were only a few lights, mostly mounted to shine from behind onto the glass, or as a spotlight down on a particular piece. There were also a lot of candles scattered around, in nooks and crannies and chandeliers. I mentioned the water, but I didn’t tell you that I had a hole in the botom of my shoe, and my sock got totally wet.
Some of the pieces can only be described as sculptures made out of glass – they were three dimensional, and most were opaque. If I didn’t know, I would have said it was pottery. But other pieces were more traditional stained glass, with very modern designs and colors. I liked these ones the best.
In the far section of the space was a series of carved people, life-sized.It was quite spooky being in that space, all alone (because no one else was visiting as far as I could tell), with a room full of carved people. These were obviously not made of out of glass, but I couldn’t tell you what th material was.
There were maybe 100 of these figures, and all were dressed in historical clothing and were clearly identifiable as certain characters: a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker, etc. I don’t know if they were all Danish, or came from all over the world, or what. I really wish they had more information down there!
I spent maybe 40 minutes in total at the Cisternerne, and I took quite a few photos although very few of them have turned out because of the lack of light. I would definitely recommend this for a scary Halloween experience, but unless you really love modern art, it might be best to stay up in the sunshine.
This image (above) was my least-favorite in the whole exhibition. I think it’s a group of dogs fighting, snarling, and attacking each other. It’s an amazing technical composition, I’m sure, but it gave me the creeps. But then again, who says that good art has make you feel good?
This image (above) was my favorite. I would buy this if I could. I did manage to find out that it by an artist name Lise Malinovsky, who was born in 1957. I just love the colors and shapes … I wish I could hang it in my house!