Culture Features

Culture | Natural State of Mind at Copenhagen’s Rundetaarn

Natural State of Mind explores 3 different artistic disciplines to interpret elements of nature. Elements include Soil, Rain, Summer, Storm, with the 5th being a range of works from Denmark and one from the USA.

Open from March 7 – April 12 2015, the exhibition is set in the picturesque Library Hall of the Rundetaarn (Round Tower) of Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital city.  The works were made by cabinet-maker Laura Bergsøe, goldsmith Josephine Bergsøe and photographer Jakob Dall who interpret elements from nature, through various objects such as wooden surfaces, jewellery sculptures and photographs.

Examining what happens when nature is turned into culture. It asks questions such as; “What role does processing play in the process of interpretation?” (Natural State of Mind 2015) Unwinding nature to culture, reflecting craft complexity  so to explain that we cannot change nature, but instead adapt it to our cultural design spaces. Showing what nature does to us in “feeling , curiosity and total surrender”.

Trying to explore these themes with the complexity of handicrafts is bold and daring. Especially when comparing ourselves with the sublimity of nature. The artists accepted the challenge, in terms of emotive and curiosity qualities that are within.

The exhibition goes methodological in the thought process, saying; “The world order. The concept of order tends to connote something lacklustre and pallid, whereas the opulence of disorder is perceived as a fertile medium in which art and creativity thrive.” (Natural State of Mind 2015) This is the artists’ way of saying that nature acts of its own volition, which can lead to disorder.  That despite the natural events, we strive to fight the disorder  and create a solution.  Showing that the human race fights against decay by rebuilding different natural structures.

The artists divided the exhibition into concepts and objects, followed by  names in order to discuss their place. For example, the exhibition’s booklet describes the features; “Throughout the ages, we have been convinced that every single component of the world belongs to a category of similar things – deer, fallow deer and elk are all types of deer, which in turn belong to the Animal Kingdom, etc.” (Natural State of Mind 2015)

Looking at the wooden tables, chairs, the objects that dangle from the ceiling in  amongst the photos of soil and leaves.  You notice the influence of Philosopher Empedocles, who defined four elements (fire, air, water and earth) much like the ones that the three artists have focused on.

Aesthetically, the creation of art and natural wonder is a craving in us. ‘Art is an act of creation’, observing the natural world of man-made objects.   

Laura Bergsøe’s work is in a time warp, the cabinet-makers’ materials are that of wood and a more modern set of features. A table made from the hearth of tree sits in the Library Room, where the old oak that stood in the Stone Age has now crossed time and space to stand here.

Goldsmith Josephine Bergsøe works with materials where silver bracelets meet gold sockets, held up by wires and exhibited in the illuminated tubes  in a vertical position. Elements summer and rain were interpreted as storms and dust on a summer’s day.

Jakob Dall captures his inspiration with a camera. The black and white sits eloquently along the walls, where droplets and ice, pine forest and the sea in a harsh wave sit still for a moment in the dry confines of the room.  Chaotically poetic to ponder the moments of meaning and darkness, yet offering calm and solace to look at.

Working with wood as old as this is no easy task, the time is key to the final piece. These are fragments of nature, each part of the tree from the trunk to the branch has a story to tell, even if the leaves come and go. (Bergsøe, L. 2015) The idea is to make something that lasts and that’s different. But not just different with a name on it, in fact it is an attempt to stop the throw-away culture we have and to try identify the lasting and historic nature that it can hold both before and after it’s reincarnation.

A range of unique handcrafted jewellery is also on show, but not as you know.  Strung from the ceiling of the roof, you can see the metals with new forms and a different way of using them.  Colours of blue and gold run throughout, reflecting the themes of earth, wind, and organic in their style.  From the sharp diamonds, rubies, and aqua-pearls in oxidised silver of Queen of Medusas, to the smooth and rounded 22 carat gold ring with diamonds of Sea Walnut.  There is a lot of variety, all be it simplistic at best, from these works. (Bergsøe, J. 2015)

Documenting the scenes of weather and nature are a timely exercise.  Artistically challenging naturalistic photographs are not as minimal as predicted.  The ‘rain’ element of the series is melancholic, dark, and with efforts of dualism of what people see in photos, Copenhagen II and Holte, which document the sea in chaos and the darkness of the trees in the forest. (Dall, J. 2015)

Events in our world take place of their own accord invariably leads to disorder.  Empires fall and new life are born, not just in the human race or animals, but with nature too.  This exhibition set out to challenge the way look and interact with the natural aspect of life, and in doing so left a mark on its visitor, even if it wasn’t long lasting.  In our need of r routine and arrangement, sometimes it is easy to forget that we are not always in control of the things around us, and being closer to knowing that is a great lesson.

Everybody needs some irregularities and chaos in their lives, for both aesthetic and cultural desires to flourish, this must happen.  So leaving this exhibition, the key is to observe, reflect, and take it all in for the next step, understanding.