ARoS, the Danish museum that won my heart this year

It exceeded my expectations.


 ARoS Kunstmuseum

Since the first time I knew I was moving to Aarhus, Denmark to study my Master’s degree, I realized one of the main spots I wanted to visit after my arrival was its iconic art museum ARoS, and indeed, since the first tour, it exceeded my expectations.

Although the museum opened in 1859 and its current location was established in 2004, maybe its more representative space is Your rainbow panorama. The installation created by the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson opened in 2011, and it’s a great site to enjoy the view of the whole city of Aarhus, do colorful panoramic pictures, and take some selfies. But before going to the top floor of the building, something more caught my attention; the montage of its exhibitions.

From the exhibition Bacon, Freud, and the London painters

The first time, I notice the name of the art pieces exhibited were not located right next to them I thought it was a creative way to engage the visitors. The second time, I feel I can involve better with the piece and follow the gallery in a different way. For the paintings displayed at The Garden – The Past names were located at the bottom, this helped me to focus since the beginning more in the painting, rather than asking myself about its author. For Bacon, Freud, and the London painters numbers, not names, were placed at the bottom. Interestingly, the order of the paintings in the room was not ascendant but dictated by the curatorship as they were grouped by themes. However, the numbers could also be found in a booklet with the author’s name and major information about the pieces. In both cases, I felt I spent more time consciously seeing the piece, than trying to understand it without paying much attention to it by reading a big explanation.


From the exhibition The Garden – The Past

Previous studies, as the ones cited in this article of Artsy, underline people spend almost 30 seconds watching an artwork. Although multiple reasons can influence the time someone takes in front of a piece of art, I found it remarkable as I have felt sometimes, I invert more reading the technical information about the painting, sculpture or photography, rather than looking at it.

From the exhibition Bacon, Freud, and the London painters

Why did I like this exercise? Because I have never seen something similar before. I ignore if other museums around the world change the montage of its exhibition in an akin way, but at least here, it as different way to enjoy a visit.

Not all ARoS museum follows the same pattern; still, I find more interesting those exhibitions that break with this order. ARoS defines itself as a “mental fitness centre”. I don’t know if the exercise of placing the objects’ name in a different way is part of the purposes of their exhibitions. Yet, for me, visiting them and noticing these small details is part of a “mental fitness”.

Una respuesta a “ARoS, the Danish museum that won my heart this year

  1. Its really refreshing how you always manage to hit the bull’s eye every time by approaching something that eventhough we may unconsciously also experience it, we seldom take enough notice to acknowledge it.
    Personally I have to accept that I’m guilty as charged of being usually distracted by the painting/ sculpture’s name, author’s name, description and analysis before looking at the piece itself. The result? After checking all those facts, my mind is already predisposed to a common interpretation and I can’t appreciate art with the open mind it requires.
    So its really fantastic to know that there are museums that are aware of this and instead of just housing art like a mute spectator are actively trying to engage their visitors and are willing to go out of the box with new presentation ideas and trying to make us have a “mental fitness” workout.
    Also the tidbit of knowledge of the average time one spends looking at art is a good way of giving us a way o try to measure ourselves…so kudos for that. Again, thanks for sharing darling.

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