07. April 2016

Exhibition Manager Esther Schlicht marvels at sculptures by Alberto Giacometti in the Louisiana Museum in Denmark, which are set to soon go on display in Frankfurt, too.

By Esther Schlicht

Some call it the world’s most beautiful museum: the Louisiana Museum in the Danish town of Humlebæk. Alongside its idyllic location on the shore of the Öresund, this building boasts an extraordinary collection of modern and contemporary art, and considers itself an open, interdisciplinary forum for the arts, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. From Copenhagen it’s around thirty kilometers to this unique combination of countryside, art and architecture.

Henry Moore at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

The reason for my visit is two key works by the Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti, "Homme qui marche" and "Femme debout" from 1960, which have found an ideal spot in the oldest part of the Louisiana building, which dates back to the late 1950s. In their interaction with the other bronzes in the museum’s impressive Giacometti collection, these two slender, soaring figures simply have a breath-taking presence.

A rare harmony

No less stunning is the ensemble of five figures from Giacometti’s group of works entitled “Femmes de Venise” placed at the end of an adjoining suite of rooms: a rarely-found harmony between artworks and surroundings so captivatingly pleasing that it is supposed to have prompted Ernst Beyeler’s thinking when he planned and established his Fondation in Riehen, nr. Basel.

Alberto Giacometti, Homme qui marche, 1960

Against this background it therefore appears all the more understandable that Giacometti’s works actually never leave their traditional home in the Modernist building at Louisiana with its world of ample light and natural elements. Or if they do so, then merely as individual pieces – and certainly not the principal works. Thus the exhibition of Giacometti’s "Homme qui marche" and his "Femme debout" for several weeks at the SCHIRN this autumn represents a remarkable exception. It forms part of a comprehensive exhibition in which Alberto Giacometti’s masterpieces will enter into a dialogue with selected works by the American multimedia artist Bruce Nauman.

Alberto Giacometti, Femme debout, 1960

Over the past few years the SCHIRN has cooperated with the Louisiana Museum on various occasions. Shared exhibitions including, most recently, "Yoko Ono. Half-A-Wind Show" and "Philip Guston. Late Works", which traveled north from Frankfurt to the Danish coast.

New dimensions to the works

It is therefore undoubtedly to be interpreted as a sign of particular loyalty when our long-term partner generously offers to loan us two outstanding works of this kind. At the SCHIRN, both sculptures will be installed in the large hall, which admittedly cannot compete with the premises in Humlebæk, but which presents the opportunity to evoke new dimensions in the works through their juxtaposition to works by Bruce Nauman.

Alberto Giacometti, Femmes de Venise

Alongside the permanent display of works by Giacommetti, and also those of Asger Jorn, the second great pillar of the classical modern in the Louisiana’s collection, the Danish museum is currently also hosting a wonderful exhibition on the Op Art and Kinetic Art of the 1950s and 60s, as well as an overview of its own acquisitions from the last three years. It was only the sculpture park that I had no time to visit on this occasion, even though it is one of the undisputed highlights of any visit to the Louisiana …