Open Ideas Competition & Exhibition, Copenhagen 2021

Djernes & Bell have won 3rd place and are currently on exhibition at Copenhagen Contemporary.

‘With the exhibition København, kærlighed & candyfloss, Copenhagen Contemporary and Gernes-Fonden highlight urban development in Copenhagen by following the footsteps of the Danish artist Poul Gernes (1925–1996).

Poul Gernes was a proponent of the welfare state in the field of aesthetics – a true Robin Hood of art. He and his family dedicated their lives to making sure that art made its way into society, changing it from chiefly being for the privileged classes to becoming a gift to everyone regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, and previous knowledge.

Gernes was driven by a concern for the well-being of people, which led to his uncompromising attempts at implementing art in built environments. During his long career, Gernes managed to do more than 160 decorative commissions primarily in Danish institutions: public schools, colleges, post offices, hospitals, etc. His life as an artist meant very little to him whereas making art for people and, together, embellishing people’s everyday environments meant virtually everything. This was the underlying philosophy that led Gernes to decorate Palads Teatret in 1989 and the principle which remained at the core of his artistic practice.

At København, kærlighed & candyfloss Palads, now threatened with demolition, is a point of departure of the discussion about urban development in ­Copenhagen, which has repeatedly put the issue of city ownership up for debate. The development of the old entertainment lanes near the Tivoli Gardens and Axel Torv as well as plans for the new residential island of Lynetteholmen are but two development projects currently being discussed in Copenhagen. Such issues are far from new, but the pace at which major construction pro­jects are being tabled highlights the need for a broad-­based debate on architectural policies in Copenhagen.

Based on Gernes’s artistic practice, CC and Gernes-­Fonden issued an open call for an ideas competition on developing the area around Palads Teatret. Everyone was welcome to submit an entry, the only requirement being 1) respecting Palads Teatret’s decoration and 2) incorporating tomorrow’s modern cinema. You can now explore the 26 submitted entries, each proposing a rethinking of tomorrow’s Palads. The competition is entirely limited to ideas and the projects will not be realized. You can vote for your favorite entry in the audience award – a winner will be announced by the end of the exhibition. Read more about the ideas competition here.

The exhibition also presents a series of works by Poul ­Gernes – all speaking of utopias with Gernes’ experimentally playful and unpretentious approach to making art.

København, kærlighed & candyfloss is ­curated in collaboration with Bibi Henriksen Saugman, Gernes-Fonden.