So it was midterm review week last week, and while I'm happy to say that the critics weren't egotistical blathering idiots like at Dal, I am still kind of in a 'huh?' like state over their suggestion to get rid of my entire structural system. But enough about school.
In my zest for making sketch models in preparation for Wednesday's critique, I missed my 'Danish Placement Test' thing at the studieskolen. I would like to interject with a rant about inconvenient telephone hours for important services, but I've covered that many times elsewhere, so let's just throw something forcefully to express our outrage and move on.
What really makes me choke with unbridled rage is that Jed and I went at the same time to fill in the questionnaire about our backgrounds for Danish classes, but I was sent a letter telling me to come in for an examination of my English grammar, and he got a letter offering him admission to the class! Hmmph!
A of all, how is a Danish person going to grade ME, a native English speaker and a university educated, soon to be Architectural Professional, on my grammar and pronunciation and general Englsk schplekin ability? Hmm? And B of all, Jed and I took our degrees at the same university! We are both Canadians of approximately the same age and living at the same address! How come he doesn't have to take the English-Speaking-Prowess test??
Seriously, I'm annoyed by this. Maybe I should bring in one of my 25 page research papers for proof of scholarship? Is it because my last name is French sounding? Is it because I am from hick-town Calgary? I wield words like some people wield weapons! Bah!
Anyways, today being Sunday, it's the day of relaxation and late brunch and cultural expansion. The original plan was to go to Roskilde and check out the Viking Ship Museum and the 12th century brick church, but as the weather was a bit blah, so we decided to go to the Statens Museum for Kunst instead. They have two climatey related exhibitions on: 'Nature Strikes Back' and 'Re-Think'. Both of which were, well, hmm. We also saw the Nicolai Abildgaard exhibition and we ventured up some 80 flights of stairs to see the Udenlandske Art (er, 'Foreign Art' for all you out there...)
My feeling about Danish art (and keep in mind this is coming from someone with a mere 2 years of Art History as a major) is that there is something.... falsified about the styles. It's as if the way of 'doing' art (through painting and sculpture) was more like Denmark trying to run alongside the older, cooler, more advanced countries, waving its arms and yelling 'me too! me too! I want to paint Greek History too!' The art doesn't say anything about Danish customs, history, or culture.
When you look at Dutch landscapes or genre or still life paintings... or when you see the Venetian Colorists vs Florence Disengo painters... when you look at Watteau or Waterhouse, you see something which is also being concurrently expressed through poetry, writing, music, theatre, and philosophy... you see the politics and the arguments, and even if these are just historical representations or religious decorations, you get a feeling for the time and the people.
When I look at Danish painting, for example Abildgaard, I see subject matter that is removed from the time and the place, painted in a farcical style. The French are painting the 'genuine article' and Abildgaard is painting the 'wish I was there' imitation. And I think everyone can agree that there is an enormous gap in the technical skill of Danish painters... My first thought on seeing Abildgaard's paintings was that he was painting in a Mannerist style, with almost hyperbolical enlargements of hands, feet, and facial features. But, if he was doing that on purpose, he was about 200 years too late. *sigh*
The odd thing is, I don't doubt that Denmark has a varied and fascinating history... so why is it that their artists venerated the history of other cultures more than their own?
One small thing I found amusing, and perhaps offers a small explanation for the lapse in a self-reflective Danish artistic tradition, is the description of Denmark by the French Ambassador Count de Plelo in 1732...
"Imagine a court without lustre, courtiers without manners, a city without pleasures, a youth without vivacity, an entire people without joy, no conversation, no pleasure in society, ceaseless ceremony, numberless petty clashes, and finally small evening soirees numbering some fifty souls where the refreshments are always sultanas, melted butter, and nutmeg, and where half ones time is engaged in toasting, now, that is Copenhagen and the Danish."
The day was finished with coffee and cheese-buns at Mokkariet, a wonderful cafe near our place where they have a record player and lots of room to park those annoying babies outside....
However, let's take this opportunity to remember how nice Copenhagen is in the autumn.