Copenhagen Show Turns Recycling into an Art

Events, free, What's New — By Jane Graham on February 11, 2011 at 10:36 pm

A new show that opened in Room 101 of Vesterbro exhibition center Øksnehallen today really is a load of rubbish. However you feel about modern art, these pieces are created from what Copenhageners have thrown away.

The aim of the show, ‘Sort Slips Hvidt Slips’ (Black Tie White Tie) is to challenge modern consumer culture by transforming waste produce into functional, attractive objects. Among the exhibits are two mosaics made entirely out of champagne corks portraying the two celebrities Debbie Harry and Kate Moss—chosen for their iconic status and “because they fit with champagne”, according to the artist responsible, Klaus Samsøe.

“It’s kind of like how children make bead boards—just on a much larger scale,” Samsøe continues.

And these are no ordinary champagne corks: They have been collected from the garbage of Copenhagen’s top restaurants Noma and Formel B, adding a kind of actual celebrity status to the imagined one.

Another piece is a coffee table made in retro style with waste from the old bus terminal in Rådhuspladsen, which was torn down one year ago. The city’s main bus terminal had long been the thorn in the side of Copenhagen’s reputation as an architectural showcase.

“Although the Berlin Wall was a monument that was not liked, many people still collected a piece of the wall when it was pulled down. There weren’t very many people that cared for the bus station in Copenhagen either—which is why I made sure I got some of the building waste from the site, and why I used it to make furniture.”

In keeping with what is now generally considered as one of Copenhagen’s worst designed buildings, Samsøe used the debris collected from the demolished bus terminal to recreate three of Danish design’s most vilified, tacky and kitsch objects: The triangular hallway shelf ‘amagerhylden’, the tile-topped coffee table ‘kakkelbordet’ and the embroidered wall hanging ‘klokkestrengen’.

Showing parallel to Samsøe’s work, meanwhile, is the clothing collection of fashion designer A.M. Victoria Ladefoged. ‘Re.Something’ is a very smart, monochrome line made completely from clothes left in a city laundromat. Incredibly, the designer managed to transform these dumped items into a wholly new and fashionable range.

This is not the first time these two designers have worked together on the theme of sustainability. In 2009, the show trash: Formed at downtown art museum Kunstindustrimuseet addressed similar environmental issues.

Black Tie White Tie runs until March 27 and is free to visit. Opening times are Mon-Fri from 11am until 5pm on weekdays and from 1-5pm on weekends. The exhibition is not open between February 23rd and 28th.

Those who’d like their own recycled design to keep should check out Victoria Ladefoged’s boutique at Skindergade 24 in central Copenhagen, also called ‘Sort Slips Hvidt Slips.’

Top image courtesy of A.M. Victoria Ladefoged.

Tags: Copenhagen art exhibitions, Danish artists, Danish design, icons, recycling