Danish Language Blog

5 most shocking Danish artworks Posted by on Aug 31, 2014 in Uncategorized


From Wikimedia Commons.

A sizeable number of Danish kunstnere (artists) seem to think that kunst (art) is all about provocation. The more people you can provokere (provoke), the better. I’ve never been able to figure out why this is so, but here are 5 really provocative Danish works of art (or ”art”, if you prefer!)

NB! I’ve left out the story about the infamous ”Muhammad cartoons” on purpose. There’s no need to rehash something that hurt so many people’s feelings, all over the world.


5. Uwe Max Jensen’s urine painting. The town of Brande is known for its gavlmalerier (house end paintings), so Mr Jensen thought he would revolutionize the art by peeing on a house end as if he was painting a picture. The public happening took place in 2005, and earned him the nickname ”Gavltisseren” (the house end urinator) as well as a 1000 Kroner fine.


4. Marco Evaristti’s guldfisk (gold fish). In 2000, Mr Evaristti shocked the Danes by turning blendere (kitchen blenders) into aquaria for live gold fish. The catastrophe was inevitable: A visitor to the exhibition turned on one of the blenders and an innocent fish lost its life in the most horrible manner.


3. Bjørn Nørgård’s hest (horse). In 1970, astounded tilskuere (spectators) watched Mr Nørgård killing a horse on a field in Sjælland. The artist then proceeded to chopping the horse into minor pieces, which he stored in syltetøjsglas (marmalade jars). The jars with hestens kropsdele (the body parts of the horse) are now on display at the Aros Museum in Århus.


2. Mads Brügger’s Ambassadøren (The Ambassador). In his 2012 movie, Mr Brügger takes documentarism to a new level. Through bribery he achieves a fake pas (passport) as a Liberian diplomat to CAR (Central African Republic). He fakes his name and manages to fool the CAR authorities. During the weeks of the filming, Mr Brügger enjoyed the wasteful lifestyle of a powerful diplomat, while buying diamonds, dishing out racist comments about pygmies, and tricking poor village people into believing that he was there to help them build a match factory. A lot of people thought the film was really cool and did a good job exposing corruption in Africa, while others were appaled by Mr Brügger’s dishonest games.


1. Kristian von Hornsleth’s efternavn (last name). In 2006, Kristian bribed 307 poor people in the Ugandan village of Buteyongera to add ”Hornsleth” to their last names. He paid them in goats and pigs. Afterwards he photographed the new ”Hornsleths” and used them for udstillingen (the exhibition) We want to help you, but we want to own you.

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About the Author: Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.