As part of a major refurbishment of Krogerup Folk High School’s historical setting, the school’s two lecture halls and the corridor between them have been reimagined as inspiring total works of art. The expansive spatial decorations were created by visual artists Joachim Koester and Astrid Marie Christiansen based on support from the New Carlsberg Foundation.

Cosmic connections

On the linoleum floor of the large lecture hall, Joachim Koester has created a system of planets and paths. On the walls are photographs of minerals and crystals in constellations that, like the constellations of stars in the night sky, seem to connect all the things we do not know with things we only glimpse.

The planets and the powers they were seen to posses, until the shift in thinking that came with the Renaissance, may be viewed as a giant archival system, a way of organizing and understanding the world. The planetary system also has connections to contemporary Western sciences, the source of the images in Koester’s photographs. Together, the photos, the planets and the paths that connect them can be seen to form a three-dimensional mind map: a map that – literally – enables us to travel from planet to planet and find connections and new constellations in our surroundings. 

‘A land where the ceiling is striped and the radiators are like flowers’

From an early point, I decided that I wanted to try to pull all the colours of the folk high school into the smaller lecture hall. The first idea I had was to add the coloured “windows” high up on the wall towards the corridor. They quickly turned into tree crowns in my imagination, and that’s when I realized that what I was doing was constructing a garden.

Astrid Marie Christiansen’s Garden of Delights engages in direct dialogue with Krogerup’s modernist spatial architecture. The artist’s specially shaped cloud-like canvases provide a tactile, sensuous counterpoint to the rooms’ cool, rectangular character. In Christiansen’s colour palette, all the furnishings and fixtures of the room resemble toys and desserts.

With unpretentious and immediate charm, the ‘garden’ appeals to the viewer’s imagination and creativity, while the opening in the striped end wall suggests the presence of another world. A beautiful and synthetic sweets garden, where shapes and colours are up for safe and playful renegotiation.

About Joachim Koester

Joachim Koester (b. 1962) graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1994. A key topic of exploration in Koester’s artistic practice is the historical and relational construction of spaces and their impact. It is possible to discern two approaches to spatial formation in Koester’s work: an early extrovert focus and a later, more introvert orientation, with later works relating more closely to the human body and mental spaces. In this latest decorative project, these two spaces – the inner, mental structures and the exterior environment of the universe – may be regarded as two aspects of the same issue.

About Astrid Marie Christiansen

Visual artist Astrid Marie Christiansen (b. 1981) graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and lives and works in Copenhagen. Christiansen is known in particular for her thick, irregular, painted frames that act as an extension of the canvas. The artist’s powerful colouristic works include several decorative projects, including the office of then Minister of Culture Uffe Elbæk, Court Room 6 in Svendborg, Artium school and culture centre in Brande and BUC (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Centre) at Bispebjerg Hospital.