The acquisition enables KØS to present significant examples of decorative projects that use innovative approaches and strategies to make important contributions to the creation of new art for hospitals. The collection includes studies in the form of sketches, drawings, collages, models and reconstructions for decorative projects by Kirstine Roepstorff, Julie Nord, Ane Mette Ruge, Malene Landgreen and Ruth Campau. 

The human dimension

Art in hospital settings today is expected to incorporate a careful consideration of the patients’ sensory experience of the physical space. A renewed focus that the six decorative projects exemplify in important and varied ways.

With Gong Kirstine Roepstorff highlights a sense of community and ownership. New parents in the maternity ward at Aarhus University Hospital are invited to celebrate the birth of their child by activating the enormous tubular bell hanging at Dokk1 by Aarhus Harbour. Julie Nord’s murals for the paediatric ward at Akershus Universitetssykehus (Akershus University Hospital) in Oslo, Norway, reflect the children’s uncertainty and suspenseful waiting in the busy, narrative and slightly unsettling black-and-white drawings. And Ane Mette Ruge depicts the hospital’s everyday users as the ones who ‘carry’ the hospital and welcome visitors in her series of caryatids for Sygehus Sønderjylland (Hospital of Southern Jutland).

Controlled colour scheme

The acquisition also includes studies works for murals with ambitious and artistically convincing colour schemes, as in Kirstine Roepstorff’s evocative wall decorations at Sygehus Lillebælt (Little Belt Hospital) in Kolding. Malene Landgreen also demonstrates a sublime grasp of colour and space in her award-winning decoration of Nyt Psykiatrisygehus Slagelse (New Psychiatric Hospital Slagelse). In Landgren’s project one colour scale gently anticipates the next, thus avoiding stark contrasts, which are considered unhelpful for the patients. At Hvidovre Hospital, Ruth Campau has created a series of poetic acrylic collages. The asymmetrically arranged panels in varying colours and patterns mark the four central stairs at the hospital. The decoration exemplifies how a calm, homely atmosphere can be achieved in a large, alienating hospital complex.

Contributions to public debate

From 9 September 2017 through 1 April 2018 KØS presented the exhibition ‘What does art do at hospitals?’. Drawing on international research, the exhibition was intended as a contribution to the public debate about whether it is justified to allocate part of hospital building budgets to decorative projects. The six projects described above were featured in the exhibition.