With this new hanging of artworks from the New Carlsberg Foundation, the Danish Cultural Institute has added a broad section of both Danish and international contemporary art to its offices in the Vartov building in central Copenhagen. Each in their way, the works of art represent the Institute’s values to the Danish and foreign guests who visit the building. The artists include Randi & Katrine, Per Kirkeby, Astrid Kruse Jensen, Elmgreen & Dragset, Julie Nord, Marie Lund, Thomas Bang and Günter Förg.

Meeting room or birdcage?

Macaw & Macaw by Randi & Katrine will be regular participants in future events in the Institute’s biggest meeting room. The installation consists of two oversized Hyacinth Macaw parrots, each perched on one of the office chairs in the room. The parrot, which is famed for its brilliant blue plumage, is intended as an exotic disruption in the meeting room and a comment on the social culture of meetings with their exchange of statements and internal pecking order.

In addition to the two parrots, Randi & Katrine have added an oversized mirror with a bell and a perch; objects that are commonly associated with birdcages. In addition to adding a touch of humour to the meeting room, the birds invite the participants to reconsider the context. Have the birds mistakenly taken over the meeting room, or have the participants in the meeting entered a giant birdcage?  

The listener and the speaker

Part of the inspiration for Randi & Katrine’s work came from the sort of tests used by personal-development coaches that ask what type of bird the coachee most identifies with. The parrot is both a social and an exclusive animal, but it is also known as a chatterbox, mindlessly parroting someone else’s statement. The two birds occupy different positions: one appears to be listening, looking towards the head of the table, while the other puffs up its chest, chatters away and dominates the conversation. Naturally, where you choose to sit affects your position and status in the meeting. But what happens when two of the seats have already been claimed by these cheeky parrots?

With the size of the birds, Randi & Katrine explore the impact of size and, specifically, distortions of scale. Physically, the birds are impossible to ignore, insisting that the participants in the meeting relate to them and perhaps consider how they want to position themselves in the meeting.

About Randi & Katrine

Randi & Katrine is a Danish artist’s duo consisting of Randi Jørgensen (b. 1974) and Katrine Malinovsky (b. 1976). Randi & Katrine have worked together since 2004, when they were both attending the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. The duo’s works are often sculptural installations that encourage reflection on familiar phenomena and offer a new perspective on the world. Macaw & Macaw was originally created for the art society Kunstforeningen Gl. Strand’s Montana Hall but have now flown the nest and resettled at the Danish Cultural Institute.