Last month I went up to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, a gallery 45 minutes north of Copenhagen by train. It's in Humlebaek, right on the water looking across to Sweden. It is, I think, one of the nicest places in the world.
The original house, the stunning modern additions that weave above through the lawns and down under the hill, the sculpture garden, the surrounding woods, the pier into the clear blue water, and the collection - all of it amazing. A stunning mix of Danish favourites (Per Kirkeby, he's my guy) and modern art from around the world. There is an excellent Gabriele Munter retrospective on, and some very good Ed Ruscha works on paper. And a Yayoi Kusama infinity room is always a special thing.
But this time around, it was the Alberto Giacometti gallery that got me. I love that when you visit a gallery or walk into a room, there is always something that stands out. And it could be a different something on a different day. I like slowing down for it, just wandering and taking things in and finding which pieces speak to my mood or state of mind at the time. And last month, it was the Giacomettis.
I've seen some of his pieces before, but not this scale; as in, not this many, and none this imposing. My heart skipped as I walked down the long passage towards the new gallery, dappled light from the gardens drifting in, and to the left, long glass cabinets sunk into the wall with small sculptures, just hand-sized to start with. There was one bust that I stopped for, took in more closely than the others, her long neck and the pressed texture so elegant and natural.
From there, I took a stairway to the left, down to the main space. The timber of the railing cascades down the stairs to the red brick floors and the white brick walls and a huge expanse of windows and bright light. Outside is a lake, and the light reflects and bounces off the water, through the birch and willow leaves. Downstairs is another bust, a man, which I came to in profile. He is looking slightly upwards, strong but humble. There are two narrow towering figures, women, and all limbs. One's breasts are low and small, countered by her full hips, the other's legs are set apart, like she's mid-stride towards you. The sense of movement and purpose is quite astounding. On the other wall is a plinth with five figures, more women, their hands to their sides, motionless and reverent.
Under the stairs are rough drawings and preparations, sketches and shadows of figures that have been framed to balance out the sculptural work. And by the window, one enormous Andreas Gursky photograph. It is as if you don't just see the shade and wind moving across the water in the photograph, you feel it. The mottled light and refractions of the image reflect the lake outside, and more closely, the mottled texture of the sculptures.
There is such balance and perfection in this room that I was moved to tears. One thing to another, the works and the space, the interaction of light and texture, of detail and feeling, stillness and movement. It was stunning.