The Cistern: Leave your world behind
By Caroline Edwards | Photos: Christina Capetillo
A visit to the Cisterns is in many ways a visit to something otherworldly, an exhibition and event venue with a widespread appeal. But nothing seems to beat the current installation H by Danish artist Ingvar Cronhammar, who has turned the urban dripstone cave into a parallel universe in which heaven and the underworld collide in a battle of unseen proportions. When you step in, time stops spinning as darkness surrounds you in a space, where the tunes from composer Martin Hall intertwines with the dribble of water. This is your chance to put all your senses to use in a room designed for reflection.
The Cisterns are an integrated part of the Frederiksberg Museums, acting as a venue for art exhibitions and events where the singularity of its architecture and atmosphere remains key. It’s the only dripstone cave in Denmark and in the past it used to supply water for the Danish capital. Today, however, it supplies something rather different to the city: experiences and memories.
A parallel universe
“The events at the Cisterns just don’t happen anywhere else. The artists who put up their work here need to be ready to work with their surroundings as it’s not all materials that can be used in a dripstone cave like this, but that’s what’s so interesting about this place,” says Astrid la Cour, the artistic director at the Cisterns and soon-to-be director of the Frederiksberg Museums. Each year they have a new exciting exhibition on, and each year the visitors leave with a sense of achievement. Because, as Astrid la Cour puts it, when you visit the Cisterns and walk down to the dripstone cave, you leave your world behind.
“It’s like a parallel universe. One moment you walk across the green grass on a summer day, the next you are entering another world, something that perhaps could look like a medieval dungeon, but during our H exhibition it’s simply a timeless zone removed from reality,” she explains. The installation opened its doors on 3 March and will be running until 29 November 2015. It is created by renowned artist Ingvar Cronhammar in collaboration with the Danish composer Martin Hall and the name is no coincidence. H stands for hydrogen, the most common building block of all living things.
An adventure for the whole family
“In the dripstone cave we constantly have water running through the room, but it always runs out through the drains. However, for Cronhammar’s exhibition these have been blocked. There are now 28 columns of water and light in there and the visitors walk across small water bridges. As time goes by, the more rusty the water gets,” says la Cour, who stresses that it’s a fascinating journey for everyone. “It’s just as much an adventure for children as it’s an artistic experience for adults. The whole family can enjoy it,” she adds.
“The exhibition at the Cisterns are the ideal family trip, but it can also be enjoyed alone or with friends. Moreover, its nearness to a big park and the other museums is also a big attraction,” says la Cour. The full visit doesn’t take long, it’s not a day trip. Instead the exhibition offers visitors a short, intensified experience that can often be felt in the body afterwards. But the fun does not stop here.
Five museums in one day
The Cisterns are a part of the Frederiksberg Museums, which gives visitors the opportunity to purchase a ticket that gives entry to all five museums and exhibition spaces in the area for just £12. Removed from the more popular tourist’s spots in Copenhagen in tranquil surroundings near parkland, they all have an intimate atmosphere in common. This is the kind of place where you bring your family on a sunny day. Play around in the park and check out the different museums that all offer something unique, all within easy walking distance of each other. By following the green museum route provided by the Frederiksberg Museums you get to see the best green spaces in the city whilst immersing yourself in cultural experiences along the way. Apart from the experimenting exhibitions at the Cisterns dripstone cave venue, you can also explore literature, music, theatre and more traditional pieces of art. The museums in Frederiksberg offer cultural encounters to visitors who wish to escape the bigger venues across the city in order to enjoy a more original experience. So next time you plan your holiday in Copenhagen, don’t overlook the Frederiksberg Museums and don’t miss out on the chance to wander through Ingvar Cronhammar’s comprehensive installation H. After all, not all underworlds are bad.
Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Receive our monthly newsletter by email