Ingvar Cronhammar exhibition with music made by Martin Hall at The Cisterns. Open from the 3rd of March until the 29th of November 2015.
33 years after The Cisterns were drained, the water returned to the 4.320 square metre wide water reservoir below Søndermarken (a large park in Copenhagen, Denmark). In March 2015 “H” opened its doors to the public, an ambitious installation by Ingvar Cronhammar created in accordance to the site-specific challenges and climate of the place. The music for the project was made by Martin Hall.
The exhibition was awarded with a line of sublime reviews. Highlights go like this:
Politiken (the Danish equivalent to The Guardian): “Overwhelming … the perfect combination of something industrial and something sacred.” (rating: 6 out of 6)
Berlingske (the Danish equivalent to The Times): “A unique installation in Frederiksberg’s underworld.” (rating: 6 out of 6)
Fyens Stiftstidende (major sectional newspaper): “Extraterrestrial magic!” (rating: 6 out of 6)
Information (the Danish equivalent to The Independent): “An underground cathedral of light and water … an extremely successful installation.” (no rating system)
Weekendavisen (the Danish equivalent to The Observer): ”Eminent.”
Furthermore the art magazine Kunsten Nu wrote the following: “Sensual perception beyond the ordinary … the new work re-enchants The Cisterns.”
The exhibition was visited by more than 90.000 guests during 2015.
As already stated the music for the project is written and recorded by Martin Hall. In connection with the opening of “H”, Danish Broadcasting Corporation’s P1 aired a feature on the exhibition in which you can hear interviews with Martin Hall and Ingvar Cronhammar. The radio programme presents Cronhammar at approximately 27:15 and Hall around 39:40. The interviews are made in Danish, but musical excerpts from the exhibition can be heard during the sequences.
You can hear the programme here: DR P1 on “H” (3.3.2015). Furthermore a video trailer has been made by The Cisterns:
As a visitor you are surrounded by water – both in form of a large water surface covering the floor and columns of luminous, falling water as well as water dust appearing like haze in the rooms.
In the Danish newspaper Politiken Torben Sangild wrote the following in his 6 out of 6 rated review:
“There is no doubt. It is grace itself that flows down into the dark, damp underground space under Søndermarken. Grace portrayed in a double grip, with columns of light and water revealing itself from the top down, so even a sworn atheist as me feels the impulse to kneel and say “thank you!”
Concerning the music’s importance for the work Sangild further wrote:
“The spaces are filled not only with light and water, but also sound. Martin Hall has created a musical track that alternates between a chanting boy singing a simple scale and more experimental ambient sounds. The sound is played in the anteroom and the complex acoustics of the vaulted architecture contributes with two things: First and foremost, the reverb is so violent that the music dissolves into and mixes with the water roar, so you don’t get a clear sense of the details. Secondly, the sound is thrown around in opaque ways, it spreads itself to then suddenly re-emerge, it’s remote, yet suddenly near. Both features emphasize a sense of the music being present in the room, part of the room; as if it is the space itself that sings its resounding prayer.”
In the Danish newspaper Information Rune Gade concludes his review A Shimmering Cathedral of Water with following words:
“H is a highly successful grapple with an impossible architectural framework where Cronhammar’s effort really shows its potential. This is highly developed sense of sculpturing that gives expression to the intangible and fleeting forms of light and water. An installation that — with the assistance of sound – transforms The Cisterns into an underground, submerged cathedral, a peristyle of white luminance, a gushing magnitude of light. Without any didactic instructions regarding what to do with it all. You are left on your own in this impressive and imposing staging of the architecture of the godless.”
On the musical part Martin Hall collaborated with participants such as Daniel Ostersen (a young boy’s voice singing the main theme), the classical ensemble Lydenskab and Maiken Kildegaard.
At the end of 2014 The New York Times recommended The Cisterns as one of only twelve sights you have to see, if you visit Copenhagen. In the spring of 2015 Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark visited the place to see the exhibition. You can find further information about the Monarch’s visit here.
Ingvar Cronhammar: Born December 17, 1947, and educated at the Aarhus Art Academy 1968-1971. Head of the School at Funen Art Academy from 1990-1995. Served as a member of the Danish Arts Foundation Committee for Art in the Public Space in 2002-2004. Cronhammar received Eckersberg Medal and Thorvaldsen Medal and in 2007 was appointed to the Order of Dannebrog. His art is represented in most Danish art museums and in public spaces. In 1995 he was awarded the National Arts Foundation grant for life.
Photo: Dan Møller, LAF (12.2.2015).