Eske Kath & Oh Land:
The Ship

23. August 2017 to 7. January 2018


THE SHIP is the title of Nikolaj Kunsthal’s new venture for both children and adults that has its world premiere on Wednesday 23 2017 at 3pm. Created by visual artist Eske Kath and musician Nanna Fabricius Øland aka Oh Land, the exhibition can be experienced until January 7 2018.

An exhibition for all the senses

The first thing that meets you as you enter the exhibition is the impression of a huge container ship in the nave of the church building. A frozen slipstream of waves on which you can move around indicates the hull of the ship and its direction. The containers have been stacked three storeys high, offering ample opportunities to go exploring inside the ship. From the viewing deck you can look out over the ocean and, among other things, spot half-sunken containers that have fallen off the ship on its way. The three decks of the ship represent various perspectives on the themes of the exhibition – themes that both relate to the individual human being and to our common fate.

The exhibition takes up the entire large nave of the art centre, a previous church building, and the church organ has also been included in an interactive sound composition. Among other influences, THE SHIP is inspired by the former church building of Nikolaj Kunsthal, originally named after Saint Nicholas, patron saint of seafarers. The exhibition continues the long-standing Nikolaj Kunsthal tradition of creating a special exhibition intended for all age groups. Andreas Brøgger, head of Nikolaj Kunsthal, says: 

“It gives us great pleasure to present THE SHIP, this year’s exhibition for children and adults created in a special collaboration between Eske Kath and Oh Land. While the exhibition appeals to all the senses, THE SHIP is also highly concerned with the time we’re living in right now. The artists raise common human questions about where we’re heading, who or what is setting the course, and what is important for us to bring with us”. 

A human life in one container

The two artists, visual artist Eske Kath and musician Oh Land, have often worked together on each other’s projects, but THE SHIP is their first major exhibition project as well as the first project in which they have been working jointly on all aspects, from idea to realisation. The idea for THE SHIP arose partly from their experience with moving from New York to Copenhagen a year ago where they ordered a container to have their belongings shipped here. They were told that, on average, an entire life of a human being in the Western world could be packed up and stored into a 20-foot container.

“THE SHIP is the child. You set it afloat and hope that it will find its own way. You can load it with many things – but you can’t smooth the waves. It has to be able to sail itself. This is not a meaning that others have to assign to the exhibition, but to us it became a very emotional project”, says Oh Land.

Eske Kath says: “If we zoom out, all the way out, we’re all in a sense passengers on a ship, and none of us knows its destination. From the bridge, however, we can clearly see that the ship is heading for the waterfall. But do we reduce the speed or turn the rudder? Or do we kid ourselves that the ship is unsinkable? On the Titanic, the musicians kept playing until the very end”.  

THE SHIP can be experienced at Nikolaj Kunsthal from August 23 2017 until January 7 2018. Admission is DKK 70 for adults and DKK 30 including a workshop kit for children.

The opening of THE SHIP takes place on Wednesday 23 2017 

Workshop – the ship is loaded with...

During the entire exhibition period, children and adults can fill their own mini-sized containers with dreams and secrets under the workshop heading “The ship is loaded with…”. These will all go into a joint container ship in the workshop room.