Kunsten – the Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg – has recently been renovated, leaving the architectural gem with a new look when it reopened in 2016. The building is in a league of its own internationally, and it was designed by the world famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto in collaboration with Elissa Aalto and Jean-Jacques Baruël.
Kunsten opened in 1972, but after the renovation it looks as if it was built just yesterday. The thorough renovation brought along a new gallery, new classrooms, a new café and shop, and a new large terrace. In addition, 317 tons of marble have been replaced, both on the inside and on the outside of the museum. This means that both locals and tourists flock to the museum in Aalborg to go on an adventure in the incredible building and to see the unique collection of both modern and contemporary art. A system of moveable walls makes it possible to adjust the size and appearance of the galleries depending on the requirements of the specific exhibition. In addition, the museum is famous for allowing natural light into the building trough unique parabola-shaped skylight constructions.
A high-quality holistic experience is a guarantee at Kunsten, whether you visit the galleries, the shop or the café, and there is every reason to look forward to a visit to Kunsten.
Alvar Aalto’s famous museum has been updated
Is it possible to do a thorough renovation of a preserved building without destroying the original architecture? This was the difficult challenge faced by Kunsten prior to the renovation in 2015.
Kunsten is an architectural gem dressed in white marble. The museum holds a unique collection of modern art and changing art exhibitions from both Danish and international artists. The collection is, however, not the only unique feature – the building is unique as well. It is the only museum outside of Finland designed by the Finnish architect Alvar Aalto.
In 1957, he made the first sketches of the museum in collaboration with Elissa Aalto and Jean-Jacques Baruël. The result was a museum beautiful enough to qualify as a work of art in itself. The building is light and organic, and everywhere the materials are unique with custom-made Aalto copper lamps hanging from the ceilings, and marble floors and outer walls.
Kunsten is a preserved building, and the plans to renovate the building thoroughly thus came as a surprise to many.
A modern and functional museum
Erik Møller Arkitekter, a company with plenty of experience, carried out the renovation. The company has, for example, been in charge of renovating The Royal Danish Theatre and Amalienborg, the royal palace, in Copenhagen. Their ambition was to create a modern and functional museum within the existing frame. The project cost 130 million DKK and it was finished in January 2016, when the museum reopened.
With help from the New Carlsberg Foundation, Kunsten has expanded its collection with six notable international works of art. The museum already holds an extensive, international art collection and this has now been strengthened with the addition of six new works of art.
The six pieces were created between the 1930s and today. In Kunsten’s collection, you will find the only two pieces by Michelangelo Pistoletto owned by Danish museums, and with the gift from the New Carlsberg Foundation, yet another Michelangelo Pistoletto piece has been added: a large mirror installation, which will be part of the permanent collection at the museum.
The new works of art include the mirror installation “Eleven Less One” (2009-2014) by Michelangelo Pistoletto, “Udbud og Efterspørgsel” (Supply and Demand) (1969) by Asger Jorn, “Hun har mistillid” (She has mistrust) (1965) and “Uden titel (Tintin Det Sorte Guld) (No title (Tintin The Black Gold)) from 1968 by Per Kirkeby. In addition, “Rød Maske” (Red Mask”) (1939) by Eigill Jacobsen and “Marriage” (2004) by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset are included as well.
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