Playfulness and Pretence


Photo LCL
Photo LCL

It feels wholly inappropriate to put a photo of our stove on the blog, all the more so for featuring my freehand copy of a Valdemar Andersen.

I copied out one of his sketches for a wall-decoration he made for the Baltic Exhibition / Baltiska utställningen in Malmoe 1914. The exhibition took place minutes before the world had more arduous considerations to attend to and it was all the stranger a concept in that the Danish pavilion for one was built like a Medieval castle.

One can only cringe at seeing photos of its basking in being old-fashioned, attempting to be what it was not.

The entrance hall of the Danish pavilion, 1914.
Shown with permission from The Centre for Maps,
Prints and Photographs, The Royal Library.
I apologize for the poor quality of the photo;
it was taken by me for study purposes.

The walls of the entrance hall, on the other hand...

Valdemar Andersen did what he did best. He obliterated the hall and its walls by way of creating a pattern, which continued across every surface neglecting to acknowledge any detail of the architecture on its way.

Detail of one wall in the entrance hall of the Danish pavilion, 1914.
Shown with permission from The Centre for Maps,
Prints and Photographs, The Royal Library.
I apologize for the poor quality of the photo;
it was taken by me for study purposes.
The windows for one. They were deep set as if set in solid walls of several meters. The pattern, however, just ran along, turning in and out without making note of the elements and thereby obliterating the claim to heaviness and history of the architecture. It had a quality not unlike that of wallpaper and was as such a piece of modernity with a joyful nod to all pretence.

Valdemar Andersen, sketch for the entrance hall of the Danish pavilion, 1914.
Shown with permission from The Centre for Maps,
Prints and Photographs, The Royal Library.
I apologize for the poor quality of the photo;
it was taken by me for study purposes.
The pattern was a play on classical grotesques, in this case with animals such as deer and swans with leaves of vines, ribbons and bows and cornucopias from where everything would be unfolding. Not a single straight line within, it is a pattern of constant twirling and movement with figurative elements linking to each other and entering into new alliances.

All of it there for the visitor to try to discover one element here or there and yet all of it ephemeral; airy as it was in its one color, a minium/coral tone red on the white background.

And that color is the only thing, we have left today in that a can of the paint tipped and poured over one sketch while the decoration was underway back in 1914:

Valdemar Andersen, sketch for the entrance hall of the Danish pavilion, 1914.
Shown with permission from The Centre for Maps,
Prints and Photographs, The Royal Library.
I apologize for the poor quality of the photo;
it was taken by me for study purposes.



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