By Linda Dyett
The Danes began exporting their culture as early as the ninth century. High culture it was not, but, thanks to the Vikings, the process was initiated. Today the tradition lives on in all sorts of delightful and unexpected exchanges. We asked writer Linda Dyett, an insider on all things Denmark, for a list of the most compelling and curious Dane-derived goings-on around the globe this fall.
Gorm’s Pizza + Nagasaki
A Danish pizzeria? In Japan? Yes, well, first imagine gourmet pizza with locavore Danish ingredients, accompanied by extras ranging from sausage and cheese with dark rye to potato salad and tiramisu. These are the stock in trade at Gorm’s, one of Copenhagen’s fabled culinary hangouts. When Seiichiro Iwamura, a Japanese businessman, dined there a few years ago, he was so taken with its thin-crust pies that he promptly arranged to open a franchise in Fukuoka. This fall a second Gorm’s arrives in Nagasaki. Co-owner Gorm Wisweh will be on hand in the kitchen, teaching the Japanese kitchen staff the art of Danish pizza prep. There’s already talk of still more outposts springing up across Asia. http://www.gormspizza.dk
Bjørn Nørgaard + Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum (Beijing)
Starting in fall 2014 and continuing through July 2015, Denmark and China are arranging a series of cultural exchanges. Key among them will be a major retrospective of the works of the sculptor, installation artist, and all-round iconoclast Bjørn Nørgaard at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. Titled Remodelling the World–Again Again Again, it comprises 115 Nørgaard works created from the 1960s to the present day. In one way or another, all explore the meaning of materials, forms, cultural notions, and ethics.
Hans Christian Andersen + Chinese Museum of Women and Children (Beijing)
Andersen, cited as the most widely read author in the world today, wasn’t just a weaver of riveting fairy tales. He was also an inveterate paper-clipper and designer of dynamic silhouetted figures and scenes. While some of his paper cuttings illustrate his stories, most are independent of his writings, intended both as fanciful designs and as rebuses, or picture puzzles. A wide array of Andersen’s cutouts will be on view in Fairy Tales in Paper: H.C. Andersen as Paper-Clipper, opening September 6 at the gigantic new Chinese Museum of Women and Children in Beijing. This is a highly anticipated exhibit in a country that treasures and is intrigued by Andersen’s writings.
A Debut for Two Danish Films
The Scandinavian crime wave continues with two new much-anticipated Danish police-buddy thrillers, opening across the US this fall. From Mikkel Nørgaard (who previously directed Klown), is The Keeper of Lost Causes, and from Susanne Bier (In a Better World, After the Wedding, and Brothers) comes A Second Chance.
Vikings + Martin-Gropius-Bau (Berlin)
The Vikings plundered, marauded and pillaged, but recent research and archaeological findings present a more nuanced picture of the Scandinavians’ forebears: as masters of maritime technology, intrepid explorers and canny traders who (incredibly) rowed and sailed their way as far east as the Black Sea, as far south as Portugal, and as far west as North America. From September 10 to January 4, 2015, the Martin-Gropius-Bau (in conjunction with the National Museum of Denmark and the British Museum) will hostVikings: Life and Legend, a traveling exhibit complete with a trove of Viking bounty and (literal) loot…icons, coins, weapons and very ostentatious jewelry from the British Isles, Western and Eastern Europe, even as far afield as Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. The exhibit’s recently unearthed centerpiece is an elegant 121-foot warship, encased in a remarkable steel frame that can easily be dismantled for shipping. The Vikings would’ve appreciated its portability. More Information
—Linda Dyett is a freelancer who’s lived in Copenhagen. Her articles about Denmark have appeared most recently in Monocle and Afar.