Strangely Familiar

From my journal: July 26, 2011 writing from Copenhagen, Denmark 

“At the Library Bar tonight… dark wood, leather chairs and books, books and more books!  And that plaid carpet…just love it! Only one more day here.”

On the last leg of our Western European trip, we were enjoying our final days in Copenhagen, Denmark. After spending time at the Tivoli Gardens across the street from The Profilhotel Copenhagen Plaza where we were staying, we sat in the Library Bar figuring out what to do on our last day.

The Library Bar in the Profilhotel Copenhagen Plaza

Decision made, the next morning, we jumped on the train going from Kobenhavn to Humlebaek. A 30 minute trek and a 10 minute walk from the station we found ourselves at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Opening its doors up in 1958, founder Knud W. Jensen wanted to create a place where “art could meet the audience” and it would speak directly to the viewer. The attraction we were interested in was the David Hockney exhibit.

David Hockney Exhibit

Called the “me draw on I pad”, hundreds of Hockney’s most recent drawings were on display.  Created on his IPhone and IPad using the Brushes application, these drawings captured his playfulness and willingness to explore new methods and media in his work. Being a former Apple employee, Robert really wanted to check this out.

A David Hockney original

It was fun and imaginative!  After wandering for over an hour among the drawings and even trying our hand at creating our own art on the available IPADs, we headed to another wing.  Engaging photos and physical structures depicting what is meant by “home” and “shelter” kept our attention for awhile.  But it was what stood in front of us as we made our way up a staircase to the 2nd floor that would cause my eyes to open wider, goosebumps to run along my forearms and my heart to beat a little faster.

On the wall facing the stairs was a 50 inch x 90 inch framed picture of a scene set at twilight, a place I felt I knew in my bones…the street, the houses, the car, the people on the porch. An eerie sense washed over me as I looked closer and saw a person sitting in the passenger seat with the car door open, looking down at a puddle. In the shallow pool were a few balloons still filled with some air and others that appeared to have popped. Like witnessing a car crash, I couldn’t look away.  It had a pull on me and I had to find out why.

Untitled Plate 3 Beneath the Roses by Gregory Crewdson

Based on the info I had from the museum, I did some research. What I learned was this piece was an untitled photograph Plate #3, from a collection named “Beneath the Roses” by Gregory Crewdson.  He is best known for his elaborately staged photos depicting surreal suburban life.  One description of his work read, “emotionally charged moments of ordinary individuals caught in ambiguous and often disquieting circumstances.” So true. So aptly put.  Another discovery I made was Crewdson was from New York and he often shoots his photos in and around the Berkshires in western Massachusetts.

Perhaps that’s why it captivated me. It was that tug from the first place I knew as home. That sense of time and of place. It definitely spoke to me. In an oh so strangely familiar way.

2 thoughts on “Strangely Familiar

  1. It’s a very eerie picture by Gregory Crewdson…. and quite unsettling. I can see why you were drawn to it, without the personal connection as well. It’s funny, isn’t it – how you travel to another country to meet a (semi) local artist. Maybe that’s what makes the recognition more shocking?!!


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