What do humans have in common with conches? Perhaps a common future where we must adapt and mutate in order to survive on a massively changing planet.

Astrid Myntekær, The Hermit, 2018. ARKEN Museum for Moderne Kunst

Close to the water are three pink conch shells, looking as if they had just been washed up on the shore from the depths of the sea. If you move in close to the sculptures, you will see human faces peeping out of the interior of the shells. These conchs are strange hybrid creatures – half animal, half human. Staging a meeting between climate concerns, evolution, mythology and sci-fi, Astrid Myntekær examines the relationship between nature and man. Carnal and sensuous, her work points to the fragility and uncertainties of the future that nature and man have in common.

Astrid Myntekær’s The Hermit paves the way for speculations about the future and how the relationship between man and nature will evolve.

We see three huge conch shells, each forming a habitat for a human face – a hermit emerging out of the pink interior of the shells, as if man and conch have become one being. As if the two species have had to adapt and mutate as the globe changes.

Conchs are an endangered species due to global warming, which is destroying their ecosystem, and the acidification of the sea is bleaching their colourful shells – an effect also seen on coral reefs.

With The Hermit, Astrid Myntekær points to the fragile and uncertain future that we and all the other species face, asking questions about how we must adapt to nature in order to survive.


Astrid Myntekær, The Hermit, 2018. ARKEN Museum for Moderne Kunst

About Astrid Myntekær

Astrid Myntekær (b. 1985) is a graduate from the Hochschule für bildende Künste (Hamburg) and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.

Myntekær’s works are poised in a realm between sci-fi, mysticism and science. Her installations incorporate a wide range of materials such as light, masks, algae dust, plants, reed mats and technology. Myntekær’s universe is like a sensuous laboratory in which topical issues are addressed through unforeseen connections that challenge our experience of reality.

Astrid Myntekær was awarded ARKEN’s travel grant in 2016. Her work Mana Stash (2016) is part of the museum’s collection.

Film about the work

Learn more about Astrid Myntekær’s conch shells from Dorthe Juul Rugaard, senior curator and head of collections at ARKEN.