Where do you come from? Perhaps you’ll get to know more about your own culture if you let the palm of your hand slide over the sandblasted pattern on Eva Steen Christensen’s marble sculpture.

Eva Steen Christensen, Fragments of Paradise, 2015. ARKEN Museum of Modern Art

Close to the water’s edge surrounding The Art Island lie two ornamented marble blocks. These large, solid blocks come from the famous marble quarries in Carrara, Italy, where Michelangelo also fetched his blocks of marble 500 years ago. It is a material associated with classic sculptural art and architecture. When it is worked, the white, soft stone takes on an elegant, sensual character. In time wind and weather will leave their mark on the almost nine tons – wait 200 years and see how.

Eva Steen Christensen, Fragments of Paradise (detail), 2015. ARKEN Museum of Modern Art

Cultural encounters

If you go close to the sculpture, a wealth of details appears. The patterns in the surfaces are sandblasted into the stones. They come from different cultures, including Indian ornamentation and an antique Persian carpet with the Garden of Eden as its subject – one of mankind’s oldest and most beautiful myths.

Imagine that the various cultures have left their imprint along the way on the journey of the work from the coast of India, through the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean to strand finally in front of ARKEN. The two marble blocks lie in the landscape at Køge Bay like wreckage and fragments of a bigger story of foreign cultures. Today different cultures interweave constantly and exchange traditions and ideas. We travel across national boundaries, move and resettle in the hope of rich experiences and a better existence. This also happens, for example, when boat refugees come ashore on the southern European coast, and thus bring constant change to our world.

In the sand around the sculpture or on the Ishøj beach just behind the museum, you can probably also find small gleaming pieces of marble that the sea has washed in. In the same way you can find surprising treasures if you look carefully – a beautiful seashell, a stone to skip out over the water, or a rare piece of amber.

About Eva Steen Christensen

Eva Steen Christensen works with sculpture, installation and paper works. In many different materials she takes her point of departure in architecture and everyday objects. She works with the familiar forms so they lose their functional logic and become absurd and dreamlike.

Eva Steen Christensen was born in 1969 in Copenhagen, where she lives and works.

Trained at City of Bath College 1992-93 and the Chelsea School of Arts 1993-96 in Great Britain.

Received ARKEN’s travel grant in 2011.

Member of the artists’ association Grønningen.

Was behind the design of the playground at Blågårdsplads in Copenhagen in 2009.


Portrait of Eva Steen Christensen

More works by Eva Steen Christensen


Eva Steen Christensen, Beginnings and Ends, 2014. ARKEN Museum of Modern Art