Join in on a golden journey and discover how artists have always used gold to wield power and magic. The exhibition will open when ARKEN reopens.


Ai Weiwei, Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads, 2010. ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, long term loan from The Frahm Collection

This Spring, ARKEN will open the spectacular exhibition Gold and Magic in which golden treasures from The National Museum of Denmark enter into dialogue with works by some of the greatest contemporary artists. The ever-transforming Golden Horns meets Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads (2010), and Subodh Gupta’s 1 KG War (2007) is weighed up against King Christian V’s impressive gold medal celebrating the Battle of Køge Bugt.

Fascination and seduction

Gold has fascinated humankind since ancient times. We express ourselves through gold, and our way of using gold mirrors who we are. Gold and Magic takes visitors on a journey through millennia to explore the power and magic hidden in the shiny and precious material. In art, the fascination with gold is as old as art itself, and it is shared by artists across time and space. From ancient times to the present, golden artworks have fascinated and seduced us, and through them we have exerted power over distant cultures and communicated with higher powers.

Golden tracks in contemporary art

In our time, the fascination with gold is strong. All over the world, artists are grappling with the precious metal, using it to reflect on humankind and our societies. Some artists are preoccupied with the magical and religious aspects of gold, while others use gold to explore connections between value, identity and power. Their works question our eternal pursuit of happiness and beauty through wealth.

Gold and Magic presents works by Chris Burden, Eva Steen Christensen, Zhang Ding, Mercedes Lara, Subodh Gupta, Grayson Perry, Bill Viola, Ai Weiwei and many more.

Gold and Magic will open as soon as ARKEN reopens.


Pendant from the Tairona culture in Colombia, 1300-1500, The National Museum of Denmark. Photo: Kit Weiss