Coming up: BUTTERFLY! ARKEN’s collection curated by Esben Weile Kjær

A large presentation of ARKEN’s collection, curated by Esben Weile Kjær, awaits in the spring.


10 February to 31 December 2023

Esben Weile Kjær is a luminous star on the Danish and international art scene. In the spring of 2023, he will curate ARKEN’s collection of Danish and international contemporary art.

In the exhibition BUTTERFLY!, visitors are invited to explore ARKEN’s works within an immersive setting reminiscent of an abandoned skateboard park or a film set that is no longer in use. All will be welcomed by the venue’s mascot, a two-metre-tall cartoon-like butterfly in death metal makeup. Drawing on memories of his childhood and youth, Esben Weile Kjær has created an environment where graffiti, useless skateboard ramps and bus sheds form the backdrop of a selection of more than fifty works by artists such as Micha Klein, Wolfgang Tillmans, Sarah Lucas and Henrik Plenge Jakobsen. Ever since his first visit to ARKEN at the age of 15, Esben Weile Kjær has had a particular fondness for the museum’s collection, and he now takes a nostalgic look back at the ‘90s artists who contributed to shaping his own generation. What became of the optimism, radicalism and notions of freedom that characterised art in the time after the fall of the Berlin wall? In what way is our present-day mediated everyday life a result of that era’s faith in technological developments? These are some of the questions which Esben Weile Kjær invites us to reflect on in his personal staging of the ARKEN collection.

Coming up: BUTTERFLY! ARKEN’s collection curated by Esben Weile Kjær

Sarah Lucas, Beer Can Penis, 2000. ARKEN Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Lars Skaaning

BUTTERFLY! ARKEN’s collection curated by Esben Weile Kjær. Sophie Calle, Mother, 1990. Photo: Lasse Dearman

About Esben Weile Kjær

Esben Weile Kjær (b. 1992) graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2022. He also has a background as a DJ and a degree in Music Management from the Rhythmic Music Conservatory (RMC). In his performances, installations and sculptures, he examines identity among his own generation and explores the role of popular culture and technology in determining our experience of community and freedom.

Esben Weile Kjær has had several solo shows, including at Kunstforeningen GL STRAND and at Copenhagen Contemporary, and has shown his works internationally at Museum Tinguely in Basel, Centre Pompidou in Paris and Berghain in Berlin. Esben Weile Kjær has most recently been featured in the group exhibition Another Surrealism at Den Frie in Copenhagen and presented the installation HYPER! at the BFI in Miami. In 2022, he received the Carl Nielsen and Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen’s Foundation’s talent award.

Coming up: BUTTERFLY! ARKEN’s collection curated by Esben Weile Kjær

BURN OUT ( Jes Brinch & Henrik Plenge Jakobsen), Suringe, 1996. ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, long term loan from Leif Djurhuus Collection 2007. Photo: Anders Sune Berg

Coming up: BUTTERFLY! ARKEN’s collection curated by Esben Weile Kjær

Esben Weile Kjær. Photo: Lasse Dearman

ARKEN’s exhibitions in 2023 are supported by

Coming up: BUTTERFLY! ARKEN’s collection curated by Esben Weile Kjær

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