Total Institution, 2016

Total Institution is a project in collaboration with the National Gallery of Denmark including curating an late evening event in a series events named SMK Friday at the museum. Total Institution also included the special exhibition Extracurricular based on a selection of work from the museum collection.

The term ‘total institution’ was coined by the philosopher Michel Foucault to describe rooms and places that cut themselves off from the world around them with their own fixed routines and their own language. Foucault applied the term to prisons and hospitals, but one could also perhaps perceive the National Gallery of Denmark in Copenhagen as such a place, at least for the visual art. The museum hold collections of art from the 14th century to the present day.

Henrik Plenge Jakobsen invited a number of artists to join him. Performances by the artist group SQ and artist Sandra Mujinga. Artist Alexander Tovborg selected a number of masterpieces from the Royal Collection of Graphic Arts, allowing you to inspect them at close quarters in the museum’s study hall.
The evening also included a special screening of Ursula Reuther Christiansen’s film Skarpretteren (The Executioner) from 1972. The audience are also invited to travel back to the early history of the National Gallery when actress Stine Stengade read from Herman Bang’s evocative description of the time when the Christiansborg Palace was on fire – with the museum’s paintings inside.
In order to get into every corner of the ‘total institution’ that is the National Gallery of Denmark, Plenge Jakobsen and the museum enabled the visitors to go on guided tours of the conservators laboratories and listen as scholars, educators, guides and even the director himself relate stories about selected artworks in the museum. Works by Lucas Cranach, Nicolai Abildgaard, Wilhelm Bendtz, Judith Hopf and Cosima Von Bonin were introduced on these guided tours.

Plenge Jakobsen carried out two perfomances during the evening “Candy Drop”, throwing out 100 kilogram of candy from a balcony inside the museum and “Deep Space Ornamentation” a DJ set with Detroit techno from 1993-99.


Total Institution poster

SQ, public sculpture


Stine Stengade, reading Herman Bang

Henrik Plenge Jakobsen in conversation with Marianne Torp


SQ, reading


Henrik Plenge Jakobsen, Candy Drop


Henrik Plenge Jakobsen, Candy Drop


Mikkel Bogh, talk


Alexander Tovborg, presenting pieces from The Royal Collection of Graphic Arts


Sandra Mujinga, performance


Henrik Plenge Jakobsen, Deep Space Ornamentation DJ set


Extracurricular, 2016

Artist Henrik Plenge Jakobsen brought rarely-seen works out of storage at the museum and used them to create the special display Extracurricular. His selection of works were presented in one of the SMK’s exhibition rooms, right in the midst of the debris and scenery left behind from the previous exhibition.

In the centre of the exhibition room you will find the vast, labyrinthine installation An Architecture Composed of the Paintings of Richard Powers and Francis Picabia, made by Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy in 1997. The work was last on public display in 1998. In addition to the huge, maze-like work, one could also see other works created by Mike Kelley, offset by two works by Francis Picabia.

An Architecture Composed of the Paintings of Richard Powers and Francis Picabia, Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, 1997


Fresh Acconci, Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, 1995


An Architecture Composed of the Paintings of Richard Powers and Francis Picabia, Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, 1997


Untitled (1-13), Mike Kelley, 1994


An Architecture Composed of the Paintings of Richard Powers and Francis Picabia, Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, 1997


An Architecture Composed of the Paintings of Richard Powers and Francis Picabia, Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, 1997


An Architecture Composed of the Paintings of Richard Powers and Francis Picabia, Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, 1997


An Architecture Composed of the Paintings of Richard Powers and Francis Picabia, Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, 1997


An Architecture Composed of the Paintings of Richard Powers and Francis Picabia, Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, 1997


An Architecture Composed of the Paintings of Richard Powers and Francis Picabia, Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, 1997


An Architecture Composed of the Paintings of Richard Powers and Francis Picabia, Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, 1997


An Architecture Composed of the Paintings of Richard Powers and Francis Picabia, Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, 1997


An Architecture Composed of the Paintings of Richard Powers and Francis Picabia, Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, 1997