press release

September 12, 2019–June 1, 2020

Trapholt Museum of Modern Art and Design explores the complex interplay between the human senses. In a major international exhibition, SENSE ME, artists such as Olafur Eliasson, Wassily Kandinsky and Georgia O’Keeffe focus on how sounds, scents, colours and forms affect us personally and how the Danish "hygge" can be understood as a situation created by a symphony of sensorial impulses.

Test your own senses, taste a colour, put your head in the cloud, visit an artificial forest and lay back on a whispering ASMR tongue. Trapholt’s exhibition SENSE ME investigates how our senses affect the way we perceive ourselves—and others.

The exhibition engages all of the visitor’s senses through large art and design installations created by leading figures such as Olafur Eliasson, Jeppe Hein, Anne Patterson, Margrethe Odgaard and Peter de Cupere. It also incorporates works by artists from the early 20th century avant-garde, such as Wassily Kandinsky and Georgia O’Keeffe, who were all interested in the idea of the multi-sensory human being.

In its exploration of how we sense the world, SENSE ME incorporates early 20th-century art, contemporary art installations, designs and workshops. It presents works by avant-garde artists of the early 1900s, who ushered in a new spiritual connection between material, spirit and senses. Present-day artists and designers extend their explorations in spatial installations that incorporate sound, scent, taste, tactility, touch and body. Guests are invited to put their senses first, leaving reflections for later. We react instinctively to sensory input—but our responses may differ from those of others. Inspired by the phenomenon of ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response), the exhibition has installations that invite you to explore how you are affected by whispering, crackling, crackling and rubbing sounds.

The idea of multisensory input is not far removed from everyday life. In fact, the recently world-renowned Danish concept of "hygge" can be seen as a multisensory situation that includes something good to eat, drink, listen to and sit in, as well as a special kind of lighting, a quiet pace and so on. SENSE ME presents the changing faces of Danish "hygge" through the design of living rooms from the 1950s to the present day. From bar sets and sewing machines to huge sofas and flat-screen TVs onwards to intelligent homes and board games.

The exhibition includes workshops that allow visitors to explore the connections between taste and colour, between storytelling and scents and between graphic design and taste. Guests can also take a test to see whether they are synaesthetes, that is, people for whom a specific sensory input, such as a sound, triggers an additional sensation in the form of a colour, shape, number or taste. It is estimated that one in 20 people is a synaesthete.

SENSE ME challenges our habitual ideas about what it means to sense the world. How do our senses affect our individual perceptions, including how we perceive others? It also raises our awareness of manipulative sensory inputs orchestrated by those who want to achieve something by subconsciously influencing our senses.

SENSE ME is part of a series of exhibitions at Trapholt that explore our personal world views. The first in the series was EAT ME in 2017.

Based on extensive research, SENSE ME is curated by the director of Trapholt, Karen Grøn, and curator Katrine Stenum Mortensen.

SENSE ME includes works by:
Anne Patterson, Eric Gunther, Fillip Studios, Gabriel Pulecio, Gentle Whispering ASMR, Georgia O’Keeffe, James Wannerton, Jeppe Hein, Kaitlyn Hova, Lauren Kalman, Margrethe Odgaard, Martyna Barbara Golik, Memo Akten, Olafur Eliasson, Olga Benedicte, Omer Polak, Peter de Cupere, Richard E. Cytowic, Richard Mortensen, Rudolf Steiner, Sarah Hyndman, Snoezel, Spectra Ensemble, Vilhelm Bjerke Petersen, Vincent Rouffiac and Wassily Kandinsky