E-Flux Press Release

The Aros Triennal The garden – End of Times, Beginning of Times (The Past) thematises man’s coexistence with and view of nature, how diverse world views (be they religious, political, ideological, cultural, or scientific) have manifested themselves in cultivated natural landscapes for centuries.

The Garden does not set out to present the historical development of gardens, but through the garden as a metaphor, to present various views on nature which have been critical to man’s transformation of and impact on nature. Ideas which have contributed to forming our mental image of nature, but which have also resulted in physical testimonies in the form of parks, national parks, and rock formations.

The exhibition spans from the baroque to the rococo and the scientific approach of the Enlightenment and further on to the romantic era, modernism and surrealism. The exhibition concludes with land art on level 1 and continuous on level 5 with The Anthropocene.



International exhibitions

International ongoing exhibitions

ARoS Triennale, The Garden - The Past

ARoS Kunstmuseum, Aarhus (Denmark)

08.04 - 10.09.2017




ARoS Triennale, The Garden - The Past, ARoS Kunstmuseum, Aarhus

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2017. All Rights Reserved

Sections of the exhibition


Thomas Struth

In recent years, the German photographer Thomas Struth has been working on a series exploring the theme of Paradise  : New Pictures From Paradise. The series is a personal probing of different localities around the world. Struth’s reproductions of nature often present us with jungle motifs lacking the hierarchical order that is common in renditions of nature (flore-, middle-, background). Instead, nature appears as a dense wall, impassable to most people.

The French Garden : Nicolas Poussin, Claude Lorrain

Sensuous Nature : Nicolas Lancret, Yinka Shonibare

The Swing is a sculptural paraphrase of Fragonard’s famous rococo work, where we see a young woman being pushed on a swing in a garden. In Shonibare’s interpretation, the mannequin has no head, a reference to the fate of the guillotine later sulfured by the nobility during the French Revolution, but also a macabre detail posing a contrast to Fragonard’s erotic undertones. Shonibare also  hints at the rising colonialism during the rococo period by adding African patterns to the dress.

Sublime Nature : Caspar David Friedrich, Edvard Munch

Paradise Lost : Paul Gauguin

The Intimate Garden : Paul Klee

Nature as Art : Nikolaj Astrup, Agnes Denes

Agnes Denes’s Wheatfield series presnts a striking contrast between the Manahattan skyline and a wheat field. The way the two artists model the landscape and use nature as a dramatic contrast to modernity creates an interesting dialogue between ealy modernism and a conceptual experimental art form. It is evidence of currents which, across time, question the Western modernisation process.

Botany of the Mind : Max Ernst, René Magritte

Land Art  : Robert Smithson

Robert Smithson’s work Spiral Jetty stretches into the Great Salt Lake, Utah, as a monumental structure. Smithson was fascinated by the idea of entropy, a term from the world of natural science that predicts the eventual exhaustion and collapse of any given system. This is possibly a nod to art that are eventually devoured by the ravages of time.

The exhibition continues on level 5 with The Past (The Anthropocene)

Since his entrance into the Earth’s ecosystem, man has had an impact on it for better or for worse. Recent decades have been characterised by a hitherto unseen acceleration in human impact on what is often referred to as the ‘environment’. The new epoccch is often identified as the Anthropocene epoch, the age of man. As an extension to the exhibition on Level 1, a series of artworks addressing the Anthropocene will be shown on Level 5.

A number of artists engage wich much of the current human impact on nature in the form of environmental challenges and exhausting the planet’s natural ressources. Many contemporary artists use the culturally constructed narratives about nature and try to puncture the ideas of the peculiarly pure, unspolit nature waiting out there. Others envisage a different world – after the apocalypse engineered by man – at the mercy of nature as a possible salvation for the planet. In this scenario, nature will be victorious and continue to exist while the existence of man is under threat.

The artists : Per Kristian Nygård, Meg Webster, Mark Dion, Harrison Studio, Joan Jonas, Pamela Rosenkranz, Olafur Eliasson, Diana Thater, Richard Long & Damian Ortega, Darren Almond.


Exhibition 8 April - 10 September 2017. ARoS Kunstmuseum, Aros Allé 2, 8000 Aarhus (Denmark). Tel. +45 87 30 66 00. Hours  : Tuesday – Sunday 10:00 – 17:00. Wednesday 10:00 – 22:00. Monday closed.