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Jakob Kudsk Steensen, Beyond the glacier.

Beyond the glacier

Jakob Kudsk Steensen

17.11.2023 - 03.03.2024

Teylers Museum


The exhibition Beyond the Glacier takes you to the Arolla Glacier in the Swiss Alps. In the poetic video simulation by artist Jakob Kudsk Steensen, specially made for Pieter Teylers Huis, you experience the impressive glacier cave as a multi-dimensional ecosystem with towering ice walls, microscopic lichens captured in drops of tree resin, harmoniously cracking ice layers and moving travel stories from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Kudsk Steensen visited the glacier in 2022 and captured it meticulously in sketches, digital scans and sound recordings. He followed in the footsteps of nineteenth-century geologists who traveled through the glacier area 180 years earlier. Where they were overwhelmed by an ever-growing ice mass, Kudsk Steensen sees the glacier in its final phase of life. Nine months after his first visit, the ice cave collapsed.

 Jakob Kudsk Steensen on the Arolla Glacier.

Jakob Kudsk Steensen on the Arolla Glacier

Photo: Joel Kuennen

In Kudsk Steensen's video simulation you experience the landscape as a body. You float in through the cave mouth, carried by choir singing and cracking ice. The accompanying stories of geologists make it clear how much the transformation of a landscape also brings about a transformation within ourselves.

 Arolla glacier

Arolla gletsjer

Jacob Kudsk Steensen

About Jakob Kudsk Steensen

Since its opening in 1784, Teylers Museum has stimulated contemporary art. With this exhibition by the recently appointed curator of contemporary art Rieke Vos (formerly Het HEM), the museum is fulfilling its ambition to give this tradition a new impetus. Jakob Kudsk Steensen (Denmark, 1987) creates poetic interpretations about forgotten or disappeared natural phenomena. His sensory multimedia installations tell layered stories about nature, ecology and related cultural history. In addition to the scans he makes during his expeditions, he speaks with residents from the area in question, records old folk tales and records local songs that he creates into spatial sound installations together with a composer. He brings these elements together in a virtual environment, which can be experienced as an art installation.

 Jakob Kudsk Steensen in The Pieter Teyler House.

Jakob Kudsk Steensen in The Pieter Teyler House.

Photo: Franck Doho.

Kudsk Steensen shows his work in museums and at festivals and biennials all over the world. In 2019 he was nominated for the prestigious Future Generation Art Prize for artists under 35. Since then, his work has been shown at Serpentine Gallery in London, Center Pompidou Metz, Today Art Museum in Beijing, Luma Foundation in Arles and Migros Museum in Zurich. An earlier version of the work about the Arolla Glacier can be seen at Copenhagen Contemporary until December.

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