Arken Museum of Modern Art

Palle Nielsen

09 Feb - 07 Dec 2014

The Model
9 February – 7 December 2014

“Unleash children’s joy, imagination and creativity – that makes them free, social and curious children.”
Palle Nielsen

The Model – A Model for a Qualitative Society! This playground by the Danish artist Palle Nielsen (b. 1942) is a children’s universe, a wonderland of free play and creative energy. It is also a symbolic space inviting grownups to reflect on values, norms and ways of being together.

‘It’s only a playground to those who don’t play’ (Palle Nielsen)
Palle Nielsen has reinterpreted his legendary exhibition The Model. In 1968, at Stockholm’s Moderna Museet, he made a giant installation for children to play in and build on.

The exhibition was a radical event drawing 20,000 children in just three weeks and generating massive media coverage. Hugely important to the political debate at the time about children and children’s rights, it was at once a social experiment, an investigation of the art museum as institution and a utopian model.

The playground consisted of a large wooden structure without predefined play functions that children climbed in and jumped from, added to and painted – without adult interference. They dressed up in old theatrical costumes, listened to loud music and exercised their creativity with paintbrushes, hammer and saw or just their bare hands.

The Model at ARKEN
A lot has changed since 1968 – children’s place and importance in society, technology’s influence on everyday life, the values we associate with a good childhood and the space we give children to explore.

The Model in 2014 is a space for today’s kids and a framework for other ways of being together. Perhaps it is a model for the future. “I want us to stop for a moment and think about what we really want for our children’s future,” Palle Nielsen says.