outward bound! abroad. homeward bound!

a site specific photo installation by søren lose

From April 12 to June 25, 2006

Rome’s famous historical sights, the Coliseum, the Forum, Monte Pincio and the Pantheon have fascinated artists and tourists over the ages. As a result, Bertel Thorvaldsen, who lived in Rome for many years, acquired an extensive collection of paintings with motifs from the city executed by the leading artists of the time.

The collection is on permanent exhibition on the 1st floor in Thorvaldsens Museum, where the artist Søren Lose had created a photographic installation. With the exhibition outward bound! abroad. homeward bound! he created an interplay between Thorvaldsen’s collection of paintings and the contemporary art of his own day.

The eternal city

By means of this installation, Lose pointed out that the mythological space and the thousand-year history of Rome exert a quite special attraction on both artists and tourists. Artists on the Grand Tour to 19th-century Rome often chose not only to portray the same monuments – they also chose to do so from almost exactly the same vantage points. And the hordes of camera-carrying tourists who have inflicted themselves on the Eternal City from the 1960s to the present day follow the artists’ footsteps and repeat the procedure. The picture of Rome was and remains a stereotype that the tourists do not want to see changed in any way. On the contrary, the point for tourists is that the city in their photographs should as far as possible look as it always has done, giving them a feeling of having gained their own little share of the aura of eternity possessed by the city.

The exhibition

Lose himself went on a four-month “Grand Tour” of Rome in 2004 and has since then been in Italy several times to work on the exhibition project for Thorvaldsens Museum. By hanging tourist photos and his own works together with the paintings in the Museum collection – and through the dialogue arising between these works – Lose turned time and space into fluid entities and suspended the relationship between place and chronology. Rome is the same – the fascination is the same. Only the cast is different. So the specific nature of the locations was linked not only to Thorvaldsen’s collection of paintings, but also to every single gallery in the collection and even to individual works.

Lose’s desire to exhibit in Thorvaldsens Museum is due to Bertel Thorvaldsen being the Danish visitor to Rome par excellence. He spent over 40 years (1797-1838) in the city, and when he returned to Copenhagen he brought with him not only an impressive collection of paintings with motifs from Rome, but also a major collection of classical art. The city of Copenhagen had offered to build a museum for his art and collections, and so the museum today stands as a cultural exposition, a monument to Thorvaldsen and the Greek and Roman influence on Danish culture – a grandiose collection of Roman souvenirs.

Søren Lose

Søren Lose (b. 1972) trained at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art and has exhibited both in Denmark and abroad, including New York and Switzerland. He is also represented in ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum and the National Photo Museum. Over a number of years he has concentrated his photographs on the phenomenon of travel. He has in particular been fascinated and inspired by package holidays in southern Europe in the 1960s and 1970s and the package tourist’s personal snapshots, 16-mm films, souvenirs and postcards. And in an adapted form – cropped, enlarged, retouched, computer-manipulated etc – he transforms these visual records into his own works.

The exhibition was arranged by curator William Gelius.

ud ude hjem View towards Forum Romanum seen
through an arch in the Colosseum.
Photo: Søren Lose.

ud ude hjem
Monte Pincio.
Photo: Søren Lose.

ud ude hjem An artist in the Sabine Mountains.
(Self portrait).
Photo: Søren Lose.

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