Monday, 24 August 2009

a tiny piece of denmark.

my little piece of bang og jensen.

I often ramble on about my favourite cafe in Copenhagen - Bang og Jensen - but let me elaborate a little for you.

It's in an old chemist, or in Danish, Apoteket, and in the summer it's difficult to get a table outside on the footpath. Steps lead up to the heavy double doors, and a long wooden bar greets you inside. In the front section, there are raised tables with stools, and a long red booth-style lounge along the right wall. A couple of stairs lead you to the back section, where cosy lounge chairs nestle against green patterned wallpaper, while round tables sit snugly under interesting lampshades and against big windows that let a bit of natural light in. All of the furniture and light-fittings are that wonderfully retro, typically Danish-style. The same boy sits in the back tapping away on his Macbook day after day. The same couple enjoys the delicious brunch every weekend (highly recommended - a 'must do' in Copenhagen). They have the best coffee deal in the city - 18kr for a glass of 'refill' coffee, which is still much cheaper than a single latte elsewhere. It's easy to waste an afternoon - or more - in here. A circle cut into the wall lets you see from the back area down to the bar, while finally, at the front again, the far left wall is covered in numerous pictures of the same man - an old fisherman smoking a pipe. Some are paintings, some are tapestries, some are large, some are small, some are facing left, some are facing right.

Bang og Jensen was my favourite place to be. I felt so alive every time I went there. And I was always intrigued by those funny little men on the wall. So you can imagine my delight to find, in darling Adelaide, a tapestry of the same man. It says on the back the name, address and phone number of a framing place in Denmark, so I know that he is authentic. I'm not sure of the history of this image though, or it's name - but I gather it is common in Denmark. Perhaps someone can help me with this?

He's so beautiful, and I will treasure him forever.

*The wonderful images of the cafe are sadly not mine; they are by Kieran Lynam, on flickr.

9 comments:

Autumnbird said...

oh, your are in denmark right now? i love kobenhavn and also the beautiful countryside. oh, you lucky one!

peachpatrol said...

what a cool old dear. how was your article about the bakesale, if it went forward?

the cafe looks amazing, and if i ever come across some info about our pipe-loving friend you will be the first to know!

vic said...

oh wow, i LOVE that picture. you've made me want to visit copenhagen STAT.

Katrine Ny said...

Hey Steph.
I haven't been to Bang og Jensen in ages, but your description of the place made me want to go there soon.
Regarding the fisherman painting I gathered some info for you about it. It's a very common and wellknown motif in Denmark and a lot of old people have it hanging in their homes. Most people simply call it "The Fisherman". The original painter is unknown, but as you have seen in Bang og Jensen many different painters have been copying it through the years. Some people say it's a motif inspired from the very famous Danish artist Michael Ancher who among other famous paintings painted a picture with a group of fishermen in 1880 (make a google search on "ancher vil han klare pynten" and it will pop up). This one should have given inspiration to the emergence of the fisherman motif you know. Nowadays it's considered a kind of "cliché-ish" and an expression of bad taste which is probably also why Bang og Jensen has a whole wall of fishermen. It's kind of kitsch, you know. But it's great to see someone appreciating it as you do. Honestly, I never really liked the picture myself, but I love how it has become something special for you.

Katrine Ny said...

Oh, I just stumbled upon this site of a Danish Fisherman collector. Even though it's in Danish you may like the site:
http://www.fiskersamleren.dk/index.php?id=3
(Let me know if you want anything translated).
Also, during my research I came across articles about a Danish artist who made a Gobelin out of 72 Fisherman tapestries. It was exhibited last year at the Kronborg castle in Elsinore which you may have visited during your stay in DK? You can have a look at the Gobelin here:
http://www.fyens.dk/article/982990:Bagsiden--Fisker-nr--38?image=1#image

Lean said...

Dear Steph.
I am from Denmark, and just read your blog same morning as I and the artist behind the Gobelin of 72 tapestries of the fisherman MARINA PAGH held a reception in connection with the hanging (hopefully forever) at the "Skagen By og Egns Museum". It is a museum dedicated to the past events of the world of the fisherman. The town SKAGEN,where I grew up, was once the biggest fishing harbour in DENMARK and the museum has many visitors from all over the world. It is quite unique.
Well- for me it all started at the Art and Culture House "TAVI" in SKAGEN where GALLERI RASMUS had an art exhibition which I was asked to manage. We also have classical concerts, moderns music concerts, theatre and operas. The house is 2000 m2. Among the arts(paintings) exhibited was the Fisherman Gobelin which had been exhibited at the famous castle KRONBORG
The first time I saw it, I knew it was something special. I remembered from childhood that this tapestry was hanging in almost every home. Then I decided to do all I could to stop the gobelin from leaving SKAGEN, Sex month later I won.
The artist who got the whole idea and was asked to exhibit it at the KRONBORG will write to you about the whole event.
We are now working on a book about the Fisherman tapestry and have alredy a publisher. The gobelin has become quite famous from being something that the younger generation threw out or gave as a hate present to now becoming a collector item. So keep on to your fisherman he his unique.
While it was exhibited i SKAGEN, people from all over the world visited the exhibition (with many famous modern artists) and everybody had a story to tell. We found out that the fisherman is something almost every harbour city in the world has had as their fisherman. We (the artist and I) have collected those information and it will be part of the book.

All the before events connected to this gobelin you will receive from MARINA PAGH.

Best of greetings
Lean
Denmark.

danaanglia said...

I love the fisherman picture and occurs we have it in our home as he was my great grandad 😄

danaanglia said...

Sorry not occurs but of course

danaanglia said...

Sorry not occurs but of course