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Mette Vangsgaard

Art in Embassy 2016
DENMARK IN THE USAMinistry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark
Danish Embassy in Washington

“We are very proud to be the first ambassadorial residence to showcase, in collaboration with Danish Arts Foundation, some of the best art that Denmark has to offer. Danish culture is essential to how Denmark is perceived abroad. As such, Art in Embassy is important to Denmark,” says Denmark’s ambassador to the United States, Lars Lose. 

Art in Embassy is a collaboration between the Danish Art Foundation and the Danish Ministry of Culture, and the Embassy in Washington, DC. 
Art in Embassy uses the Ambassador’s residence to display the unique example of Danish functionalist architecture and interior design. The ambassador’s residence displays 37 works in an exhibition that seeks to cross borders of convention and aesthetics where artists joyfully and untraditionally play with media, imagery and our conceptions of art. 

Mette Vangsgaard works with many different artistic media - drawing, water colors, woodcuts, collage, and ceramic sculptures. She says: “The works show a spectrum of stories about Western civilization and our problems generally. Some recurring themes are the effects of a world in rapid change and the human view of nature.”

Like many of the other artists, she crosses genre boundaries - she was educated as a visual artist but also works with ceramics. Today, ceramic is an especially popular material that is no longer reserved for craftspeople or ceramicists.

Vangsgaard has a special interest in marginalized groups and ways of life, which she believes often disappear because of a political and social desire for growth and development. The works are her way of maintaining those ways of life.

Another recurring feature is her focus on everyday things - taking a nap on the couch with the dog, petting the soft snout of a horse - with a keen eye for detail, which provides us with the opportunity to get down to ground level and be reminded of sensual details - often in an encounter with nature.

The two sculptures in the dining room were a part of a collected exhibition called ’Lemon Moon,’ which dealt with Vangsgaard’s own upbringing in a small Jutland village in the 1970s. The works are personal recollections but seem very recognizable in their down-to-earth presentation. The exhibition’s poetic title refers to a popular lemon cake, shaped like a half-moon - which, in its original form, was a classic Danish afternoon coffee cake. Today, it is a sad, plastic-wrapped, and preserved classic available at every gas station.

The work Bondemanden Arne sover til middag [Farmer Arne Takes a Nap] (2016) is a portrait of her neighbor Arne Hansen, who always took a midday nap after feeding his pigs. Vangsgaard and Arne’s son Claus moved the furniture in the living room around while Arne slept - as a prank. In Reunion (2016), we see Vangsgaard on a motorcycle. She is back in the fields of her childhood, visiting her horse once again.

Vangsgaard has been represented at many major, international exhibitions, including The Armory Show in New York. She received the 3-year working grant from the Danish Art Foundation.


Mette Vangsgaard

Reunion 2016

Glazed stoneware


Mette Vangsgaard

Arne the farmer, takes a nap 2016

Glazed stoneware

Mette Vangsgaard

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