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Denmark’s Little Mermaid finds her “Han”

June 1st, 2012

Han & The Little Mermaid, Denmark
Photo credit: VisitDenmark/Anders Sune Berg; VisitDenmark/Lennard Nielsen

She may have been beheaded twice, lost an arm, and been covered in paint at least seven times, but Denmark‘s famous “Little Mermaid” (in honor of Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale) has never given up her vigil. Now, after almost 100 years of watching and waiting, the iconic statue is finally getting a male counterpart.

Designed by Elmgreen & Dragset, the artist duo behind the recent four-meter high bronze sculpture in Trafalgar Square, “Han”, is a polished stainless steel sculpture featuring a young boy on a stone by the seaside. The eyes of the sculpture will close for a split second once every hour – just one blink – before it becomes a traditional static statue once more.

“Creating a sculptural art work that will be installed in a public space is significantly different from showing it in the context of a museum,” Michael Elmgreen says. “Visitors who enter a museum have already prepared themselves for a visual experience; whereas an audience outside a museum hasn’t actually asked to have an artistic experience – that is important to bear in mind when you, as an artist, are commissioned to do a public sculpture. The sculpture must communicate on all kinds of levels.”

“Han”, a collaborative effort between the Municipality of Elsinore and the Danish Arts Foundation Committee for Public Art, will be unveiled on Saturday, June 2, between 4 and 6 pm.

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