This site gathers a select collection of artworks and projects by the Danish artist Anja Franke


InstantHERLEV institute is an exhibition-making organization for artistic research and site-specific projects founded and directed by Anja Franke


Notes from Herlev - Updates and Thoughts

Anja Franke

Year: 2020
Materials: Photography, mirror, concrete, ceramic (Leca) and printed matter
Dimensions: L: 2.5m H: 2m D: 50 cm

ON LOCATION is a site-specific work, a staging of places / locations in Herlev.
Outside at the exhibition site is set up 1 photo, on a wall constructed of Leca foundation blocks and mirrors. In addition, a printed matter, which represents a fictitious walk in Herlev with photo and dialogue between Anja Franke and Kaj Aage Drafenharden.
- I stage reality and fantasy, which are experienced within the same time period, when reality surpasses imagination. And explores the micro-local place, focusing on intimacy and the private narrative. A mental journey, into Herlev, as opposed to traveling the world, by Anja Franke

The sculpture ‘Earth Dog’, created over old faults, burned bricks from the local area, which can currently be experienced in front of the Nivaagaard Painting Collection. Citizens have been collecting bricks, and schoolchildren have been involved in an ongoing art course around the project.

Earth Dog’ revolves around Nivaa’s strong local story about the old producing brickwork, with the dog as a central figure in two intersecting personal stories: About the founder of Nivaagaard’s Painting Collection, Johannes Hage and his dog — and about the visual artist Anja Franke, who grew up with collected bricks in her backyard, and her dogs. The work is about the local, relationship, about losing, retrieving and returning home.

The main component of the work is old, defective bricks and bricks found in the forest, where children and adults from Nivaa digged the old materials from the soil around Nivaagaard Brick’s Ring Oven. Subsequently, the 5th classes from Nivaa School over the autumn have been involved in a continuous art course around the project ‘Earth Dog’ and have created, among other things, small clay-hunting dogs, which are also included in the sculpture.

Involving exhibition project focusing on change processes on a personal, micro-political level as well as on a global macro-political level. The background for the project is a 10 days hike in the mountains of Spain. I use the walk as a mental recognition method, where I move into the uncertain to map and search for new routes and to open up alternative thought patterns.

In Astrid Noack’s Atelier, which served as Astrid Noack’s modest workspace and private home in the period 1936 – 50, I set up a sewing room where audiences can transform old brought shirts into a walking dress identical to the one I wore during my mountain walk. By reactivating the room’s original workshop function and ‘decorating’ it with poetic pictorial elements such as watercolors of palms that I have memorized from my walk — palms slowly draining for blue color — the present and the past, the private and the public, the mental and the bodily. Through the creative transformation process, in which a used garment is slowly transformed into a new one, I point with an ‘Accuracy aesthetics‘ indirectly to the necessary change we all on the planet have to imagine if we and the globe are to survive in the long term. Like me, looking for answers to questions that do not have easy answers, audiences are encouraged to try new ways of working and to consider and discuss urgent topics such as value creation, climate, shared responsibility and alternative solutions.

In RUNNING OUT OF BLUE, my private narrative and everyday thoughts about art, everyday life, climate change and accuracy are thus combined with a larger global perspective on our common future on the planet. At the same time, the exhibition creates a common social space where the audience is mobilized as active with creators and co-interpreters. The audience can bring their own used shirts, which, as directed by me, can be stitched into their own ‘sustainable’ walking dress.

The exhibition is supported by the Danish Art Council.

Tip Top Herretøjsmagasin (Tip Top Men’s Clothing Shop), was my grandfather Carl Jensen’s business, located in Møllergade 6, Svendborg. Here, he sold men’s clothes from 1933 – 49. He died in 1949. My mother was 16 years old. Later she moved to Copenhagen and graduated as a tailor and designer. My mother Pia Franke Hedegaard passed away in 2006. In the aftermath of her death, I took a variety of materials from her workshop studio.

This new artwork consists of two parts, which were installed in Svendborg: SAK- kunstbygning (SAK art building) and the Louis Nielsen boutique on Møllergade 6. This part of the work consists of my mother’s curtains, with a print of my grandfather’s shop window Tip Top from Møllergade 6. The illustration above is from an ad in Svendborg’s local newspaper, circa 1943. The second part of the work is seen in the SAK Art Building, which here consists of the same image of my grandfather’s shop window, printed on Plexiglas. Behind the plexiglas lies on the floor textiles from my mother’s sister’s room. Out of fabrics I have drawn and sewn a new collection, to myself.

Essentially, the work is about loss, sadness and transformation.  It is about how I can better understand my mother’s grief when she lost her father or when I lost my mother. Care is a persistent feeling that creates great change when you are ready to seize it.

Title of work: TIP TOP

Shown at Svendborg: SAK- kunstbygning (SAK art building) and Louis Nielsen boutique Mølergade 6, Svendborg.

Materials: Plexiglas, textile, metal, and image-printed mirror.

Year: 2018.


Investigating soil from the garden and burning clay from soil collected in the suburb of Herlev. Part of a collaboration between SixtyEight Art Institute and InstantHERLEV institute in preparation for the ‘SOIL’ exhibition by Anja Franke. This dual-site exhibition starts as part of a investigations process event, open to the public as of the 22 of july, 2017 at InstantHERLEV institute and with an exhibition component, opening in Copenhagen, on 8. September, 2017 at SixtyEight Art Institute.  The exhibition will be on view from 8. September — 30. September, 2017. Participate artist:  Book&Hedén (N), Camilla Reyman (DK), Esben Klemann (DK), Anja Franke (DK).

The image above is from the IHi frontgarden where we have dug soil, examined it and found clay. The hole for a outdoor fire or a ‘ready-made kiln’ to bake the various clay forms that come out of these soils.  The SOIL exhibition is based on investigation soil collected as material for a series of sculptures, produced from these clays. In addition, through a materialistic ground study, five artists will present new artworks produced with other earthly materials and that in their own way investigate different states, agents, organisms and cultural constructions around soil.

Fredensborg Municipality Art Foundation has acquired the work TEA WITHVIEW II by Danish artist Anja Franke. The artwork is now set in the beautiful park at Nivaagaards Malerisamling. In this context Fredensborg Municipality inaugurated the work at Nivaagaard Picture Gallery on Wednesday 25 September 17.00 . TEA WITHVIEW II had been exhibited earlier this year at Sculpture Festival Sculpture by the Sea in Aarhus, where it won the Sculpture by the Sea Award. Now the citizens of the municipality of Fredensborg and visitors to Nivaagaards Malerisamling can joy of the work. The sculpture consists of oak , solar cells, plate glass and a kettle that invite one to stay and wonder, but also as a sculpture for social interaction. The audience is invited to boil water in the boiler, pick fresh mint from a nearby herb garden and enjoy a cup of tea in the sculpture that is overlooking one of North Zealand’s most beautiful views.

TEA WITHVIEW II at Nivaagaard Malerisamling, Sponcor by PP Møbler, Allerød, Denmark.