The project is a first manifestation of the collaboration between GEUS [the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland] and Karen Land Hansen 2021-2023


Department secretary Cecillie Bandelow (until March 2022, Department of Marine Geology), senior researcher and geophysicist Zyad Al-Hamdani (Department of Near-Surface Land and Marine Geology), physical geographer Lars Øbro Hansen (Department of Near-Surface Land and Marine Geology), senior researcher and marine geologist Verner Brandbyge Erntsen (Department of Near-Surface Land and Marine Geology), graphic artist and illustrator Carsten E. Thuesen (Department of Media Relations and Communication) and visual artist Karen Land Hansen.

The aim of the project

We want to raise awareness of the ocean and the seabed and emphasize the importance of protecting and safeguarding this sphere.


In the project, we combine the potentials of artistic and scientific research in new ways, for instance through knowledge sharing, research, investigations, production of works, exhibitions and outreach and educational activities that can help open up the audience’s own reflections. Based on new ocean data from GEUS, Karen Land Hansen creates a number of works in different forms and media. The creative efforts are carried out on artistic premises, i.e. with the openness and ambiguity that is potentially found in art and with a possibility for the viewer to be touched by sensuous, aesthetical and conceptual elements. The scientific work is also undertaken on its own premises, based on scientific methods, investigations and purposes. The meeting and collaboration between these areas is important – and necessary – if we are to reach truly ground-breaking insights.

As a point of departure, we set out from the seabed at Hirsholmene, which is characterised by a great variety of landscape forms and habitats, such as bubble reefs and moraine sediment. The varied character of the seabed with different formations, curves and surfaces constitutes a formally exciting point of departure for artistic exploration. GEUS is mapping this seabed, using ’multibeam echo-sounding’ among other techniques. Karen Land Hansen uses these data as basis for artistic and predominantly abstract interpretations.

OCEAN GRID: Educational activities

Exhibition at Maskinhallen: Opening and two-day workshop for Creative 10th Grade. The workshop was focussed on the seabed and bubble reefs, drawing and sculptural work, art and science as in the work of Karen Land Hansen and GEUS. The exhibition was open for everyone.

Exhibition at Fabrikken for Kunst og Design: Opening and lecture by senior researcher and Ph.D. Verner Brandbyge Erntsen and lecture by visual artist Karen Land Hansen. Open for everyone.

Exhibition at GEUS: Opening and artist talk arranged by Kunstforeningen (the art society). Open for everyone. Internally at GEUS. Artist talk for employees and guests invited by Karen.

OCEAN GRID: Time schedule

December 12th – December 16th 2022: Exhibition at Maskinhallen, 28 Sundholmsvej, 2300 Copenhagen S.

February 2nd – February 12th 2023: Exhibition at Fabrikken for Kunst og Design, 46 Sundholmsvej, 2300 Copenhagen S.

February 13th – March 13th: Exhibition at GEUS, 10 Øster Voldgade, 1350 Copenhagen K.

OCEAN GRID: Supporting foundations

The project is supported by the L. F. Foght Foundation and the Borough Authority of Amager West.

OCEAN GRID: Co-funding and contributions to the project

GEUS (the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland) has contributed with: Hours and expenses for working up the ocean data (printing 3D-model and drawings of cross-sections/profiles) as well as communication and hosting meetings. Advertisement internally at GEUS and exhibition opening. Lecture by senior researcher and Ph.D. Verner Brandbyge Erntsen (Department of Near-Surface Land and Marine Geology) at Fabrikken for Kunst og Design.

Karen Land Hansen has contributed with: Salary while sketching, applying for funding and planning. Expenses for materials connected to sketching and photoshop assistance. Lecture at Fabrikken for Kunst og Design and artist talk at GEUS.

Maskinhallen has contributed with: Exhibition room, invitation and advertisement.

Fabrikken for Kunst og Design has contributed with: A favourable price for renting the hall.

Curator and Ph.D.-student at the National Gallery of Denmark, Tijana Mišković has contributed with: Recommendation.

OCEAN GRID (2022-2023)

Press Release: The artist Karen Land Hansen explores the seabed in a number of works made for a new series of exhibitions at Maskinhallen, Fabrikken for Kunst og Design and at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS). The exhibitions are the first manifestation of a collaboration between Karen Land Hansen and GEUS.

Bubble reef. Lines in clay twisting and turning, crisscrossing the delicate sculpture on the podium. The curving grid – or netting – recurs in the other works in the exhibition. In art, the grid has traditionally been used as an ordering system pointing to some kind of rationality. In Karen Land Hansen’s sculptures, we find a lattice structure that is irregular, changing, imaginative and at times almost dissolved. This is Land Hansen’s abstract interpretation of the seabed and its curves, surfaces and formations in works which are in model scale – compared to the actual seabed.

The forms of the sculptures are based on cross-sections of the seabed at Hirsholmene. Here, the seabed is completely unique and characterized by highly varied landscapes and habitats: Bubble reefs and moraine sediments are both geological phenomena and home to many animals and plants. Marine geologists and geographers from GEUS have used technologies such as multibeam echo-sounding to scan the seabed and map a large section of it. This work is conducted in order to contribute to the sustainable use and protection of the seabed. And GEUS has worked up some of these ocean data and made them available to Karen Land Hansen as part of mutual exchange and dialogue.

There is a huge contrast between the high-tech ocean data and the manual and simple processes in Land Hansen’s work with sculptures and images. The artist has cut cross-sections of bubble reefs in cardboard, made papier mâché moulds and glued layers of flexible plywood together. Behind this contrast, however, there are also common features. For both scientists and artists work with transpositions and interpretations of reality, in the attempt to make it comprehensible.

The series of exhibitions includes educational activities. At Maskinhallen, young people from Creative 10th Grade work on their own interpretations of ‘seabed sculptures’ based on the exhibition. On February 6th Fabrikken for Kunst og Design hosts a lecture by Verner Brandbyge Ernstsen, senior researcher at Department of Near-Surface Land and Marine Geology (GEUS) and visual artist Karen Land Hansen. At GEUS, an artist talk will be held with Karen Land Hansen. We are indebted to: The L. F. Foght Foundation, the Borough Authority of Amager West, By Ida Nissen, Tine Hecht-Pedersen, Paradis, Maskinhallen and GEUS.

Translation by Morten Visby