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Exhibitions Earlier Exhibitions
Earlier Exhibitions
Tomorrows and Yesterdays

Mads Nissen Meets Europe’s First Photographers

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Young women in the Paris of the 1930s, milkboys in bare toes on Gammel Kongevej and Russian homosexuals. Selected photographs (1839 to 1939) from European archives are juxtaposed with and elucidated by award-winning Danish photographer MadsNissen’s photographs in the new photography exhibit ”Tomorrows and Yesterdays: MadsNissen Meets Europe’s First Photographers”, that opens May 13 at The Workers’ Museum in Copenhagen.

The exhibitions shows 100 specially selected photographs from 1839 to 1939 in interplay with 50 photo commentaries by photographer MadsNissen. Nissen’s encounter with some of Europe’s first photographers reveals a stubborn determination to document the contemporary age, and the courage to reflect on what tomorrow brings, subjectively and emotionally.

The exhibition takes part in the European travelling exhibition “All Our Yesterdays” and runs through August 16, 2015.

 Jernstøberi Mælkekuske


“All Our Yesterdays” is the result of the inter-European digitization project EuropeanaPhotography which comprises 18 archives, and which has digitized close to 500,000 pictures from the childhood of photography. The Workers’ Museum and its library and archive, ABA, have contributed 25,000 scanned and metadated photographs from their unique photography archives.

For further informaion see: Europeana Portal, EuropeanaPhotography, All Our YesterdaysTomorrows and Yesterdays og Mads Nissen

Suburbia - adored and vilified

Temporary exhibition: October 3, 2014 until April 6, 2015


Before World War II there was a severe housing shortage. Many workers in the larger cities lived in appalling conditions. Their small flats were overcrowded, and mod cons like toilets, showers and central heating were rare luxuries.

The backyards were often full of back and side buildings. The rent here was low, and the poorest people had to live among the stench of privies and dustbins.


Living in the suburbs is normal today. More than half of all Danes now live in suburban detached houses, terraced houses, and council flats.

The suburbs as we know them, with their homes, shops, institutions, transportation and industry, have their own history. The suburbs were designed and planned by urban planners and architects, and were largely built after World War II.

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The move to the suburbs created longer distances between home and work. This generated a new reliance on efficient transport.

In the metropolitan area, the Copenhagen S Train was a key part of planning, but most people used their own cars to meet their daily transport needs. Which is why the suburbs have been criticised for increasing the number of cars on the road.


Modern suburban homes created a new base for everyday and family life.

Some settled down in a small detached house with its own garden. Other chose a terraced house or council flat.

Visit the people of the suburbs and see how they lived – then and now.


The suburbs are based on the idea of a functionally segregated city, where we live, work and do our shopping in different areas.

Trading estates, green areas, shopping centres, and not least the roads connecting them all supplement residential areas.

Today some urban planners want to change this functional segregation and reintegrate homes and businesses again.


The suburbs were based on utopian dreams and visions of a good society with room for everyone. Today the suburbs have become a place where a lot of people love to live, and that others criticise.

There are new challenges. What should we do about half-empty trading estates, shop closures, social issues, renovation and sustainable development?

What direction should the suburbs take?
What’s your dream?

In welche Richtung soll die Vorstadt sich entwickeln? Wovon träumst du selber?


Art from the Museum's Collection

Temporary exhibition from April 12 to August 10, 2014

Focus on people - the unifying theme of this exhibition.
Paintings of the everyday lives of most of us. At the workplaces, in the family, in political contexts.
Fellow human beings in different life stages and under different social conditions. Often depicted by painters who were engaged in the problems of their time and wanted their works of art to challenge and change the status quo.


Søren Hjorth Nielsen: Volddronningen og hendes galan, 1929, 110 x90 cm, olie på lærred. Arbejdermuseet. Søren Hjorth Nielsen: Queen of the Ramparts and her Lover, 1929
110 x90 cm, oil on canvas. Arbejdermuseet.
In "Queen of the Ramparts and her Lover" Søren Hjorth Nielsen portrayed the shabbiness and the defiance of society's worst off and homeless people. His painting reflects a reality based on both observation and simplification.
Erling Frederiksen: Ved strygebrættet, 1940-42, 197x116 cm, olie på lærred. Arbejdermuseet. Erling Frederiksen: By the Ironing Board, 1940-42
197x116 cm, oil on canvas. Arbejdermuseet.
With sober realism but in extraordinary size Erling Frederiksen painted scenes from everyday life like the young housewife at her ironing board.
Hans Scherfig: Scene fra Paris (levertran) ca. 1931, 52x45 cm, akvarel. Arbejdermuseet. Hans Scherfig: From the 1931 Colonial Exposition in Paris
52x45 cm, watercolor. Arbejdermuseet.
With the financial support of the Augustinus Foundation, the museum has recently acquired three watercolour paintings by Hans Scherfig. The paintings depict episodes from the great Colonial Exhibition in Paris in 1931. The motif with cod liver oil is from the Danish exhibition stand "Danmark Grønlandshus".





















The idioms vary from sober and realistic to the modernist expressionism of the inter-war period and a more experimental or powerful social-realism.

The works are painted by famous Danish artists like Jørgen Andersen-Nærum, Victor Brockdorff, Erling Frederiksen, Erik Hagens, Anette Harboe Flensburg, Aksel Jørgensen, Ursula Reuter Christiansen, John Kørner and Hans Scherfig. But also nearly forgotten painters are represented – for instance Magnus Bengtsson, who in the 1910s worked determinedly to put the factory worker and his environment on the agenda.


Never Again! Chile, September 11th 1973. A poster exhibition
Exactly 40 years ago, on September 11th 1973, a brutal military coup, in Chile, brought the path of democracy to an abrupt end, toppling the elected government that had been responsible for major social reforms. The President, Salvador Allende, took his own life.
A junta, under the leadership of general Pinochet, took control of the country and the following 17 years were marked by bloody oppression, intimidation, solitary confinement, torture, execution and disappearance. Over a short period of time, lack of social facilities and fear of reprisals led to over a million Chileans escaping the country. Around 900 came to Denmark, as refugees.

Demonstration, 1978 tegning: Paz Valenzuela Friedmann Solidaritetsmøde, 1974 Protestmøde 1977, tegning: Finn Hauggard

From the very beginning, Denmark was amongst those who had harshly condemned the junta and, fairly quickly, a broad solidarity movement formed, to show support and bring awareness to the plight of the Chileans.
The exhibition is based on the Danish support group’s original posters and tells the story of this show of solidarity.

The exhibition will run from September 10th to November 17th 2013 at The Workers Museum, balcony in the assembly hall.

The balcony exhibition is not be open if/when assembly hall is rented - you are welcome to check in advance by calling the museum, tel. 33 93 25 75.

Dea Trier Mørch: Bitter-Sweet Socialism

PosterPictures from Leningrad 1966-67

Wanderlust, youth, commitment, courage, travel, darkness, light and dream of change

In drawings and prints the young Dea Trier Mørch describes - with warm irony and cheerful acceptance - a throng of people and places, experiences and moods from everyday life and special occasions in the Soviet Union of the 1960'ies.

Dea Trier Mørch (1941-2001) - painter and author - is recognized as a dynamic personality on the Danish creative left wing for more than half a century. She was a co-founder and member of the well-known Danish artist collective Red Mother (1969-c. 1980) and became a productive and valued fiction writer in the 1980s and 90s.

In the 1960s Dea Trier Mørch made several study trips to art colleges in Eastern European capitals. The journeys radically strengthened her political commitment to socialism and society critical movements, and she developed an increasingly realistic idiom in her pictures.

In 1966 Dea Trier Mørch received a Soviet research scholarship and went to Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) to study graphic art techniques at the Art Academy.

Back in Denmark, she wrote an impressionistic travel book "Bitter-Sweet Socialism Soviet Etchings" (1968), a sensuous, poetic and humorous stream of experiences from everyday life in a socialist society expressed in paintings and words.

The exhibition
The exhibition contains the original drawings and etchings used in the travel book as well as a number of other works that recall experiences and people from her time in Leningrad and her travels in the vast country. Her works are often light and playful - and with written Danish and Cyrillic characters as an essential part of the picture story.

Exhibition period: July 6 – September 1, 2013 at The Workers Museum, balcony in the assembly hall.
The balcony exhibition is not be open if/when assembly hall is rented - you are welcome to check in advance by calling the museum, tel. 33 93 25 75.

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