Hunting For Faeries

Today, I visited Odense, which is a very charming and beautiful town on the little island here in Denmark.  A customer at work told me about it, that’s it’s the birthplace of this man:

Hans Christian Anderson – storyteller and poet.  Odense honors him today with 37 statues in the city center, all designed by different artists interpreting his stories however they chose.  I had a map of where they were located, along the names and some info about each one.  However, the map was in Danish – so right now it’s of little use to me.  I did manage to find most of them, although some were simply to far for me to walk.  It was a cold, windy day, and my sickness has moved from my throat to my lungs and I was given to fits of coughing any time the wind blew hard.

Anyway, I will share with you some of my favorite statues, and what I think they represent:

Thumbelina (I went out of my way to find this one…I’ll admit) – Tommelise in Danish.

Paper Boat (papirbadin – there’s supposed to be a circle over the a but I can’t figure out how to load that).  This was adorable.  I wanted to jump off the bridge and ride in it.

Echo

This little search took me all over downtown. But all that walking wore me out.  I decided to check out the museums instead of being in the wind.  First up: Hans Christian Andersen Museum.  They also had his childhood home for viewing, but I couldn’t bring myself to walk more.  The museum walked you through his life, from boyhood to massive success to death – with artifacts from his life, letters he wrote, letters wrote to him, etc., a room full of the collection of his books, multiple editions of those books, translations of those books, and modern adaptations of those books.  It was incredible.  There was also a little house attached to the museum, explaining a little about the house where he grew up and his grandparents, as well as life in general in that era.  I found this:

I thought about how tiny it was, and how maybe I could fit that in my suitcase.  Walk away.  Fast.

They also had a room filled with H.C. Andersen’s paper cuttings, stories about different cuttings, and scraps of paper he would draw doodles on while he was traveling, to remind him about specific people, places, or ideas he had.  This picture was on the wall, and I love it!

I guess H.C. Andersen suffered from toothaches throughout his life – eventually loosing all of his teeth and using this set of haphazard dentures (which were also on display).  The pain drove him mad, which he was legitimately worried about (his grandfather went insane) and I suppose he envisioned mean little faery creatures hammering away at his teeth and gums, making them hurt and need to be pulled.

After this museum, I went to the art museum (note: kunst means art – just a little something I picked up).  There was an exhibition on crazy contemporary art from parts of Asia.  Some of it was really twisted and grotesque.  Some of it I quite liked.  There was a little wooden house for you to walk in, and on the back wall, opposite the door, was a chibi girl’s face with wide bright eyes.  It invites you to become part of the art.  What do you see and feel?  Who lived there?  Etc.  It was kind of fun.

One of the pieces I found disorienting was this one (the only one I felt comfortable enough to take a picture of):

Different pieces of mirror in different shapes and heights, some of them cracked, and the edges painted really bright colors.  As you walked around it your reflection twisted and broke and came back together in odd ways.  Sometimes you would look into a mirror and see strange pieces of yourself, because of how the mirrors are positioned.  A weird form of narcissism.

Odense is such a cool little town, and I wish I had the money time and health to visit for longer.  Eventually, I was just so worn out that I felt if I didn’t get on the train back to Arhus right that minute, I would fall asleep on a bench.  Then, I remembered something I’ve been doing in the towns I’ve been visiting, and spent the next twenty minutes working on this:

What?  You didn’t think I would leave without creating my own little art, did you?

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