In recent years, an impressive selection of leading Danish artists have created significant decorative projects for the District Court of Copenhagen. The latest of these contributions are three works by Cathrine Raben Davidsen, who has decorated one of the courtrooms at the Court, based on a grant from the New Carlsberg Foundation.

Out of darkness

Silvery Waters is the title of two large drawings in Courtroom 29, where they appear alongside the painting Hydra Viridissima. As is often the case in Raben Davidsen’s visual universe, the images in the courtroom seem to flow out of darkness, each suggesting their own creation narrative. Both drawings have an expressive dark picture plane in black and muted bluish greys. The light and the figuration wrestle with and are drawn from this abstract, saturated and almost textured darkness. The two beautiful, Renaissance-like female faces emerging in the drawings point to the visual artistic genesis, the transformation from non-form to form. At the same time, this transfiguration also seems to hint at a more existential dynamic, a movement from nothing to being, from void to life.

A similar theme is at play in the painting Hydra Viridissima, albeit in a slightly different treatment. Here, Raben Davidsen has blown up microscopic life to a large format (180 x 300 cm). The vast dark plane is bisected by a branch-like structure featuring tiny luminous hydra-polyps looking like long slender lanterns – light emanating from primordial life, embodied by these cnidocyte creatures, as if we were witnessing the very earliest stage of evolution. 

Enigmatic, introvert, self-contained

Raben Davidsen’s pictures offer openings for reflection and introspection, an enigmatic, visual space one can explore and lose oneself in:

‘Cathrine Raben Davidsen often, and also in this instance, creates a special zone in between the abstract and the figurative, between pure colour/form and a specific reference: an object or perhaps the contours of a face emerging from the image, often with an expression of seriousness, pensiveness, contemplation. Thus, her works directly and openly address us while also remaining enigmatic, introspective, self-contained,’ says Morten Kyndrup, member of the board for the New Carlsberg Foundation.

About Cathrine Raben Davidsen

Cathrine Raben Davidsen (b. 1972) graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen in 2003, following studies at Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici in Florence and Vrije Academie i Haag. Whether she expresses herself in painting, drawing, graphic art or ceramic, her work seems to draw inspiration from canonized art and cultural history. Her paintings, in particular, often show clear references to the Renaissance masters, such as Raphael and Titian, freely sampled and combined with other visual sources of inspiration. Raben Davidsen has exhibited widely both in Denmark and abroad, and her works are represented in several Danish museums, including SMK – National Gallery of Denmark, Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalborg and Horsens Art Museum.