The Mindcraft Project
February 2020

Cathrine Raben Davidsen: “Our inter- and intra-connectedness with the natural world”

In a Q&A series, the designers and artists participating in this year’s Milan exhibition by The Mindcraft Project tell us about their process, what they are working on, how they use their favorite tool and generally what they are into right now. A warm welcome to Cathrine Raben Davidsen.

What I do in my studio:
I have two studios. In the largest studio I draw, paint, work with printmaking, have meetings, do office work and all other practical stuff, and in my ceramic studio I work with clay, make my own glazes and do kiln firings. I just recently installed a ceramic studio in an old barn in the center of Copenhagen, and it is great to be able to separate the two studios as working with clay is messy and dusty.

Photo Courtesy of Cathrine Raben Davidsen

Essential working tool:
My hands and my earphones…I cannot work without music.

What I work on at the moment:
I am currently working on a comprehensive permanent commission for The Carlsberg Academy, which is the old villa of Brewer J.C. Jacobsen (1811-87) near Valby Bakke at Vesterbro, Denmark. The Academy is undergoing an extensive renovation and will open in August 2020. I am specifically working on a series of very large bronze vessels for the Winter Garden of the Carlsberg Academy. The villa was also the former honorary residence of leading Danish scientists Niels Bohr, so it is a great honor to be able to work on this project.

Photo Courtesy of Cathrine Raben Davidsen

Best design experience I had recently:
In 2019 Bjarne Ingels and BIG completed the cleanest waste-to-energy power plant in the world here in Copenhagen. “CopenHill”, also known as “Amager Bakke”, which is open to the public all year round, has an artificial ski slope on the roof of this human-made mountain, which also includes tree-lined hiking trails, and the tallest artificial climbing wall in the world on the facade of the building. Inside it is filled with the latest technologies in waste treatment and energy production and is capable of converting 440,000 tons of waste into clean energy annually. It is hoped that “CopenHill” will help Copenhagen meet its goal of becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral city by 2025.

Favorite material:
All materials make me really excited. I am such nerd when it comes to mediums and I have a lot of everything both materials and tools. I love working with ink, water and oil, but also with clay and glazes. Recently I started working with animated film, which is constructed by photographing a drawing, making erasures and changes, and then photographing it again and again for each change I make, sometimes up to hundreds of photographs on top of one drawing.

Photo Courtesy of Cathrine Raben Davidsen

What I listen to when I work:
At the moment I listen to a lot of Father John Misty, Chet Baker and Cat Power. I like melancholy moody music. I also listen to Donna Haraway, who talks about the merging of human and non-human/machine in the form of the cyborg, and about science, technology and environmental studies. I am deeply inspired by her thoughts about where our society is heading.

Next travel destination:
I am going to Marrakesh for the “1-54 Art Fair”, which is the first leading international art fair dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora. It was founded by Touria El Glaoui and the fair draws reference to the fifty-four countries that constitute the African continent. I am very excited to visit this fair as it is a sustainable and dynamic platform that engages in contemporary dialogue and exchange.

Photo Courtesy of Cathrine Raben Davidsen

Biggest inspiration:
My mentors South African artists: Rose Shakinovsky and Claire Gavronsky, with whom I have studied with for the past 20 years. They are able to continuously push me into unknown territories yet keep me on track on my own process.

3 things I’m into right now:
Our “inter-” and “intra”-connectedness with the natural world, dark matter and my family.

Learn more about: The Mindcraft Project