The Foundation

Artist: daniel jensen Tags: Permanent art Permanent konst

Like a modern totem pole, Daniel Jensen’s seven-metre Foundation, stands just outside Arkivcentrum Syd in Lund, as if propping up the roof over its entrance. The design of the pillar was inspired by what it looks like inside the archive, where tons of books, crates and cardboard tubes are organised according to strict systems. The elements of the sculpture are cast in polyester as books, boxes and tubes; together with other parts, such as a tree trunk, a mushroom and other figures, they form a weight-bearing pile.


Monika Larsen Dennis

One of the human figures is wearing a ruff collar of the kind worn during the Renaissance, quickly leading our associations to the era when the concept for today’s archives was first conceived. It was during the Renaissance that the erudite Greco-Roman writings were rediscovered, after having been pushed into obscurity due to other interests in the Middle Ages. Scientific and artistic knowledge was revived, and the Renaissance men saw themselves as “dwarves on the shoulders of giants”, where the giants were represented by the classical treatises. Collecting writing, documents and objects became more important than ever before, and categorisations were invented to bring order to chaos, forming the basis for the first modern archives, libraries and museums. There is also a bird among the figures in Jensen’s pillar. Birds were the first species to be described in Carl Linnaeus’ Systema Naturae (1735), which came to have an enormous impact on systematic categorisation. The categorisation of birds, or finches to be precise, also inspired Charles Darwin’s famous theories on evolution.

The Foundation is integrated with the new building and reflects the activities within, but also comments on how these activities – archiving and research into historical documents – form the structure for how we look at our own era and how we deal with the challenge of the future. We build our history with layer upon layer, thereby constructing the foundation, so to speak, for seeking our roots and thereby finding knowledge.

Power Ekroth