ABBAS AKHAVAN – curtain call

Special Exhibitions /22.06 - 26.11.2023

The Glyptotek and Copenhagen Contemporary (CC) are collaborating to present the first-ever exhibition in Scandinavia devoted to the work of the artist Abbas Akhavan (b. 1977 in Tehran. Lives and works in Montreal).

In his exhibition curtain call, Akhavan presents two of his most recent large-scale installations, on view for the first time together: variations on a folly (2021–) at Copenhagen Contemporary and cast for a folly (2019–) at the Glyptotek.

cast for a folly
Wedged between the Glyptotek’s galleries lies a ruined museum space. Akhavan’s cast for a folly (2019-) is a comprehensive installation that extends from a documentary photograph of the looted National Museum in Bagdad shortly after the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

At the Glyptotek the museum space is constructed as a stage set, added interventions altering the relationship between original and copy. The museum furniture has been reduced to fragments, and the abandoned Assyrian lion sculpture in heavy basalt has been reconstituted in cob. A kicked-in gate has been replaced with a green screen, while a plastic tub with floating water lilies allude to the American military term ‘lily pads’: small, secretive, clusters of military bases used during invasion.

With its emptied display cases and dust-covered surfaces, the work invites us to take part in an event we have arrived at too late to witness. Now occupying a different time and space, the re-staging of the looted Iraq Museum asks, Who inherits the ruins of war?

cast for a folly is shown for the first time in Europe, exactly 20 years after the United States moved into Iraq with allied countries, including Denmark.



About the artist
Working primarily with sculpture and installation, Abbas Akhavan (b. 1977, Teheran, lives and works in Montreal) is interested in the various expressions and symbolic meanings that can arise when juxtaposing different materials. Often defining his works as ‘studies’ or ‘variations’, the artist’s works are frequently ephemeral in nature, responding to their architectural space and cultural context.

Akhavan’s work explores how objects, and their stories, live on as migrants, as they are expatriated, displaced and circulated through other institutions, economies and national narratives.

Unique collaboration
Hosting Histories: Revisiting Cultural Heritage of the Middle East and Beyond is a new three-year (2023-2025) partnership between the Glyptotek and the Copenhagen Contemporary that will revisit the cultural heritage of antiquity and its significance today. Over the next three years, three international artists will each create a solo exhibition relating to the Glyptotek’s ancient collections. The exhibitions will be co-hosted by both institutions.

The curatorial objective of the first exhibition focuses on the travelling objects of cultural heritage and the notion of them as ‘cultural migrants’. Objects of cultural heritage are more than just physical traces of the past. They hold their own stories, experiences, journeys and tragedies and – like people – they can become displaced as casualties of war or geopolitical conflict.

Read more about the exhibition at CC

Exhibition introductions
Meet one of our exhibition hosts in the exhibition:

Thursday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

We offer introductions to the exhibition in English: Thursday – Sunday at 2 p.m. Also at 5 p.m. on Thursdays.

In Danish: Thursday – Sunday at 12 noon and 3 p.m. Also at 7 p.m. on Thursdays.

Meeting point: The Information.

Discount on admission
We recommend visiting both exhibitions and offer a discount on admission. Holders of season tickets to either CC or the Glyptotek can visit the other venue free. Holders of regular tickets to either exhibition receive a 20% discount on admission to the other venue.

Buy entry ticket online and avoid the queue 

Public transport
Bus 2A runs directly between the Glyptotek’s main entrance and Copenhagen Contemporary. The trip from the Tietgensgade stop at Tivoli Gardens to the final stop at Refshaleøen takes 20 minutes. From there, it is a five-minute walk to Copenhagen Contemporary. Bus 2A departs every 8 minutes on weekdays and every 20 minutes on weekends.

22 June: CC x GLYPTOTEK: Exhibition Opening Celebration
29 June: Rooftop Thursdays: Curator talk with the exhibition curator Anna Kjærsgaard Gregersen
16 July: Guided tour. Adventures and accidents – The sculpture’s untold stories
27 July: Guided tour. Adventures and accidents – The sculpture’s untold stories
24 August: Guided tour. Adventures and accidents – The sculpture’s untold stories
27 August: Guided tour. Adventures and accidents – The sculpture’s untold stories

Museum shop
Find posters, postcards and other products from the exhibition in the museum shop.

The 3-year exhibition program Hosting Histories – Revisiting Cultural Heritage of the Middle East and Beyond between Glyptoteket and CC are generously supported by:

The exhibition at the Glyptotek is further supported by:


Danish Arts Foundation

Kronprins Frederiks og Kronprinsesse Marys Fond

Grosserer L. F. Foghts Fond

Ernst B. Sund Fonden

Lizzi og Mogens Staal Fonden

The artist’s residency is supported by:

Embassy of Canada to Denmark
Canada Council for the Arts

Photo: Abbas Akhavan, cast for a folly (2019-). Installation view. Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada, 2022. Photo: Rachel Topham Photography. Courtesy of the artist, The Third Line and Catriona Jeffries.

Read more +


See the exciting activities and events, the Glyptotek has to offer. Please note, the events in Danish will not be presented here. Go to the Danish version of the homepage to see all events.


Enjoy a delicious lunch at Picnic overlooking the Glyptotek's beautiful Winter Garden.

The Small Salon

Experience a small thematic exhibition about the French artist Paul Gauguin’s residence in Copenhagen.