Thursday, March 4, 2010

Where In The World Is Copenhagen's Little Mermaid?

If your Baltic cruise includes a call in Copenhagen this year, you might be in for a disappointment. The Little Mermaid, Denmark's biggest tourist attraction and, for many visitors, the symbol of Copenhagen and Denmark won't be perched on her stone at Langelinie in Copenhagen Harbor. For 95 years she has greeted visitors from around the world, but now it is the little lady's turn to take a trip abroad. When the World Expo is held in Shanghai in 2010, it will be with The Little Mermaid as a main attraction.

She is a hard one to find a substitute for in Copenhagen, but Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has agreed to do the job. While The Little Mermaid is in Shanghai for the World Expo 2010 from May 1st to Oct 31st, an exchange installation by Weiwei, the Andy Warhol of China, will take her place in Copenhagen. His artwork can best be described as a multimedia installation, which registers, documents, and articulates the movements and changes that occur during the time The Little Mermaid is away. The installation is active around the clock and the reproduction of images happens in several layers at once. Incorporated in the piece are a number of technologies such as cameras and web connections.

Exact dates of the departure of The Little Mermaid and arrival of Ai Weiwei's art installation were yet to be announced last week; however, The Little Mermaid is expected to leave Copenhagen in April. Her presence at the Expo is a gesture of cultural generosity and also an invitation to a cultural dialogue between Denmark and China. While she is gone, visitors to Copenhagen will be able to see an original copy of the sculpture in Tivoli Gardens.

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