Photo: Laura Stamer
Gifts for Kamma
June 9 2020 – January 15 2021
The internationally recognised designer Amanda Betz has created and works for - and inspired by, Bakkehuset’s celebrated host Kamma Rahbek.
The exhibition “Gifts for Kamma” is made up of fascinating, delicate and detailed art works in papir. These creations, in different ways, have a direct connection to Kamma Rahbek’s life and works. Amanda Betz has immersed herself in Kamma Rahbek’s fascinating universe of flowers, boxes and letters in order to establish a connection to the woman who was the axis around which life at Bakkehuset revolved; a place where great writers and scientists such as Hans Christian Andersen, Hand Christian Ørsted and N.F.S. Grundtvig were frequent visitors.
Kamma Rahbek (1775 -1829) was an expert in creating and maintaining good relationships with her wider family, neighbours and guests who visited Bakkehuset. Her beautifully crafted boxes and flower arrangements from her carefully tended garden were both a key to, and a physical manifestation of, her numerous friendships. The boxes were constructed from card and paper – Kamma presented these boxes and arrangements of flowers from her garden as gifts to her friends and acquaintances.
Kamma Rahbek is also known for her correspondence which provides an intimate portrait of her life and her thoughts. She was a generous person and managed to create a vibrant social milieu, despite the fact that she remained childless and suffered from poor health. She was called ‘the blue flower’ and it was said that she had the magic touch; everything she turned her hand to came to possess an indescribable beauty. She herself felt that she was split between the spiritual and the physical.
Amanda Betz became fascinated by Kamma Rahbek’s universe which led her to immerse herself in Kamma’s world of flowers, boxes and letters to find inspiration. The pieces in the exhibition are made from paper which was also Kamma Rahbek’s material of choice. A gift is a profound symbol of human relationships and thus the pieces in the exhibition are created as gifts for Kamma Rahbek. For Amanda Betz the exhibition “serves as recognition of, and a symbol as to how Kamma Rahbek created a way of life in Bakkehuset and how she filled her days with both beauty and joy.”
Betz’ works are inspired by specific flowers, conversations and places which are mentioned in Kamma Rahbek’s correspondence. In this way the pieces are intricately connected to the host’s personality, life and experience. The pieces address the way an artefact evolves through time, for instance, a glove is first a private possession and then becomes an exhibition piece. The works contain references to the symbolism of flowers and their importance to Kamma Rahbek. In letting the pieces inhabit and touch upon Kamma Rahbek’s personality Betz attempts to subtly create a modern connection with her.
Amanda Betz (born in 1978) qualified as an architect and MMA (Member of the Danish Association of Architects) in 2005 when she won the highly coveted VOLA prize for her graduation project. Since then she has worked in the liminal area between art, design and architecture. Her talent is recognised both in Denmark and abroad. The folded shade for the Cassiopeia lamp designed for Le Klimt, the Shayk lamp designed for Artecnica and the ‘folded vase’ designed for MENU are examples of her work that are based on the possibilities of paper.
She has been awarded a number of scholarships from the Danish Ministry of Culture and in 2015 she was chosen by the Danish Arts Council to take part in the arrangement ‘Danish Crafts Collection CC19’ exhibited at Maison et Objet 2015. Paper is a recurring material in Betz’ work and has come to prominence in many of her pieces. Most recently in the exhibition DAWN where she won the Danish Design Awards title of “Årets kunsthåndværker 2019” (Artisan of the Year) awarded by Nordic Living and the magazines Bo Bedre, Costume Living and Boligmagasinet.
Photo: Amanda Betz