Karl Troels Sandegård, The High Seas of Your Intrinsic Ocean (2022). Installation view at Copenhagen Contemporary, 2022. Photo: Jasko Bobar

Karl Troels Sandegård

The High Seas of Your Intrinsic Ocean


– 23.10.22

In Karl Troels Sandegård’s exhibition The High Seas of Your Intrinsic Ocean, a series of large, mutable jelly sculptures greets us already outside CC as well as in the foyer and drip drop across Copenhagen.

Sandegård has a profound interest in the potential of water. So far, he has worked with its three most familiar states – solid, liquid and gas. Now, The High Seas of Your Intrinsic Ocean unfolds his fascination with the more mysterious nature of water: its fourth state, the jelly-like plasma that is created when water is absorbed by a human or plant body. 

All jelly sculptures are cast on site in different sizes. The singular materiality of the sculptures is created by mixing a gelling agent into hot water, causing the water to gel as it cools. The result is an organic jelly that is tantalizing in its sensuous mutability like a living, mysterious body.

Water is necessary for life to arise and be sustained. It is present in all living organisms. Inside the body, water assumes a different form than the familiar ones. It is transformed into a state between liquid, gas and ice. Sandegård’s word is based on the concept of water as a messenger, fuel or vehicle transmitting vital information to the organism. 

The sculptures are part of the artist’s longstanding exploration of water. Over the course of the exhibition, Sandegård will keep working on the sculptures in an open lab outside CC.

The works on display are still in progress, but are also naturally transformed over time into other forms. The gel itself is mutable and subject to a natural breakdown, and external conditions such as wind and weather will continuously change the expression of the sculptures.The High Seas of Your Intrinsic Ocean lets us flow with the water as it changes from liquid to jelly to airborne vapour and dripping water floating into its surroundings and the water around Refshale Island. 

Researchers the world over agree that the planet today faces a number of daunting challenges when it comes to the most essential element for sustaining life on Earth: water. In September 2022, Copenhagen, and all of Denmark, is hosting the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition, which will bring more than 10,000 water professionals from around the world to the city. In connection with the congress, CC and Aquaporin, a water solution company, are working together to engage the public in the current global debate and highlight the essential nature of water. This partnership is embodied in The High Seas of Your Intrinsic Ocean, which will be shown at CC and at three other venues across the city: Aquaporin’s headquarters, the World Water Congress at the Bella Center and Industriens Hus.

The High Seas of Your Intrinsic Ocean is made possible with the support of The Danish Arts Foundation and 15. Juni Fonden.

About the artist

Karl Troels Sandegård (b. 1979) graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen in 2007. He lives and works near Copenhagen. The link between art and science is a recurring interest in Sandegård’s practice. Often using his own body as a jumping-off point, he investigates physical and tactile aspects of the world to illuminate the complexity and mutability of our surroundings.