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CBS art exhibition reminds student to cherish beauty while writing her master’s thesis

Photo: Anna Holte.

The work of photo artist Janne Klerk left a major impression on Kristina Sørensen Hilleke while she was writing her thesis. So much so, that she reached out to tell the artist. This speaks to the power of art, a member of the CBS Arts Committee explains.

News |   07. Sep 2022

Martin Mitchell

Freelance journalist

Art can move people in ways they never imagined possible.

It can calm you down, help you resolve your inner struggles, or ponder world crises.

For Kristina Sørensen Hilleke, a recent Master of Science in Business Administration and Organisation, art exhibited at CBS had an emotional impact on her while she was writing her dissertation.

 The photo exhibition Denmark’s Coastline, by artist Janne Klerk, in Rotunden at CBS, Solbjerg Plads, reminded her to cherish beauty. Even while she was busy.

Art can remind us to be human

When Kristina Sørensen Hilleke first saw the photo exhibition in Rotunden at the Solbjerg Plads campus in December 2021, she told her friend next to her that she was crazy about the photos.

While working on her thesis in the spring of 2022, she visited Rotunden frequently for lunch and other breaks, as students do. But she would also pop in to Rotunden just to see the exhibition.  

Sometimes, the best way to understand life is not in textbooks

Philipp Alexander Ostrowicz, member of the Arts Committee

“I am no art aficionado. I struggle to find art that speaks to me. Of course, I visit museums. But when I came across the photos, they immediately struck a chord with me.  The colour composition, the light, and the Danish coastlines the artist portrays. I have lived by the sea myself, so looking at the photos felt quite comforting. I was captivated,” she says and adds:

“The photos reminded me that there was more to life than writing my thesis and staring at my computer screen. Art can have that effect. It reminded me to be human and enjoy the beauty in life even when I am busy. I think it is important that students are reminded of that sometimes,” she says.

Kristina Sørensen Hilleke (Photo: Martin Mitchell)

And stories like Kristina Sørensen Hilleke’s exemplify the role of art at the university, Philipp Alexander Ostrowicz, a member of the Arts Committee at CBS and Senior Research Advisor at Department of Economics explains.

Art is not only visually pleasing as you pass it in CBS hallways. As former CBS President Per Holten-Andersen underlines in the CBS Art Strategy:   “Art challenges the students’ familiar beliefs and contributes to an understanding that there are various possibilities to act and diverse ways to understand the world.”

Remember to praise other people

Kristina Sørensen Hilleke submitted her master’s thesis this summer and now spends less time on campus.

But the photos left such an impression that she could not let them go. She therefore reached out to the artist Janne Klerk.

She wanted to praise the art photographs and the impact they had had on her life.

“I think we need to be generally better at letting people know that what they created or did had an impact on us. Janne’s work did that for me during a busy time of my life. I got so much from her, so I felt I needed to pay that back,” she says and adds:

“I also wanted to buy one of her pieces but could not do so online, so I had to write to her. Her work will hang in my living room once I have arranged the sofa properly,” she says.

Art can educate you in other areas of life

On behalf of the Arts Committee at CBS, Philipp Alexander Ostrowicz helps select the art and art projects displayed at the university.

He is excited to hear the story of how art can inspire students.

“Art teaches you something different from typical CBS subjects such as accounting or economics. In the Arts Committee, we believe art is integral to our mission of educating people, also spiritually and culturally. Sometimes, the best way to understand life is not in textbooks. Sometimes, art can help you see yourself differently,” he says, adding:

“This story is a testament to the power of art. It can make you think and act differently.”

Choosing art for CBS is a collaborative effort

Selecting works of art for a university is a unique task, explains Philipp Alexander Ostrowicz. 

“People walk by the art here without choosing to be there – unlike in museums. So, we refrain from showing pornographic or violent content. Yet, we did have a very nice digital film that aimed to raise awareness of the sex culture and exploitation of female sex workers. But that featured another kind of nakedness,” he says.

I got so much from her, so I felt I needed to pay that back.

Kristina Sørensen Hilleke

At CBS, the process of selecting art is always collaborative, involving the members of the Arts Committee, experts and artists themselves.

Naturally, the university’s financial restrictions are also kept in mind.

“I wish it were different, and that we could make grand plans. But I understand it would not be appropriate to allocate large sums to buying art while closing study programmes. So, if we want to buy pieces, we have to work closely with private or public foundations such as the Danish Arts Foundation, (Statens Kunstfond)” he says.


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