'Magic Mushrooms' – Aarhus, Denmark - Atlas Obscura

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'Magic Mushrooms'

This inverted metropolis model is the artist's "revenge" for not being allowed to have a doll house as a kid.  


In a public parking garage in Aarhus, Denmark, a country where skyscrapers still are rather uncommon, Danish-Norwegian artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset have installed Magic Mushrooms, an inverted fictitious high-rise metropolis model.

Visitors admiring the magical ceiling sculpture can, according to Elmgreen and Dragset, fantasize about mushrooming cities that “can’t be reached in a physical sense, but only through our imagination.” By that, the duo is referring to real-life prestige buildings so expensive that they are only used for financial centers and offices, and are unavailable to ordinary people to live in. Elmgreen has also described the artwork as “revenge” for not being allowed to have a doll house to play with when he was a little boy.

The megacity model, which was inaugurated in 2015, is realistically reproduced in 1:100 scale, with an extent of approximately 82 x 36 feet (25 x 11 meters). It consists of 178 aluminum buildings, with the tallest one measuring 9.2 feet (2.8 meters).

In addition, Elmgreen and Dragset have created a “sister city” to ‘Magic Mushrooms’. This similar sculpture is called The Hive and since 2020 it has hung from the ceiling of the Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station (near the 31st Street exit) in New York City.

Know Before You Go

'Magic Mushrooms' is mounted upside down in the ground floor parking area of the public Dokk1 Cultural Center and is freely accessible 24/7. However, if you want to also see the artwork from another angle through the first floor library windows, make sure to check the website for opening hours. 

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