With a circular rainbow walkway on top of its roof, it was hard to resist the lure of Århus’s modern art gallery, ARoS. Soon after we arrived in the facility, friendly staff talked us through the various exhibitions and offered recommendations on installations that the girls would most likely find interesting. With nine levels to explore, we opted to start in the basement and work our way up.

ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Århus, Denmark, September 2014
After the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson won the competition to enhance the rooftop of the very cubic ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, his installation Your Rainbow Panorama was opened in 2011, adding a rainbow to the cityscape and cementing ARoS's place in the list of interesting art galleries found around the world.

Interior of ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Århus, Denmark, September 2014
Although the art gallery is square on the outside, the interior is dominated by curved balconies that overlook the ground-floor and a corkscrew of stairs that connect the different levels.

The girls’ usual approach is to wander through the art spaces, creating a collective commentary on what they see and how it makes them feel. Sometimes the title of the installation provides clues as to what the artist was trying to convey, but other times we were left to only explore our own reactions to the art-pieces. ARoS’s halls are wide and vast, with plenty of room for a boisterous family like ours to explore, and with English alongside the Danish text in most places.

The basement contains a set of nine darkened rooms, connected by dark corridors that are lit only by ankle-high indented lights. Several of the installations are visual projections, and generally we didn’t take the time to watch the whole thing. Instead, we moved on to static pieces which we could properly examine.

Ron Mueck’s huge, fantastically lifelike Boy dominates the open spaces of Level 1 and led to fantasies of inhabiting a world alongside giants. We haven’t seen another Mueck piece since visiting his exhibition in Brisbane, and although the girls can’t remember the artist, I was thrilled our family is becoming reacquainted with his work on the other side of the world.

Sketch of an ape by Edvard Munch, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Århus, Denmark, September 2014
Edvard Munch's sketch of an ape merits its own special display hall.

The current artist-in-residence is Wes Lang — he of the American icons, skeletal characters, pinup girls and tattoo sketches. His huge paintings of Native Americans and messy working studio fascinated the girls, especially Lana who saw his discarded paintbrushes as an invitation to add her own artwork to the walls! I found myself confronted by his graphic depiction of fantasy females and wonder how I can guide my own daughters in a healthy appraisal of their bodies when society perpetuates (and even glorifies) a misogynist stereotype.

Brioni looking at a portrait, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Århus, Denmark, September 2014
I'm thankful that the descriptions of the paintings are made available in English (as well as Danish and German).

Other floors contain galleries of modern and classical art. I tend to prefer the modern installations though the girls are interested by the stories behind the portraits of the Renaissance and Romanticism periods.

ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Århus, Denmark, September 2014
Many of the exhibition spaces are huge — proportionate to the size of the artworks. We're visiting on a weekday, so there aren't so many other patrons in the art gallery.

Our favourite installation is by Olafur Eliasson (he who designed the rainbow walkway on the roof). His specialty is combining art and technology — often with a rainbow of colour. Your atmospheric colour atlas is a beautiful foggy room where you interact with the art by walking around, marvelling at the changing colours.

Olafur Eliasson's Your atmospheric colour atlas, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Århus, Denmark, September 2014
The girls open the doors to Olafur Eliasson's Your atmospheric colour atlas, revealing the foggy colourful interior.

Olafur Eliasson's Your atmospheric colour atlas, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Århus, Denmark, September 2014
At several junctions in the room, it's possible to differentiate between the colours. However, usually the change is so subtle that when walking around, you gradually realise that you've entered within another hue.

Olafur Eliasson's Your atmospheric colour atlas, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Århus, Denmark, September 2014
The colour changes are created by different lights embedded in the ceiling.

Olafur Eliasson's Your atmospheric colour atlas, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Århus, Denmark, September 2014
Two fog machines keep the room murky. The fog is so thick that in some places visibility is limited to only about a metre!

By the time we reach the roof, we’re arted out. In the two hours it’s taken to thoroughly tour the art gallery, we’ve reached our natural limit. The girls have lost their interest in the individual pieces and just want to run. Thankfully, this is the place to do it — and at the same time we can enjoy the view across Århus.

Roof-top terrace below the rainbow walkway, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Århus, Denmark, September 2014
The roof-top terrace provides access to the rainbow walkway. It's also a nice place to just hang out.

Olafur Eliasson's Your rainbow panorama, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Århus, Denmark, September 2014
The walkway is suspended above the roof on top of the art gallery.

Inside Olafur Eliasson's Your rainbow panorama, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Århus, Denmark, September 2014
As we walk around the ring, the vista changes colours.

Olafur Eliasson's Your rainbow panorama, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Århus, Denmark, September 2014
We take delight in watching our clothes change colour as we move through the different hues.

Truly, this was an exceptional art gallery, and fantastic for the kids. The staff were helpful and obliging, the labels clear and tri-lingual. I know ARoS rotates their exhibitions quite frequently, so it would be fun to visit again when other artwork was on display. If you’re in Denmark, it’s definitely worth a visit — if only for the experience of visiting the rainbow walkway on the roof!