According to the World Happiness Report, a yearly survey of the state of global happiness commissioned by the United Nations, Denmark is often ranked as the “happiest country in the world.” While studying in Denmark, photographer Giulia Mangione explored what makes the country the happiest country in the world.

In the words of the artist: “People often ask me if the Danes are really the happiest people in the world. I still don’t have an answer to this. But I know what I like about the Danes. I like that they use cemeteries as places to celebrate life more than death. I like their innate sense of freedom in being what they want to be. I like the fact that Danes go to “højskole” (high school) to learn something for life, to be aware of what they are good at and what makes them happy. In her 2017 New Year’s speech, Queen Margrethe of Denmark said, ‘Try and do something that is not necessary, something that there is no need for, something pointless!...I think it is important to have experiences that appeal to our senses, something that inspires our imagination, that stimulates the mind, and that can enlarge our world. That is not so pointless after all.’ Driving around Denmark, often sleeping in a tent under pouring rain, I would find myself asking why I was doing it. But now I have the feeling that Margrethe might be right.”

How to View

During the day, the installment can be viewed on monitors inside the ICP Museum and during evening hours, images are literally “projected” onto the windows of the ICP Museum; they can be viewed from the sidewalk outside the Museum and are most visible after sunset. Learn more about Projected.

About the Artist

Giulia Mangione is a social documentary photographer from Italy exploring identity and belonging in connection to place. In 2012, she earned an MA in comparative literary studies from Goldsmiths University of London and in 2014 she studied advanced visual storytelling at the Danish School of Media and Journalism in Denmark. In 2018, her first book, Halfway Mountain (Journal), was shortlisted for the Prix du Livre at Les Rencontres d’Arles. In the same year, she was nominated for Women Photographers to Watch by Lens Culture. The previous year her dummy was shortlisted at Kassel Dummy Award. In 2017, her work was included in a collective publication edited by Fotogalleriet and Skreid featuring contemporary artists such as Alec Soth, Pieter Hugo, Katrin Koenning, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Torbjørn Rødland. In the same year she was nominated for MACK First Book Award. In 2016, she won third prize at NPPA Best of Photojournalism in Personality Profile and Lifestyle Magazine story category. Her work has been recently exhibited at the Musée de l’Élysée for La Nuit des Images in Lausanne, Foto-forum (IT), Savignano SI Festival, and Cortona on the Move. Mangione is based in Copenhagen.


Image: © Giulia Mangione