COPENHAGEN HELSINKI OSLO REYKJAVĺK STOCKHOLM
Jennifer Higgie Zoé Whitley Christian Viveros-Fauné Kenny Schachter Helle Brøns Andrea Alvarez Marie Lund William Pym Rebecca Geldard Victoria Duffee Anne Kielgast Vanessa Boni Francesca Astesani Julie Lænkholm Frederik Rørmann Nanna Friis Augusta Atla Ophelia Rolf Vivian Rycroft
Nanna Hjortenberg Commissioning Editor
David Risley Managing Editor
Jeppe Ugelvig Julie Moestrup CHART Team:
Gitte Skjødt Madsen Olivia Cerio Iben Bach Elmstrøm Frederik Rørmann Lea Pyndt Beiskjær Communication
Beate Bernhoft Lars Georg Enge Sæterøy Adam Pedersen Design and Art Direction
Laura Silke Printed by
Narayana Press, Denmark
Valeria Napoleone Gitte Ørskou Michael Thouber Alexis Mark Franz König CHART Board
Susanne Ottesen Bo Bjerggaard Jesper Elg Mikkel Grønnebæk Claus Andersen David Risley Kindly supported by
CHART is a Copenhagen-based Nordic art event presenting an art fair alongside a vast public programme to celebrate and explore contemporary artistic practices. CHART is a non-profit organisation founded in 2013 by Galleri Susanne Ottesen, Andersen’s, Galleri Bo Bjerggaard, David Risley Gallery and V1 Gallery. The publication is typed with Cormorant Garamon, Parabole og Helvetica Neue, on Arjowiggins — Pop Set, and Artic Paper — Arctic Volume Ivory. ISBN 978-87-972382-0-2
NANNA HJORTENBERG DIRECTOR OF CHART
A NEW REALITY 2020 has been the year of the unexpected, a year when the world radically changed. Adapting to a new reality is not only necessary—it is the only responsible thing to do. As we adapt, we collectively hold the potential to push for change and leave behind what we know is unfair, unproductive, or broken. Collectively, we can strive for a better-balanced future. The Power of Change
This year’s CHART is an extraordinary edition, doubly so due to the global pandemic we currently face. Realizing we couldn’t responsibly gather our international community in Copenhagen, and wanting to provide more than yet another online viewing roomtype of fair, we developed a new, de-centred model. Our 28 participating galleries are invited to make their CHART presentations in their own spaces, across the five Nordic capitals: Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo, Reykjavík, and Stockholm. Combining physical and digital activities, we reconnect internationally while encouraging audiences to engage with their local art scenes. We present an extensive live events programme across the Nordic capitals and foster new connections in dedicated online activities. This book is the corner-stone of those activities. A physical and lasting resource in the otherwise transient gatherings that constitute the international art circuit.
The Power of Community
It lies in the CHART-DNA to constantly question and develop new ways to deliver an international art fair. In planning this year’s edition, before the virus hit, we asked ourselves: how can we leverage our network to drive positive change in the art world? How can we harness the power of our community—museums and institutions, collectors, galleries, critics, artists, and the general public—to make a difference which no single entity, public or private, institutional or individual, can achieve alone? We engaged with the exhibiting galleries and decided to only exhibit women artists at this year's CHART. A radical statement, which addresses a structural challenge in the art market, and which requires a collective effort to be solved. Facing the Facts
As Jennifer Higgie states in her brilliant essay (p. 14): “The exclusion of women from art history and from the market is not a theory: it’s a fact”. The facts have been presented from many sides: the 2019 Art Basel and UBS Global Market Report shows the presentation of women artists in art fairs to be 24%, covering 27,000 artists presented at 82 international art fairs in 2018. The same report states that works by women artists at blue-chip galleries sell at 27% lower prices than their male colleagues. The 2019 joint survey by In Other Words and Artnet News shows that only 2% of the sales at auctions globally account for works made by women. In Danish museums, women artists account for 29% of the solo shows. Something had to happen. Could CHART become a site for change? Not only to secure a better-balanced art scene but to free ourselves of the legacy of an art history that, for many reasons, has privileged male artists. We wanted to create awareness of the blind spots that still—even in 2020—prevail. Change doesn’t come easy. We’ve had to fight to keep our public funding as local politicians actively criticized us. In order to realise our project we had to ask the Danish Minister of Culture for exemption from the Danish Law of Equality. All of this in Denmark, perceived internationally as a progressive country in terms of gender equality. Do we want to exclude male artists from the art scene? By no means. We just want to make sure that all artists, regardless of gender, are exhibited and bought based on the quality of their work. Are we re-polarizing a perception of gender that is currently being renegotiated? This is not our intention; our ambition is, rather, to promote a more diverse art scene—in all senses of the word. We have to start somewhere, and we start by addressing some of the most alarming facts.
“COLLECTIVELY, WE CAN STRIVE FOR A BETTERBALANCED FUTURE”
Our hopes and ambitions, including the book you are holding, can only be achieved as a collective. We couldn’t have done it without the willing engagement of our 28 exhibiting galleries. Without the dedication of the insightful and critical writers, and the many other contributors to this book. Mostly, we couldn’t achieve anything without the brilliant, talented artists, who we dedicate this book to. I hope CHART and this book can play a role in reshaping the art world to become a fairer, more nuanced reflection of the world we live in—however changing it may be. ◻
HOW WE DID IT There are two unique traits about this year’s special edition of CHART: the decision to exclusively showcase female artists and the concept of the ‘de-centred’ art fair. Both are necessary responses to the spread of two ills that are as invisible as they are serious—a microscopic virus and an unspoken and often unconscious deprivileging of women in the art world. I couldn’t write a better introduction to this than the opening of the text written by Helle Brøns for this publication. The virus disrupted CHART 2020 as a live event at Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen. We were looking forward to gathering to celebrate scores of brilliant works presented by women artists. Despite the challenges, we resolved to make the fair as physical as possible. We wanted to avoid being another online fair with online viewing rooms, so our director Nanna Hjortenberg quickly came up with two solutions. A de-centred fair, made up of gallery presentations across the five Nordic capital cities; plus a publication, which you are holding in your hands now. The aim of this publication is not to emulate an art fair catalogue. There are no blurbs from galleries. Instead, we have commissioned new writing from 21 voices from across the art world. The essays run the gamut: historical and contextual pieces set the stage; artists write about artists; curators and art historians provide critical texts; there are overviews of current trends; interviews with collectors and museum directors; diary extracts, and more. Importantly, we didn’t tell the writers what to write. We gave them free rein to write about the topics and artists they were already engaged with. We hope this publication can stand independently of the fair—it is a critical document of the current state of the art world as seen through the lens of the galleries presented at CHART and their represented artists. I would like to thank all of the contributors for their energy, enthusiasm, haste, and—most of all—for their thoughtful and powerful voices. Thanks for letting us hear them loud and clear. ◻
DAVID RISLEY COMMISSIONING EDITOR 10
Colophon Foreword — Nanna Hjortenberg Editor’s Letter — David Risley Contents Artists Overview Contributing Writers 14 The Real Story — Women Artists and the Art Market by Jennifer Higgie 24 The Last Art Fair? by Christian Viveros-Fauné
28 Elsa Gress and the De-centred by Helle Brøns
38 Let’s Boogie — Mamma Andersson Answers Questions from David Risley 42 Figuring it Out: the Human Concerns of Chantal Joffe, Sara-Vide Ericson and Anna Bjerger by Rebecca Geldard 50 Never Be Afraid to Sit Awhile and Think by Zoé Whitley 54 Conversation with Birke Gorm as noted by Marie Lund
60 Interview with Valeria Napoleone by Augusta Atla
Protest! by Julie Moestrup
80 The Drawing Enters the Paper by David Risley
82 Gitte Ørskou Interviewed by Kenny Schachter
86 Stealing Fire from the Gods by Francesca Astesani
92 Does Art History Make Books or Do Books Make Art History? by David Risley
4 5 8 9 10 11
94 Portraits by Essi Kuokkanen, Raucha Mäkilä & Camilla Vuorenmaa by Anne Kielgast
100 Some Thoughts on the Piniartoq (The Hunter) by David Risley 112 Immersive Landscapes by Andrea Alvarez
118 Plants as Recording Devices — an Interview with Hildur Bjarnadóttir by Julie Lænkholm 122 Carving Out a New Mythology by Frederik Rørmann
129 Lively Capital by Vanessa Boni 132 Reminding Myself to Fucking Open My E-e-eyes, Man by Ophelia Rolf 140 Pictures Can Get Results by William Pym
144 Thinking with the Lungs by Francesca Astesani
148 David Sylvester Interviews Mandy El-Sayegh by David Risley 158 The Body Beneath by Victoria Duffee 168 Notes on Film as Bronze by Vivian Rycroft
180 Dear Carmen, Dear Marie by Nanna Friis
192 Artists Biographies
ARTISTS OVERVIEW A K Dolven (NO) Anastasia Ax (SE) Andrea Büttner (DE) Ane Graff (NO) Anna Bjerger (SE) Anna Daniell (NO) Anna Fro Vodder (DK) Anne-Karin Furunes (NO) Anni Leppälä (FI) Apichaya Wanthiang (TH) Arna Óttarsdóttir (IS) Birke Gorm (DE) B. Ingrid Olson (US) Brigitte Waldach (DE) Camilla Vuorenmaa (FI) Candida Höfer (DE) Carmen Herrera (CU/US) Chantal Joffe (UK) Charlotte Brüel (DK) Chiharu Shiota (JP) Clare Woods (UK) Darja Bajagić (ME) Ditte Ejlerskov (DK) Dominique Gonzales-Foerster (FR) Eeva Karhu (FI) Elina Brotherus (FI) Elizabeth Peyton (US) Emma Helle (FI) Essi Kuokkanen (FI) Eva Schlegel (AT) EvaMarie Lindahl (SE) Frances Goodman (ZA) Frida Orupabo (NO) Guðný Rósa Ingimarsdóttir (IS) Hanna Hansdotter (SE) Hannah Toticki Anbert (DK) Harpa Árnadóttir (IS) Hildur Bjarnadóttir (IS)
Hulda Stefánsdóttir (IS) Janaina Tschäpe (DE) Johanna Karlsson (SE) Katharina Grosse (DE) Katharina Sieverding (CZ/DE) Kristiina Uusitalo (FI) Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen (DK) Lisa Jonasson (SE) Maija Luutonen (FI) Mamma Andersson (SE) Mandy El-Sayegh (UK) Margrét H. Blöndal (IS) Marie Lund (DK) Maria Rubinke (DK) Marie Søndergaard Lolk (DK) Mona Hatoum (PS) Nanna Abell (DK) Niina Vatanen (FI) Nina Beier (DK) Pernille With Madsen (DK) Rauha Mäkilä (FI) Rina Banerjee (IN/US) Roni Horn (US) Sandra Kantanen (FI) Sanna Kannisto (FI) Sara-Vide Ericson (SE) Sif Itona Westerberg (DK) Sigrid Sandström (SE) Siri Elfhag (SE) Steina (IS) Tacita Dean (UK) Teea Saanio (FI) Tiina Itkonen (FI) Trine Søndergaard (DK) Ulla Jokisalo (FI) Urara Tsuchiya (JP) Wangechi Mutu (KE) Ylva Carlgren (SE)
© Tom Loonan
is Curatorial Assistant at Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. Alvarez supports the curatorial department while also curating exhibitions and conducting permanent collection research. Her forthcoming exhibition on immigration from the Latinx perspective will open in Spring 2021. Alvarez is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History at VCUarts.
© Jens Peter Engedal
© Private © James Langdon
is an independent curator and art historian. With Kyla McDonald, she initiated a project dedicated to feminist exhibition-making and artist research (launching 2020). As Curator at Spike Island, Bristol she curated solo exhibitions with Nina Beier and Mai-Thu Perret and led the 2018 Freelands Award with Veronica Ryan. Prior to this, Boni held curatorial positions at Eastside Projects and Liverpool Biennial.
is an American artist and writer living in Oslo. Working through the prism of intersectionality and ecofeminism, she subverts the gendered hierarchies of art history by playing with the feminine attributes of textile, jewellery, handicrafts, and home decor. In 2016 she co-founded an art criticism magazine, Vi Ser På Kunst, together with Andreas Breivik. Nanna Friis
© Anna Hyttel
is a Danish visual artist and art critic and has been exhibiting extensively in Europe since 2006. Her work is featured both in Danish national museum collections and in major private collections. Having lived abroad for 13 years, Augusta is well tuned into the state of the current European art scene.
Helle Brøns is a Curator at Sorø Art Museum, Denmark. Her PhD thesis “Masculine Steadfastness — Gender, matter and popular culture in Asger Jorn’s art practice” dealt with the gender debate between artists Elsa Gress and Asger Jorn. Brøns is also planning a release about Gress and Jorn at Gallery Tom Christoffersen’s publishing house in 2020. Victoria Duffee
is an independent curator and writer based in Copenhagen. She is one of the directors and funders of curatorial agency South into North, which specialises in art commissions. She holds an MA in Philosophy from the University of Milan and one in Contemporary Art Theory from Goldsmiths College in London.
holds an MA in Art History from University of Copenhagen and Barnard College, New York. She is working on different things: an exhibition at SMK National Gallery of Denmark autumn 2020, small writing gigs on art and literature, translating Chris Kraus, a collaborative exhibition residency in Kyiv. In other words: trying to freelance like all the rest.
is a writer, editor and curator based in Powys, Wales. She has contributed regularly to a variety of press and art publications, while her essays and short fiction feature in many books and catalogues. She is Associate Director at Coleman Project Space in London, and has recently launched the online art platform appleandhat.com.
is a sculptor living and working in Copenhagen. Recent solo exhibitions include: The Thirst, Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen; Face to Back, Croy Nielsen, Vienna; Grip, joségarcía ,mx, Mexico City; Legumes, Holstebro Kunstmuseum; Scout, joségarcía ,mx, Merida; Flush, Badischer Kunstverein; Drums, Museo Marino Marini, Florence.
© Erika Wall
© Georgie Geldard
is frieze Editor-at-Large and the presenter of the Bow Down podcast. She is the editor of The Artist’s Joke and author of the novel Bedlam. Her new book The Mirror & The Palette, on historic women’s portraits, will be published in 2021. She is on the judging panel of the John Moore’s Painting Prize 2020.
is Chief Curator at Kunstforeningen GL STRAND in Copenhagen and has an MA in Art History. She has worked in different art museums and non-profit art institutions curating exhibitions on modern and contemporary art throughout the years. Solo exhibition include David Lynch, Kara Walker, Yang Fudong, Eija-Liisa Ahtila and Yinka Shonibare MBE.
© Petra Kleis
is an artist whose practice is centred around the idea of collective learning. Exploring techniques which have been passed down orally through generations, Lænkholm activates a predominantly female history which has been forgotten or ignored, bringing these narratives back into focus and placing them within a contemporary discourse. Lænkholm is educated at MFA Parsons, the New School for Design.
William Pym © Tommy Ton
is a Danish editor and journalist. From 19931995, she studied at the Danish Writers School (Forfatterskolen). Since then, she has been employed at the newspapers such as Politiken and Weekendavisen, as editor at magazines including Eurowoman and Cover, the television talk show Den 11. time at DR2 and Kulturen på News at TV2. She is currently working freelance.
is a writer, teacher and art gallery person. His first essay collection, That Way, was published by At Last Books, Copenhagen, in 2018. TRUE LIFE, an encyclopedic monograph about Alex Da Corte and Eminem conceived by Da Corte, Pym and Studio Claus Due, Copenhagen, will be published by Verlag der buchhandlung Franz und Walther König in September 2020.
© Olof Ringmar
is a Stockholm-based gallery girl and freelance writer. She studied Art History and History of Ideas at Stockholm University and is currently gallery manager at Gallery Steinsland Berliner.
Kenny Schachter © Leon Chew
is an artist. He ran David Risley Gallery, in London (2002-2010) and Copenhagen (2010-2018). He was founding Co-curator of Bloomberg Space, London (2002-2005), Co-founder of Zoo Art Fair, London (2004), and Co-founder and Co-owner of CHART. He continues to write, curate, and develop projects with artists. He is developing a sustainability project for public-facing institutions.
is a writer based in Copenhagen. They have written for the 58th Venice Biennale; the New Museum, New York; Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki; Kunsthaus Bregenz; Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York; and Tate Britain, among others. Their first erotic novel will be published in 2022.
© James Gifford-Meade
© Katinka Klinge
is a Danish art historian living in Copenhagen. He is currently finishing his studies at the University of Copenhagen. He has previously been project coordinator of Alt_Cph 2018 and was part of the curating team of +1 Artist Talks for two years. In 2018 he participated in The Curatorical Thing organised by SixtyEight Art Institute.
is an artist, curator, writer and professor. He has lectured internationally and contributed to books on Paul Thek, Zaha Hadid, Vito Acconci and Sigmar Polke/Gerhard Richter. Schachter is writing for international publications including Artnet.com, New York Magazine and The Times Magazine. Christian Viveros-Fauné
© Will Lytch
has worked as a gallerist, art fair director, art critic and curator since 1994. He presently serves as Curator-at-Large at the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum. His most recent book, Social Forms: A Short History of Political Art, was published by David Zwirner Books. Zoé Whitley
is Director of London’s Chisenhale Gallery, prior to which she was Senior Curator at the Hayward Gallery in London and Curator of International Art at Tate Modern. Exhibitions to her credit include curating the British Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019 and co-curating the acclaimed Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power at Tate Modern, London.
THE REAL STORY
WOMEN ARTISTS AND THE ART MARKET BY JENNIFER HIGGIE
Anyone who wanted could cite plentiful examples of exceptional women in the world today: it’s simply a matter of looking for them. — Christine de Pizan, The Book of the City of the Ladies, 1405 Images of women fill the galleries of the world: there are countless paintings and sculptures depicting them walking, talking, gazing, naked, clothed, eating, drinking, making love, and murdering. They’re mothers, maidens, crones, and temptresses; metaphors, allegories, symbols, saints, and sinners; passive, active, remote, and intimate. And yet, despite the fact that women have always made art, works by them are absent from the great galleries of the world. As the activist collective the Guerilla Girls asked in 1989: Do women have to be naked to get into the Met? It’s an obvious point to make, but worth making nonetheless: the art made by women—of which there are centuries of records— is as varied as that made by men. Gender is not a straightforward category, and neither is art. Look at what women have created over the past few centuries and the idea of a singular feminine sensibility is rendered redundant. (A case in point: the great Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi’s versions of Judith and Holofernes are more violent than Caravaggio’s—and he was a convicted murderer.) And yet, although things have improved, women are still discriminated against at every level of the art world. In September 2019, a joint investigation by In Other Words and Artnet News cited a remarkable fact: although the market for the work of women artists has doubled over the past decade, the combined sales generated by around 6,000 female artists added up to less than the total sales of work by Pablo Picasso during the same period.1 The authors of the article, Julia Halperin and Charlotte Burns, go on to examine, in forensic detail, the art world’s gender discrimination. Their conclusion—namely, that the market ‘overwhelmingly
finds greater value in work produced by men than that made by women’—should sadly come as no surprise. But the statistics do. Although I, for one, am all-too-aware of the failings of the art world, I hadn’t realized it was so extreme. Analysing data from international auctions, leading galleries, and Art Basel between 2008 and 2019, less than two percent of auction sales were attributed to the work of female artists. It gets worse: almost 41 percent of this number is distributed amongst five bestsellers: in descending order, Yayoi Kusama, Joan Mitchell, Louise Bourgeois, Georgia O’Keefe, and Agnes Martin. It’s worth spelling out that only one of these artists is still alive, and she’s 91. How to account for the lack of market interest in the work of women artists? Is it because buyers believe that a female sensibility makes for a poorer investment? Or do they simply believe that the work is innately inferior and less deserving of attention? Are collectors lazy, ignorant, or prejudiced? Are the galleries themselves, with their shoddy record of representing women, to blame, or curators, for not showcasing the work of women? Whatever the reasons, considering the extraordinary range, power, and skill of so many female artists, the fact that they’re not receiving their dues is at best baffling, and at worst, enraging. Consider this statement by Allan Schwartzman, an art advisor and chairman of Sotheby’s Fine Art Division, who believes that feminism changed the language of art. “Before the women’s movement,” he says, postwar American art “couldn’t be psychologically vulnerable, personal, diaristic, fragile, tender, self-revealing, small, colourful, eccentric, handmade. Since then, much of the most valued contemporary art is many of these things.” The historical precedent for these discrepancies is complex. Art is a reflection of the fact that each person’s experience of, and response to, this planet is unique. Yet, put bluntly, we live in a white patriarchy that has traditionally valued the achievements of white men over women or people of colour. (My focus here is gender: the entrenched racism of the art world, and its attitudes to class, deserves its own article.) Before feminist historians shook up complacent narratives,
Illustrations from Jennifer Higgie’s Instagram account @instagram.com/bowdownpodcast
1. J ulia Halperin and Charlotte Burns, “Female Artists Represent Just 2 Percent of the Market. Here’s Why—and How That Can Change” on Artnet.com, September 19 2019.
Illustrations from Jennifer Higgie’s Instagram account @instagram.com/bowdownpodcast
art historians rarely questioned whether forms of artmaking that bloomed beyond their narrow remit might be worthy of serious scrutiny or discussion. Take, for example, two of the most popular art history textbooks of the 20th century: E.H. Gombrich’s Story of Art (1961) and W.H. Janson’s History of Art (1962). When their first editions were published not a single woman is mentioned: their myriad achievements had, quite simply, been erased from what was assumed to be an accurate account of art history. Given that female artists have been written about, collected, and lauded for centuries, it’s a struggle to explain Gombrich and Janson’s sloppy scholarship. If their shocking omissions aren’t a sign of how threatened men, however unconsciously, have been—and in many cases continue to be —of women expressing something about the world and their place in it then what, exactly, was going on? Both Gombrich and Janson were, of course, historians: it was their responsibility to tell the truth— were they simply bad researchers? It’s hard to know, and of course, now they’re both dead, so we can’t ask them. Their scholarship, or lack of it, had terrible repercussions. One example: last year, I interviewed Frances Morris, the Director of Tate Modern, and asked her about her time studying for her degrees at Cambridge University and The Courtauld Institute in the 1970s and ’80s. Had she, I asked, been taught about the achievements of women artists? She shook her head. The only female artist she could recall learning about was Anni Albers, as she had been the first woman granted a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It goes without saying that degrees from Cambridge and the Courtauld are considered to be among the most prestigious in the world. But, as the 19th-century art historian and critic Vernon Lee wrote: “There is no end to the deceits of the past.” But then, she was a woman. She knew of what she spoke. The pre-20th-century woman who forged a career as an artist was formidable: her way was barred in countless ways—from apprenticeships, academies, life rooms, and guilds—but still, she persisted. She had little to no political agency and was expected to be a mother or a nun—yet, somehow, she managed to find the time and energy it takes to
become a professional artist. This was the depressing situation for centuries. (Important to stress that I’m speaking about women in Western countries. Female creativity has long been revered in countless Indigenous communities around the world.) There are records of women artists in 16th century Holland, and 17th-century northern Italy and England, 18th-century France, and 19th century Germany. The more you dig, the more is revealed. And yet, so many historians refused to acknowledge her, so many museums refused to collect her work, and so many collectors refused—and many still refuse—to financially support her. It’s baffling, considering how good so much of the work is. In the 20th and 21st centuries, while women in the West now, of course, have rights inscribed in law, their careers are often stalled by motherhood and childcare, and in most households, they still do the bulk of house-cleaning and domestic chores. ‘Best of’ lists and art prizes with age limits often discriminate against women artists who have taken time out to raise a family. Look at the careers of the most successful artists and a pattern emerges. In the UK, Phyllida Barlow and Rose Wylie only achieved a level of critical and commercial success in their 70s, when the demands of motherhood and earning a living had dropped away, while other women at the top of their game, such as Tomma Abts, Tracey Emin, Lubaina Himid, Sarah Lucas, Helen Marten, and Rebecca Warren, do not have children. This is surely not a coincidence. We are at a moment in history when women, in the West at least, have more power and equality than they have ever had before. More women than men are enrolled in art schools and the art world is somewhere you might assume would promote inclusivity and fairness. But going by the market, this is a woefully inaccurate assumption. If the art world has a get-out card—a lame one—it’s that it’s simply part of the world in general and perhaps (deep sigh) we need to be more patient for the world to treat everyone equally. But at this rate, our patience will be sorely tested — we’d have to be saints to put up with it. In ‘The Global Gender Gap Report 2018’ by the World Economic Forum, it was bluntly stated that, at the current rate of progress, it will take at least 108 years to achieve gender parity.2 The exclusion of women from art history and the market is not a theory: it’s a fact. There is no ambiguity in a survey of the permanent collections of 18 major art museums in the U.S.: out of more than 10,000 artists, 87% are male, and 85% are white.3 (For more eye-
2. W orld Economic Forum (ed.) “The Global Gender Gap Report 2018,” 17 December 2018 3. T opaz CM, Klingenberg B, Turek D, Heggeseth B, Harris PE, Blackwood JC, et al. (2019) “Diversity of artists in major U.S. museums” in PLoS ONE 14(3)
“THE EXCLUSION OF WOMEN FROM ART HISTORY AND THE MARKET IS NOT A THEORY: IT’S A FACT”
4. “ Get the Facts” on National Museum of Women in the Arts 5. D r. Kate McMillan, “Representation of Female Artists in Britain During 2018” 6. E ditorial, “The Guardian view on Artemisia Gentileschi on tour: the people’s painting” in The Guardian, 2 June 2019
watering statistics, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington has them in one handy list.)4 Despite the explosion of female creativity in the 20th century, even now, there are blue-chip galleries that at best, only represent a handful of women and at worst, exclusively represent artists who are white men. In Dr. Kate McMillan’s 2018 Freeland’s Foundation Report on the representation of women in the cultural sector in the UK, she declares that 32 percent of the artists represented by commercial galleries in London are women—which is a four percent increase from 2017. It’s perhaps curious, though, that if a gallery is run by a woman—as 48% of the London galleries are—it doesn’t seem to make much difference to the numbers. Across the board, the rule of thumb is 65% men, to 35% women. Out of 120 galleries, only 25 show 50% or more women artists, and some of the worst-performing galleries for gender balance are run by women.5 In the Artnet article I mentioned earlier, the Los Angeles gallerist Susanne Vielmetter, who founded her business in the early 2000s, makes it clear how bad things have been. Talking about the early days of her business, she says: “You couldn’t tell a collector that you counted the number of female artists in museum shows or your gallery program. People would think you either had some kind of early childhood trauma—that there was something psychologically damaged about you—or that you were so hopelessly stuck in the 1990s identitypolitics era that you simply couldn’t be helped. At least we are having the conversation now.” Things are improving in the museum sector, many of which are prioritising acquisitions by historic female artists. A good example: in 2018, with great fanfare, the National Gallery in London bought the brilliant Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi’s Self- Portrait as Catherine of Alexandria (c.1615). It’s the first 17th-century Italian selfportrait by a woman in the gallery’s collection of around 2,300 works—of which only 24 are by women. In 2019, the gallery sent Artemisia’s self-portrait on a national tour to a series of unconventional venues: The Glasgow Women’s Library, a doctor’s surgery in East Yorkshire; a catholic girl’s school in Newcastle upon Tyne; a women’s prison, and a library in East London. In each venue, discussions, and workshops were held. The Guardian newspaper even dedicated an editorial to this radical re-thinking of the relevance of Baroque painting, concluding with the line: “Artemisia Gentileschi, nearly four centuries after her death, may have changed lives these past weeks.”6 Across the river, the curatorial team at Tate Modern, which is
headed by Frances Morris, has actively been working towards gender parity. When the new wing of the museum opened in 2016, it was the first time in any museum in the world that 50% of the work on show was by women artists. Another brilliant initiative is taking place later this year in Australia. The National Gallery in Canberra has launched Know My Name, a series of exhibitions, events, commissions, collaborations, publications, and partnerships that, in the gallery’s words “calls for equal power, equal respect, equal opportunity, and equal representation for women artists.” They “acknowledge that only 25% of works in the Australian art collection are by women artists and we want that to change. It is time we valued women artists equally. We believe it is the role of the National Gallery to elevate the women who have been instrumental in shaping and inspiring Australian culture for more than 60,000 years.”7 While these initiatives are to be applauded, more needs to happen. So, what to do? Are quotas the answer? I think, in terms of public commissions and museum acquisitions, absolutely. But it would be impossible to insist that an equal number of work by women and men are sold at auction: this has to happen organically, through education and advocacy. It’s clear that commercial galleries have a vital role to play in the recognition and promotion of female creativity. They also need to convince collectors that, quite apart from the ethics of being anti-discriminatory, it makes commercial sense to invest in the work of so many ground-breaking and undervalued women, as they represent an overlooked section of a market that is finally getting some attention. The endpoint of all of this is simple: if women’s creativity isn’t championed, it disappears. If women artists can’t survive financially, then they’re forced to make money elsewhere, which means they have no time to make their art. If the story of art is to be one that actually tells the story of what really happened, then museums have to acquire work by historic women artists. Museums and collectors buy from galleries; they can’t enrich their collections if the work quite simply isn’t for sale. To promote the work of women simply means promoting the idea that art is a true reflection of the world, in all of its messy complexity. Who could possibly argue with that? ◻ 7. N ational Gallery of Australia (ed.), “Know My Name”
Anna Fro Vodder, Super Fluous Field, 2018, textile, wood, paint, 172 x 125 x 7 cm. Photo by Anders Sune Berg. Courtesy the artist and Andersenâ€™s
Clare Woods False Alarm, 2020, oil on aluminium, 150 x 100 cm. The Whisper, 2020, oil on aluminium, 150 x 100 cm. Photo by Clare Woods. Courtesy the artist and Martin AsbĂŚk Gallery
BY CHRISTIAN VIVEROS-FAUNÉ
COMMERCIAL FORMS, OR HOW THE CONTEMPORARY ART FAIR WENT OFF THE RAILS BUT COULD (POSSIBLY) BE FIXED
THE LAST ART FAIR? I n the midst of every crisis lies a great opportunity. — Albert Einstein “There are decades where it feels like nothing happens,” a phrase attributed to Lenin goes; “then there are months when decades happen.” As we stack up a planetary health emergency, mass unemployment, global economic insecurity, and political instability against the need to continue to make, view, promote, talk, write about, and trade art, several urgent questions need answering. Here’s one for art professionals: Do we still need art fairs? In the age of the coronavirus pandemic—which has put the proverbial match to a global
tinderbox of economic and racial disparities and resulted in worldwide social unrest—it bears asking if art fairs, the art industry’s preferred sales platform, have finally outlasted their usefulness. A Brief History of Art Fairs
Art fairs are, of course, nothing new. Despite the effort put into dressing up most of the globe’s almost 300 annual art trade gatherings in up-to-date garb, their history stretches back to the late nineteenth century. The first art fair can be said to have been the Paris Salon des Refusés of 1863. A show featuring the work of contemporary artists who had been rejected by the official French Academy—
the organizers rejected artworks which did not hew to the orthodoxies of Academic art—the first Salon des Refusés is rightly remembered as a revolutionary gathering. It bears noting today that this legendary event was, first and foremost, a response to a cultural and economic crisis. Not only was the public clamoring for a showcase for more radical art in late nineteenth-century France, the ensuing exhibition was also about putting muchneeded francs into the pockets of the avant-garde. The International Exhibition of Modern Art, aka the 1913 Armory Show, was a similarly historic event. Held in New York, the exhibition featured loads of American artists but is best remembered for introducing Europeans Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Marcel Duchamp, among others, to the U.S. Despite Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2) (1912) being ridiculed by one outraged critic as an “explosion in a shingle factory,” the exhibition proved a watershed. It occasioned a tectonic shift in taste and helped create the modern art market. The press reviled the experimental objects on view, but the crowds and collectors took notice. Among its storied modern-day legacy: Matisse’s Blue Nude (1907) currently hangs at the Baltimore Museum of Art, and his The Red Studio (1911) at the Museum of Modern
Art. Duchamp’s controversial Nude, for its part, is now enjoyed by millions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. More than fifty years and two world wars later, a third important art showcase took place in postwar Germany. Like the 1863 Salon des Refusés and the 1913 Armory Show, Art Cologne was also born of a radical exhibition experiment. Founded in 1967 by dealers Rudolf Zwirner (father of current megadealer David Zwirner) and Hein Stünke, the Kölner Kunstmarkt, as Art Cologne was initially known, was the first fair organized by and for commercial galleries. Like its artist-led predecessors, it was also developed in response to an artistic and commercial crisis. In the late 1960s, the market for “radikal kunst” had grown stagnant in Europe, especially in West Germany. Inspired by documenta 2, the founders of what is now considered the first modern art fair formulated a brazenly commercial model to attract new clients. They sought to devise an exhibition format that would substantially demystify art objects and art purchases. By doing so, the logic went, they would convert potential buyers put off by the snobbery of traditional galleries into new collectors that would snap up cool contemporary artworks the way millions did convertibles, washing machines, and hi-fi sets.
The gamble paid off. In Rudolf Zwirner’s words: “The word fair alone brought art closer to the vegetable market than to the museum.” Arranged as a series of booths or mini-stores inside a larger architectural structure, the first Art Cologne presented its wares with its prices displayed publicly, an unthinkable idea just a few years earlier. According to
art fair gold—they had invented the trade fair equivalent of endless multi-gallery exhibitions of Campbell’s Soup Can paintings. The Reckoning
Fast-forward fifty-three years. In that time, contemporary art has gone from tough sell to hotand-in-demand, with astronomical prices to match. Where art
“HERE’S ONE FOR ART PROFESSIONALS: DO WE STILL NEED ART FAIRS?” art historian Günter Herzog, the fair’s simple but effective innovations allowed 15,000 visitors to comprehend that they could “buy things that could until then only be seen at exhibitions and in museums.” This realization, in turn, brought art and commerce closer in line with larger shifts inaugurated by postwar consumer societies. If, per Andy Warhol’s famous dictum, the best kind of art was business art, then Zwirner and Stünke had struck
was once innocently commercialized, its current level of monetization has essentially body snatched much of its symbolic value. Until recently the world’s top art fairs—Art Basel, Art Basel Miami, Art Basel Hong Kong, Frieze London, Frieze New York, Art Dubai—were the unabashed stomping grounds of the global 1%. According to economist Benjamin Mandel, the world’s biggest art fairs currently cater to an art market that constitutes a par-
allel economy. Mandel, who once worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, argues that most art fairs today are geared to a planetary overclass: a subset of global Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (U.H.N.W.I.s) for whom art serves as both ultimate positional trophy and asset class. These individuals have, in turn, remade contemporary art in their image: art as an investment vehicle, with fundamentally conservative and instrumentalized aesthetics thrown in. In a 2012 New York Times article titled How the Art Market Thrives on Inequality, business journalist Adam Davidson put the issue of the evolving financialization of art in a nutshell. “The art market,” he declared, “is a proxy for the fate of the superrich themselves… Investors who believe that incomes and wealth will return to a more equitable state should ignore art and put their money into investments that grow alongside the overall economy, like telecoms and steel. For those who believe that the very, very rich will continue to grow at a pace that outstrips the rest of us, it seems like there’s no better investment than art.” But what about those, like Rudolf Zwirner, who no longer believe in art as an investment? Besides bemoaning the rampant monetization of art and the fact that it has become impossible to look at certain art without seeing dollar signs first, the veteran Zwirner has an unequivocal message for galleries around the world. “Art fairs are extremely dangerous and expensive,” he has said, “I invented the art fair but now I
have to tell galleries: Find another way. Find something to do in your gallery.” The (Possible) Fix:
The future of art fairs, and visual art in general, depends on how the fair exhibition model responds to the challenges of income inequality, political instability, and state violence, all of which have been exacerbated by the current global health crisis. As the world changes, art must change with it. That means art fairs, too. The sooner art fairs devise a display and business model based on a set of values inimical to the ongoing financialization of art—which turns cultural objects into an asset class and epitomizes the most basic of the globe’s fundamental inequities—the sooner it is able to credibly address the myriad crises assailing its own trade. The future of the art fair is de-centred, socially responsible, sustainable, and based on solidarity. Or it has no future at all. ◻
ELSA GRESS AND THE DE-CENTRED A HISTORIC SIDE GLANCE
BY HELLE BRØNS There are two unique traits about this year’s special edition of CHART: the decision to exclusively showcase female artists, and the concept of the “de-centred” art fair. Both are necessary responses to the spread of two ills that are as invisible as they are serious: a microscopic virus and an unspoken and often unconscious deprivileging of women in the art world. Either can lead to thinking about the Danish author, critic, playwright, translator, and debater, Elsa Gress (1919-88). In 1959, Elsa Gress founded an artist residency by the very name “Decenter”. She transformed her home to a remote, but international and experimental cultural centre—first in the village of Glumsø and later by Marienborg Castle on the island of Møn, in the Danish countryside—where artists from around the world would meet, work, exhibit, and stage plays. Like CHART’s use of the word, de-centre referred to the use of the word in a geographic sense, but it was at the same time a manifestation of the “professional outsider position” that Gress felt forced into as a woman—but one that she embraced as a critical strategy in her work. Her gender stood in the way of her career as an author and directly factored into both positive and negative descriptions of her as a “soft valkyrie” (Kjeld Rask Therkildsen, filmmaker and author), an “un-womanly element in the cultural debate”
1. K arin Sanders, “En professionel outsider” in The History of Nordic Women’s Literature, 2011.
(Mogens Glistrup, politician) and “Denmark’s only angry young man” (Klaus Rifbjerg, one of Denmark’s most popular authors). Her texts were either praised as being “as solid and insightful as those of a man,” or she was deemed “piercingly evil in a manner that only an intelligent woman could be.”1 Even if Gress was publicly visible as one of the sharpest cultural critics in the country, her recognition only came when she, in 1975, was accepted by the Danish Academy, the first woman to be so in 15 years. She refused to live up to the standards for female behaviour, appearance, and family of the time and lived in an open marriage with bisexual, American painter Clifford Wright. Gress struggled against decentralization prohibiting her from being heard, but she simultaneously underlined the marginal position as necessary for both artistic clarity and for developing a critical position at the periphery of the systems in question. In 1964, Elsa Gress published the book Det uopdagede køn (The Undiscovered Sex), where she, amongst other things, summarized a lively newspaper debate she had had with Danish artist Asger Jorn about the relation between art and gender. Though Jorn theorized cleverly and tried to rethink the gendered values in art, he also exemplified the belittled male victim role and thought that society as well as art were threatened by a growing female empire, which made “masculine” virtues such as aggression, strength, risk-taking, and innovation redundant. Gress argued against Jorn’s masculinist views and the general patriarchal structuring of society and art. But she also criticized feminism, which she found often ended up merely flipping things on its head. In the book, she warns against replacing the governing mono-gendered culture (where man is the center and woman is decentered) with a female-centric culture, arguing instead for a humanistic two-gendered culture. As the title suggests, she was inspired by Simone de Beauvoir’s The Other Sex, but Gress’ point was that both sexes are prohibited by the traditional gender roles and that it’s necessary to free and humanize both sexes. Furthermore, she felt that Beauvoir treated all women as a unified group, whereas Gress wished to focus on the individual woman and the personal angle. Gress believed
Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen, Afghan Hound, 2011, photography, framed, 60 x 40 cm. Courtesy the artist and Andersenâ€™s
Carmen Herrera, The Way, 2017, original lithograph, printed on 300g Velin dâ€™Arches paper, 100 x 53,5 cm. 20 ex. numbered and signed by the artist. Photo by Lars Gundersen. Courtesy the artist and Edition Copenhagen
2. E lsa Gress, Ditto Datter, 1967.
that art is one of the things that could reward the individual woman status as a human subject. Although Gress defended both women and gay rights, she also strongly criticized any gender-political radicalism from both sides, and would in her later years write a caricatured, dystopian play about a female-centric mono-gendered sad world in which the “two-gender age” had been made extinct.2 There is no doubt that Gress would have disapproved of an initiative such as CHART’s decision to exclusively showcase women in 2020. It would, for her, have been precisely the inversion of the gender roles she so strongly warned us against. So why would I bring her up? Partially because the art world shows us exactly how far we are from an equal gender division, and how little society resembles her feminist nightmare, which was set in the year 2017—the majority of female artists in an art fair is most certainly the exception that proves the rule. It is still the same old arguments that are pulled into the gender debate, which you could see when CHART announced its strategy, and a choir of upset voices ensued—voices, echoing Asger Jorn, who felt threatened on behalf of the male artists. But I also bring her up because I find Gress’ thoughts on taking advantage of the position of decentralization as highly relevant, just as her point about focusing on individual women and their difference can take place within this diversity of expressions by female artists. With Elsa Gress’ voice in our head, we can argue that while the art fair has been geographically de-centred, some of the artists, who perhaps previously were placed in the periphery of such fairs, have now been placed in the centre. An artist such as the Cuban-American Carmen Herrara was for several decades art-historically sidelined. De-centring was not caused by her geometrically hard edge, non-objective style—a style that brought likeminded artists from her own circles, such as Elsworth Kelly, Mark Rothko, and Barnett Newman to art history’s center—but by the dominant attitudes towards women in art, and Cubans in America. And indeed, several of the artists gravitate towards the de-centred in their work. With her Danish-Filipino background, an artist such as Lillibeth Cuenca Rasmussen has worked with the outsider position in a way that touches both upon cultural and gendered marginality. She seeks, in her own words, a balance in the gendered expression: “My character is dual and contains male and female values. Feminism is simply a fair play, that concerns both gender. It isn’t
Elina Brotherus, Plage de Sebald 3 (diptych), 2019, pigment print. Photo by Elina Brotherus. Courtesy the artist and Martin AsbĂŚk Gallery
about competition, excluding or battling, but something that has advantages for both sexes.”3 In her photographic works, Finnish artist Elina Brotherus has worked with identity and a type of decentring. For long periods her work has been autobiographical, and several of them depict the artist placed in various alienating interiors and empty landscapes. In an early series from a recidency in Paris, yellow post-it notes are placed on all interior objects with their name in French, as she was trying to learn the language. Even if Brotherus is at the centre of all the images, her figure is clearly de-centred in relation to her context: placed either in the barren landscapes of Scandinavia or in a city where she doesn’t know the language, almost always appearing alone. Finally, we could mention the New York-based Roni Horn, who in long periods has de-centred herself in Iceland, and who has made it a point in her work to not place herself in one gender or the other. The concept of in-betweenness runs throughout her sculptural and photographic practice, where doublings and displacement in her self-portraits are powerful tools to destabilize the expectation of a clear gender position. For years, Horn’s work has insisted on a reinterpretation of centre-periphery and binary structures. De-centring in relation to art, gender, and geography are—like Gress suggested—weaved entities in need of reworking and restructuring. ◻
3. “ Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen” on The Brooklyn Museum, via brooklynmuseum.org
Roni Horn, Key and Cue, No. 748, 1994/2003, aluminium and black plastic, 169 x 5 x 5 cm. Edition of 3 + 1 AP. Courtesy of the artist and i8 Gallery
Mamma Andersson, Holiday, 2020, oil and acrylic on canvas, 200 x 140 cm. Photo by Per-Erik Adamsson. Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner, Stephen Friedman Gallery and Galleri Magnus Karlsson.
MAMMA ANDERSSON ANSWERS QUESTIONS FROM DAVID RISLEY
Let’s Boogie DS: Some painters are great image makers but terrible painters. This is probably an unpopular opinion, but I see David Hockney like this. His show at Tate was so disappointing. The paintings reproduce better than they look in real life. The surface is dead, barren. You do both: you make strong, graphic images and keep the surface dynamic, active, engaging. How much do you think about this balance? Does the image ever get sacrificed to the paint? Or vice versa?
MA: The older I get, the more interested I seem to get in the surface itself. But I’ve probably always been. Over the past few years, I have increasingly switched to painting on stretched canvas and changed the brush to a kind of chalk. I want to move away from realism and try to find my own reality. Painting has a long and complicated history. Visions have changed over time, as have style and ideals. If you see it scratched, then painting is mere pigment on a flat surface. This ceases all general rules: the air is free, and you can do what you want or can do. I perceive painting a bit like magic. For my part, I have always thought that the painterly technology itself—the material executions—is at least 50% of the work. The rest is something else. From the beginning of a work, I have a clear idea, although it almost always changes as I work. Sometimes more, sometimes less … Especially if I work on a painting for a long time—then it can completely change shape.
DR: What does subject matter, or the content of a painting, have to do with the painting’s meaning? Are they connected?
MA: A good idea can do just as well as an image that is only based on colour and material, but then it really requires magic. The finest thing is if the idea and the execution follow each other. For many years, I have found research material in magazines, books, film stills, various archives such as theatre scenographies, and crime scenes. I have been addicted to finding images that give a certain mood which I then subsequently steer in different directions. So, in a way, it is still there, but a bit hazy and weird/skewed. The goal is to convey a feeling that points in a certain direction. It can be difficult to communicate through a single painting, but several paintings together can sometimes define this intention very well. As a result, I usually work in whole exhibitions. I’m looking for a story without a beginning and end.
DR: How do images / ideas translate across media from drawing to painting to printmaking? I associate your paintings as creating worlds within worlds, kind of portals to other dimensions. The prints you have made recently with Edition Copenhagen, (Munk, Serval) and BORCH Gallery and Editions (Hålrum, Cupido, Det förlorade paradiset) tend to focus on singular objects. Is this coincidental, a matter of timing, or a choice based on the medium?
MA: The big difference in working with painting versus in a graphic workshop is that in a studio I am always alone—in a workshop there are many others. That is not to say that one is better, it is just different conditions. In the graphic workshop you are usually restricted on time, and the technology also limits me. That makes the images soloists, not an ensemble. For example, at Edition Copenhagen, you work mostly with stone. Lithography is a peculiar technique where you always have to be many steps ahead: you print the entire edition colour by colour, if you undo a colour choice you made early in the process, it is not possible to reverse. On the other hand, I really love this knifeon-the-throat method, quick pucks. At BORCH Gallery & Editions, the slowness is evident and the process is open to change at all times. There, I work with woodcuts that involve carving in a wooden block at various depths, or alternatively, carving in a copper plates that are later placed in acid baths. This is a very simplified description. There is automatically a certain difference in expressions when you change techniques, whether you like it or not. ◻
“I PERCEIVE PAINTING A BIT LIKE MAGIC”
Sara-Vide Ericson, Consequence (Ghost), 2020, oil on canvas, 120 x 180 cm. Courtesy the artist and V1 Gallery
Figuring it Out: the Human Concerns of Chantal Joffe, Sara-Vide Ericson and Anna Bjerger BY REBECCA GELDARD
A woman in a chair appears to find new form under the weight of the brushstrokes that define her presence in a room of intense proportions; another exists on the canvas as a result of a few paint-loaded streaks, accurate enough to convey so much more about her than the action she is engaged in; a third, her head physically squashed between the layers of soft furnishings, might be described as having found some temporary ‘space’ outside of the worldly pressures she is subjected to, or need to convey as the lead actor in an image. When I look at paintings of people, I want to see how they have revealed (been encouraged to reveal) something of themselves during the process, and negotiated the act of being a living object under scrutiny. Or alternatively, how it feels to be thrown into the moment of capture without warning, where individuals or groups of people are presented remotely, lost in a range of states, whether in thought or in action; how we can never see ourselves but frequently experience being the remote observers of others. Then again, if the source material of the painted subject is second-hand, explore how we can discover something about the artist rifling through the layers, connecting the modes of reproduction in play—between the image as existing artefact and its re-delivery on canvas. And finally, how they have sought their own way of engaging with the history of the human subject as recorded through time-based media. The group of three female artists under inspection here is remarkable for the ways its members deal with these issues in the day-to-day practice of painting. Moving amongst images of their works, one is afforded multiple viewpoints of the human subject, as a historical trope and as the focus of real-life encounters. Over and over, we are seduced, called into the associative margins between very different approaches to representation: whether considering the variants of each practice or their output as a collective. In the gallery round, or via the digital swipe, we might in a single experience negotiate the variable entanglements of the sole sitter in the line of the artist’s gaze; the figure as the bit-part representative in a scene; or having been abstracted into a living-motif designed to embody a wealth of potential external concerns.
Chantal Joffe paints from life and other sources. The protagonists of her canvases are depicted in all manner of human states and referential nets. The bold central positioning of each subject, and their often slightly askance circumspection of us as viewers, is essential to our engagement with them. They occupy each canvas, either as willingly vulnerable subjects caught in the pinch of being seen, or as perfectly imperfect characters released from the time-based narratives in which they were originally frozen. Through Joffe’s framing, they all become individuals with a curious story to tell, depicted with deft fluidity in paint as a set of human ‘tells’, possibly unwittingly revealed for public observation. A contemporary disciple of the great Alice Neel, Joffe invites us into the most direct of human encounters—the portrait—with characteristically louche, but ultimately controlled abandon. Big, fat brushstrokes of carefully choreographed tones describing the planes of faces, the folds of apparel, and limited site-specific clues, appear to approximate a sense of the subject being observed from a casual personal distance, yet have clearly been developed into an intimate short-hand that will provide points of entry into what is always a psychologically complex image. Given the seated or prone formality of the poses, some could be subjects in therapy, and our response to their presence—whether one of connection or distance—inevitably reveals much about us as viewers. Sara-Vide Ericson channels everyday profundity with the intensity of a method actor or a musician in pursuit of a concise lyrical form. Her diaristic paintings describe the experiential strata of a figurative world that simultaneously support existential angst as the existence of accidental malapropisms. Sometimes they depict people in context, but often they appear to present crowded environments, where the figure is treated as just another facet of the scenography. Certain new works feature the artist herself. Clad in shirts and functional trews, draped or wrapped in fabrics, Ericson appears as an intrepid cowgirl-adventurer in the rural Swedish landscape, engaged in a range of essential—if oddly mystical—tasks and moments of reflection. In a recent video interview, Ericson states: “I live all my paintings before I make them.” A key—if not necessarily literal—fact when considering what it is about her particular faithfulness to representation that eludes obvious categorisation. Her works may offer representational tactics that we recognise, but they also appear like visual records, histology slides, of the making process itself.
Chantal Joffe, Esme Looking Down, 2018, original lithograph, printed on 300g Velin dâ€™Arches paper, 50 x 35 cm. 20 ex. numbered and signed by the artist. Photo by Lars Gundersen. Courtesy the artist and Edition Copenhagen
Sara-Vide Ericson, studio view, 2020. Courtesy the artist and V1 Gallery
Anna Bjerger, Ocean, 2020, oil on aluminium, 128 x 90 cm. Photo by James Aldridge. Courtesy of the artist and Galleri Magnus Karlsson.
The staging of each composition and the sculptural qualities of the details—living spaghetti-strands of hair, origami-like creases in leaves and sheets, weighty shadows that threaten to consume the subject— describe the shifts between her sources with direct experience and reproduction. As a result, we are able to move at will, around the performative actions at the heart of the work, the artist’s renegotiation of this experience as studio evidence and the physical act of translating it into paint. Both persuasively staged and incidental situations inform Anna Bjerger’s investigation of the figure in context. Working from found imagery, she constructs seemingly simple narratives that play with the seductive nature and highly effective methods of the editorial campaign and the public presentation of personal information. In the journey from image to painting, Bjerger imbues her starkly cropped or wandering strangers with the power to connect us with possibilities missing from both: sensory territories, the economic imperative to garner consumers, or the amateur need to catalogue events. Images, like objects, she reminds us, are ripe for our collective projection and her painterly manipulation of it. As the custodian and moderator of second-hand visual strategies, Bjerger is able to re-acquaint us with the more mysterious aspects of our individual susceptibility to certain imagery. With the gradated blear of an expertly brushed tonal layer, for example, or by zooming in on a pictorial component, Bjerger is able to create harbingers from a rolling cast and extract moments of potential magnitude from banal imagery. Liquid legs in tights, atomised swarms of insects over the heads of children in summer, and sinewy skiers in endless performative repeat materialise in or out of the design-savvy or nostalgic set-ups they belong to. Through her minimal treatment of ready-made images, Bjerger alerts us to the stylistics of image-making, the codified messages within them, and their influence on the encounter. But, most importantly, she uncovers the uncanny sense of time collapse that can occur through the processes of looking and relating; between ordinary life unremarkable as it was, and the change that can come with a shift of perspective. All these approaches to the figure convey a sense of both physical and mental movement and the visceral nature and hidden minutiae of everyday gestures in a given scenario. This might be as a result of the intense process of first-hand studio observation and the subsequent distortion of the subject this intense activity can lead to. Or, through the re-articulation of an image, as it might be collectively perceived. And, of course, the culturally-specific idiosyncrasies a lived moment made-static can reveal: the material facets and colourways associated with modes of recording life, through time, which inform the shape of our memories. ◻
“NEVER BE AFRAID TO SIT AWHILE AND THINK” * A CONVERSATION BETWEEN ZOÉ WHITLEY AND FRIDA ORUPABO
ZW: Utterly Improbable, Yet Extraordinary. This not only describes our present moment but figures as the partial title of Arthur Jafa’s 2017 exhibition A Series of Utterly Improbable, Yet Extraordinary Renditions at Serpentine Gallery in London, where I first saw your work. First of all, how are you feeling? Are there any works of art (be they songs, texts, poems, or films) you’re willing to share that have gotten you through this profoundly destabilising time?
FO: I’m not sure how I feel... I guess it’s a mix of complete tiredness, helplessness, sadness, and anger—a whole lot of anger. It has been some intense weeks... Witnessing black people getting murdered, brutalized, harassed... Again and again, with no consequences... It just shows us what we already know—that within a white, racist system, black lives don’t matter. My medicine varies but I have re-read and listened to Grada Kilomba’s teachings. In my eyes, she is brilliant—she makes complex matters simple and clear. She gives guidance. Ayi Kwei
quote by writer and * Aplaywright Lorraine
Armah’s words on awakening are profound and something I carry with me always. He talks about the importance of sleep after an accident—that if you are totally conscious when the accident happens, you will not survive. Sleep is therefore needed. But at one point we must awaken again—regain knowledge of ourselves and begin a healing process. Marcel Camus’ 1959 film Black Orpheus brings happiness. I’ve seen it so many times I’ve lost count. It should be seen to sunshine, in bed, though it also happens that I just have it playing in the background while doing other things. It never fails to bring joy… relief. ZW: You work in fragmented black and white images, which you painstakingly reassemble into new wholes, be it digital or paper. The latter often have joints of attaches parisiennes. (Is there a Norwegian word for those fixtures? The English words (file spike/pronged paper fastener) always seem clumsy and lacking to me). I wondered whether you distinguish between the physical manifestation of your work and its digital form?
FO: I usually call them pins, though I am not sure if this is accurate either. Concerning the digital and physical works, I do distinguish between them; probably more now than I did in the beginning. The first physical collage I made was for Arthur’s solo exhibition at Serpentine. Until then I had looked at the digital collages as done — finito. Now, I view them more as sketches. With their physicality, they come alive, and they become more challenging and confronting to the spectator because of the size and the feeling of three-dimensionality. Working with physical material also allows for more improvisation. I often have to switch out body parts (heads, arms, legs) because of low resolution, and I might take things out and/or add on as I move along.
Frida Orupabo, Untitled, 2019 (left), collage with paper pins mounted on aluminium, 155 x 133 cm. Photo by Carl Henrik Tillberg. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Nordenhake
ZW: Many artists I know are unable to work in the present circumstances and are not producing new work. Are you processing material differently at the present moment? Are you still turning ideas into images or working in other ways?
FO: Creating has at times gotten more intense, while other days it has been nonexisting. As much as I can, I try not to force things. I have been resting a lot more than usual, moving at a slow speed. Not everyone can afford or is able to rest or take some days off. I am very lucky to be able to do so. Both rest and creativity/work help me to process and restore all the things I take in daily. It’s a way of communicating, whenever I feel the need to. It helps me to organise thoughts—things seen and experienced. Also, simply the act of cutting in paper, adding, subtracting, and putting together feels meditative and calming.
ZW: I’m interested in the contemporary art platform Looking Glass Collective as an outlet for collating individual African-European artists’ experiences and aesthetics. How did you become involved? How do you work together?
FO: Looking Glass Collective invited me to do an interview in 2017, and this has been my only involvement with the platform. But I think they do great and important work in highlighting and creating a visual space for African-European artists.
ZW: Your work, for me, is ultimately a reminder of the defiant beauty, “power,” and resilience to be found in Black Life, irrespective of the violent circumstances we face.
FO: I am happy you feel that way. In the last couple of years, I have been thinking a great deal about Kathleen Collins' words in relation to my own work, which stresses the importance of not constructing narratives and identities based on dichotomies—good/ bad, saint/sinner. As she says, “neither one has anything to do with reality. Both are traps to dehumanise you.” We know this. All we have to do is to look into ourselves and our own lives, filled with paradoxes and complexities. I believe this is a prerequisite for change. ◻
Birke Gorm, common crazy V, 2020, burlap, canvas, tie linings, yarn, grommets, 160 Ă— 164 cm. Photo by Kunst-dokumentation.com. Courtesy the artist and Croy Nielsen
Conversation with Birke Gorm as Noted by Marie Lund
Material gathered over time The time spent Attention given As small actions of care Not as something spectacular But as repeated activity Gathering the metal scraps On my way to the studio Daily Continues Repetitive As weaving As carving As a commitment to the material A conversation between the material and me A negotiation between what I want and what it wants Trying not to be forceful But to look at the possibilities of how to handle the material How to mould it in new ways As new kinds of observations and actions Modes of gathering, collecting, and sharing Formally and as narratives As containers and what is contained (â€Ś)
About the Common Crazies The Common Woman The crazy quilting A quilting technique Not based on a strict geometrical patterns Made from scraps Leftover material from garment constructed for the family Functional agricultural textiles With ornamental stitches that would take a lifetime to do And then Judy Grahn’s Common Woman Poems Depicting the common woman As simple objects As emotional states The ordinary connected woman Ordinary as normal Ordinary as collective As community Portraying female figures in everyday trouble In their working environment In their family situation Having too much responsibility Difficulties positioning themselves Taking on a male attitude Saying chest instead of breast (…) The common women As warriors With their strength and their fragility Small in size With the weight of a newborn Pregnant As in charged Rich in And physically with a belly attached Containing wheat grains Tied on to them Holding the gathered material As a tool kit As weapons (…) The sculptures as an infinite series That connects to the pace of collecting Having to travel to the sea to collect the pebbles And the metal picked up during the daily walks through the city Terracotta in all its different stages As unfired clay As bricks As washed-over pieces As decorative objects
Too small to be functional Some industrial Some handmade Displays the weathering and passing of time Relation to function and economy All from the ground The soil Picked up Returned to a ground level (…) The time spent making The time spent living Collecting the material And then the decisive moment When I commit to a material and a process Enter the stage of shaping Using that time to educate myself Thinking through movement Like when walking Thinking through something rather than about something While keeping the hands busy (…) And then the other making When you name something Position it When you pair an object and a word Listen to how it sounds When it is pronounced How it resonates with the surface of the object Thinking about the language through the object And about the object through the language Text and words as material As texture As weight Each letter made from found material Defines how it reads Gives it shape A materiality The reading and gathering of text Is absorbed and filtered Moved around and assembled Sampled Like materials Found objects Motifs Compiled Not calling my work mine But think of it as a way of collecting and filtering Gathering and absorbing ◻
Marie Lund, Care, 2020, copper, rubber and iron, 170 x 145 x 27 cm. Photo by Anders Sune Berg. Courtesy the artist and Galleri Nicolai Wallner
Marie Lund, Heroes, 2020, copper, rubber and iron, 100 x 37 x 45 cm. Photo by Anders Sune Berg. Courtesy the artist and Galleri Nicolai Wallner
“My interest lies in supporting female artists at the moment in their career when nobody’s looking” INTERVIEW WITH VALERIA NAPOLEONE BY THE DANISH ARTIST AUGUSTA ATLA
Valeria Napoleone is based in London and is part art collector, part art patron. Valeria has been collecting artworks by female artists for two decades and boasts a collection of over 400 works by women. In 2015, Valeria launched Valeria NapoleoneXX, an umbrella platform for projects working towards increasing the recognition of art practices by female artists through collaborations with contemporary art institutions. AA: Who has the power to make a change regarding gender equality in the contemporary art scene?
VN: Museums, curators, and directors of museums have the power to initiate change in the art scene. It’s the duty of museums to educate people about great art and challenge gender imbalance. If public collections, museums, and institutions start legitimising women artists by acquiring and exhibiting their work in their collections, this proactive stance will trigger something very powerful for the future. If the museums take on the responsibility of showcasing and invigorating critical analysis and discourse vis-à-vis the practice of female artists, everyone will follow. The programming, panel discussions,
and seminars in museums will fuel critical and analytical discourse on the practice of female artists, many of whom have been silenced and erased from art history. AA:
For you, what is ‘a gallery’?
VN: A gallery’s mission is to take on an artist and support their practice, and to be willing to devote itself to a long-term journey with the artist. The practice of an artist lasts a lifetime; a gallerist needs to be there for that lifetime. I also see a gallery’s role as a service to collectors (and beyond), educating its audience about artists’ practices, providing guidance to collectors on how to create a collection, and information about the artists represented. In my case, it often happens to me that galleries I am close to—those in my art ecosystem—tell me: “Valeria, go and look at these artists, I think they are interesting,” even though the artists are not anyone they work with. I trust these galleries very much because over the years they have given me so many interesting and fantastic tips about artists that they weren’t representing. A gallery is a community, a family. And collectors become part of this family.
Works in front of Valeria and on table behind her by Geatano Pesce. Behind the couch, from the left: Berta Fischer, Hulenays, 2011, Radiant Acrylic Glass,
270 x 150 x 50 cm; Guan Xiao, Slight Dizzy, 2014, coloured bronze, umbrella, 154 x 28 x 150 cm; May Hands, Gucci Meloni II (Pink and Gold), 2014, aluminium stretcher with polythene, voil, ink, gardening net, sponges, cellophane, Gucci plastic packaging, screen-print on tracing paper, plastic taping, shredded screen prints, 300 x 200 CM. Photo by Mathilde Agius
AA: You started collecting in the early 1990s to redress the gender imbalance. Art fairs often represent 70-75% works by male artists. How do you use the art fair, then?
VN: I am not a ‘fair collector’, which means that I do not build my collection by going from one fair to the next. I work 365 days a year on my collection, on research, and on discussing the works. When I arrive at an art fair, most of the time I already know what’s on offer, as many do nowadays, since gallerists send previews and offers in advance. For me, an art fair is more about connecting with people I do not normally see, and about researching. I know which artists I want to include in my collection, and the list of them evolves over time and takes a lot of thought on my part. Over the past 10 years, as the number of art fairs has escalated to thousands each year, too many galleries, going from one fair to the next, constantly ask artists to produce work for fairs with criteria that accommodates the market—work that sells. I strongly resist building a collection of works bought mainly at art fairs. My acquisitions at fairs only happen when I know the artist and the gallerists well. Otherwise, with new discoveries, I take time to think and research. It can take months before I make a decision. AA: How do you build up your collection?
VN: I am an art collector, not an art buyer. As a collector and a patron, I am deeply involved with the artists, gallerists, and curators. My work and journey of the past 23 years have been built on trust and respect, and relationships. It is this incredible support that gives me access to the artists to whom I want to gain access, and to the best work to which I want to gain access. I am a very curious, adventurous, and entrepreneurial collector. My interest lies in supporting female artists at the moment in their career when nobody’s looking. I am interested in the moment of an artist’s life when I know my support will make a huge difference, an impact. As a collector, I aim to continue to build a collection that grows stronger and stronger over the years, knowing very well that a great collection is built over decades with commitment, passion, and focus. I do not sell works from my collection. AA: Have you encountered any discrimination against your collection?
VN: When people come to visit my collection and say, “Valeria, don’t you think that you’re discriminating against men by not including them?” I say: “Well, you
know what, it’s my collection, it’s my vision, it’s about great art and great artists. Period.” Some collectors focus on a specific medium or media, on specific geographic areas, on South America, on Europe, and so on. I focus on the work of female artists. I have certainly received many comments from visitors to my collection, such as, “These works do not look like they were done by women”. What do you answer to that!? AA: At art fairs, do you avoid galleries with a strong male bias, or could you buy work by the few women artists they represent?
VN: I don’t avoid galleries that have no women. But if they have no women, I don’t have any business with them. I can look at artworks by male artists, as I am interested in great art, but they will not be for my collection. I do not need to own it to appreciate it. There are some galleries I’m very close to because they have a unique vision, great taste, incredible programmes. I have a few fantastic gallerists that have been a key part of my journey. However, I’m very adventurous and proactive in finding new artists and new galleries, and in establishing new relationships. Art fairs are useful for that, for meeting and engaging with new people. AA: What are the annual art fairs that you look forward to going to every year?
VN: For me, it’s Art Basel (Basel), Liste (Basel), MiArt (Milan), and Frieze (London).
AA: Gender representation at Nordic art fairs in 2019: 70.5% men, 29.5% women. Do you think that a one-off, all-female fair theme for the duration of three days can change the general daily habits of the art scene? And make an impact on the thinking of those galleries taking part (in terms of balancing their representation of artists at future fairs)? Can CHART’s all-female initiative this year engender real change?
VN: I think that a single gesture, one-off initiative cannot change the whole system. But a gesture can certainly rouse attention and stir a conversation. It can make a strong impact and shed light on specific issues that need to be addressed. No matter what happens, I think these three days at CHART can be very powerful. They will open up discussions on a problem that exists. For the galleries participating it can be an exercise: an exercise in supporting those female artists whom they already represent, but whom they perhaps don’t support enough. The change won’t be palpable from one day to the next, but here will be a shift in attitude hopefully. AA: Many people have criticised this year’s all-women theme at CHART for discriminating against men. What are your views on this? Is CHART approaching things the wrong way?
VN: When you reveal the plan to make a 100% female artists programme, this can kindle another discussion: one about discrimination. After centuries of women artists being side-lined and neglected, a one-off art fair puts all the male artists, who have enjoyed mainstream and unrestricted support, at risk of becoming extinct? I mean, that’s laughable. This all-female programme is NOT a permanent trajectory for CHART every year. It is a specific moment in history, and people should welcome it and say: ”Wow! Something new and something necessary!” They should embrace it.
Nina Canell, Endless Column (Alternating Current for Twelve Electric Fans), 2009, Steel, Electric Fans, Relay Timers, Cable, 350 x 52 x 52 cm. Photo by Mathilde Agius.
AA: Sweden, for example, has introduced a gender-based quota when buying works for their collections. Likewise, the Copenhagen City Council’s collection has a 50/50 gender quota. Do you think this policy should be applied more widely? Do you think it works?
VN: Yes, it’s a good idea, absolutely. I think that we should apply a 50/50 gender quota, not just because we need to recruit women simply because they’re women, but because there really is so much quality work out there by female artists. So many generations have been overlooked that we can easily reach the 50-50 quota. This is a job that needs to go back centuries to balance the deficit, so definitely. I want to add that regarding public collections, it is very important to have a 50/50 quota because public institutions are there to address the population and provide a service for the country. AA: While art academies now have more female students than male, the ratio vis-à-vis gallery representation is completely the opposite. Consequently, many women artists work outside the gallery system. Collectors like yourself are engaging in nonprofit and artist-led spaces where many women exhibit (such as Studio Voltaire). Is this creating a market?
VN: I support programmes like Studio Voltaire and non-profit organisations that give platforms to artists who are overlooked, even totally dismissed, or not yet discovered. Studio Voltaire is very special. Artist-run spaces like Studio Voltaire give total freedom to artists to express themselves beyond the commercial reality. I support programmes like Studio Voltaire because this is where the next generation of great artists will come from. We need to support artists, we need to give them an opportunity when nobody’s encouraging them. This is what Studio Voltaire is about: courage, taking risks, and giving opportunities at pivotal moments in artists’
careers. Over the years, I have bought work from Studio Voltaire shows, some incredible pieces from artists who are now very prominent and who were given their first big chance there. AA: Do spaces like Studio Voltaire go to art fairs? Do they participate in art fairs?
VN: Absolutely yes. At art fairs, there are sections for non-profit galleries. Studio Voltaire presents work in these sections together with a conglomerate of different nonprofit spaces from New York and London and beyond, called Allied Editions. Spaces like the Whitechapel Gallery, Chisenhale, Calder Arts Centre, Serpentine, and a few others sell their limited editions and raise quite substantial amounts of money, which is necessary to support their programmes. CHART ought to have a non-profit section or a limited edition section, as they have at Art Basel. This is also a great way to support courageous experimental programmes that give such important opportunities to new artists and certainly have a keen attitude towards women artists and non-binary individuals. AA: Do you, sometimes, buy works directly from the artist?
VN: Yes, I do buy directly from the artist. Many artists I know went from having a gallery to years of not having one, and then to having a gallery again. Sometimes the gallery closes and then they don’t have one for ages. At the moment, for instance, there are quite a few mid-career artists in my collection whose galleries have closed down. Unfortunately, it has happened to many great galleries in recent years, also galleries that had great programmes and not very commercial ones. It’s such a loss. I know that these great artists will soon find the right gallery. Excellence will be recognised in the end. It is just that for women, it may take longer.
AA: As an art collector, are you a very independent spirit who determines for yourself what, to you, is good art?
VN: By definition, a private collector is someone who buys to suit their own taste, not an institution that has to tick the boxes or has to buy specific artworks because of the gaps in its collection. I don’t need anybody’s validation. It’s just my own taste and vision. Private collectors should buy pieces that they love, that they really connect to on a personal level. Not for investment purposes. AA: Unfortunately, artworks by women are still sold at much lower prices than those of male artists. Regarding the auction houses in New York and London selling the most expensive works, do you think that more women can get into this league? And how? Is this sheer monetary issue important?
VN: It’s something we come face to face with every single day, also at art auctions, especially in the evening auctions. Museums have not only the duty but the power to drive the change. If museums start exhibiting more female artists, from different generations, and give them more opportunities for great shows, the market will follow. The legitimisation of museums and institutions is the key to change. Once the big museums start doing their job properly and add female artists to their programmes, the market will listen and gradually reflect that. We underestimate the power of museums, their curators, and directors in this matter. AA: Is the art market a mirror of how well museums are doing their job (representing women artists)?
VN: Absolutely. And even if the museums did an excellent job, it would take some time for the market to catch up. But it will happen eventually with the legitimation by institutions. We need to hold museums more accountable for that.
AA: Do you think that other art fairs will follow?
VN: A few years back, another art fair was considering dedicating a one-off edition of the fair exclusively to female artists, exactly like CHART, but it didn’t happen. I think it could be good enough, and powerful, if at least all the galleries participating at a fair committed to a 50/50 gender balance criteria. Or if the art fair imposed that criteria on all the galleries. AA: What do you find exciting in terms of the future of your own collection?
VN: The opportunity to feed it and develop it over the next decades, to enter into partnerships with the right institutions, and eventually to share the collection with a wider audience. The vision of making it stronger and stronger and of having a voice of its own. AA: What are your next plans and projects (including your own patronage calendar)?
VN: Moving into our new house and installing the collection in a space that has been conceived in a very thoughtful way to accommodate art. Continuing to conceive new XX Projects, my initiative to support female representation in public institutions. AA: What is the future of the art market?
VN: I am more interested in the future of art-making, artists, and institutions. The market is not really my priority. ◻
“I don’t avoid galleries that have no women. But if they have no women, I don’t have any business with them”
Hanna Hansdotter, Stucco print V, 2020, hand blown glass, 32 x 22 x 22 cm. Photo by Knotan. Courtesy the artist and Gallery Steinsland Berliner
Ylva Carlgren, the artist in her Stockholm studio working on watercolour paintings. Photo by Niklas Holmgren. Courtesy the artist and Gallery Steinsland Berliner
Hulda Stefรกnsdรณttir, Untitled (Time Map), 2020, acrylic on canvas, 35 x 35 cm. Courtesy the artist and BERG Contemporary
Johanna Karlsson Scen II, 2020, plaster, paper, pigment, metal wire, oak and artglass, 34 x 40 x 14 cm. Scen III, 2020, plaster, paper, pigment, metal wire, oak and artglass, 34 x 40 x 14 cm Photo by Nora Bencivenni. Courtesy the artist and Galleri Magnus Karlsson
Darja BajagiÄ‡, Untitled Study (Picture 6: Jacket of the Injured with Considerable Damage to the Arm), 2019, acrylic, canvas, embalmerâ€™s thread, fabric dye, gauze, inkjet print, latex, and paper, 52.7 x 43.2 cm. Photo by Christian Tunge. Courtesy the artist and Galleri Golsa
Pernille With Madsen Leisure of fatal operations, 2020, wig and onyx on shelf, 70 x 30 x 35 cm. Time Being Fossil, 2020, film still. Animated colony of sister taxa, 2020, photography, 100 x 140 cm. Photo by Pernille With Madsen. Courtesy the artist and Galleri Susanne Ottesen
Harpa Árnadóttir, To paint the sea so greenbottle blue?, 2019, calcified seaweed, pigment, paper and watercolour on linen, 80 x 80 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Hverfisgallerí
Maria Rubinke, Untitled (Hare), 2020, bronze. Photo by Maria Rubinke. Courtesy the artist and Martin AsbĂŚk Gallery
BY JULIE MOESTRUP
IN 1967, CHARLOTTE BRÜEL HAD ENOUGH OF THE ROYAL DANISH ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS
53 years ago, the artist Charlotte Brüel declared her resignation from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. She was 23 years old and decided enough was enough. After three years at the Academy, her points of critique were many—so many that they took up 10 hand-written pages. Brüel denounced the institution’s rigid gender roles and teaching methods. She called for a larger art political engagement. For the vast majority of living Danish artists, the average income was below that of a supermarket cashier. Those were the conditions in the 1960s. They still are. Particularly when the artwork is signed by a woman. Charlotte Brüel has continued to fight for better working conditions in the arts alongside her artistic practice. But back to the protest of the past, the remnants of which are stored in the Danish National Archives—a story worth recalling in this context. Back then, one chair of the esteemed Professoriat was
LETTER FROM THE ACADEMY 8TH OF JANUARY, 1968 Charlotte Brüel has completed her degree in the Art Academy’s Painter School after approximately three years. She has an unusually refined painterly sensibility and, moreover, is a person of very high intelligence and morale. As Charlotte Brüel’s teachers we have followed her still richer artistic development, and we will very strongly recommend her for the economical support that she is seeking. At this point, it’s essential for her ongoing development to have peace and quiet to work, so she can entirely concentrate and devote herself to her painting. Egill Jacobsen Professor Knud Nielsen Lecturer
occupied by the Danish COBRA-artist Egill Jacobsen. He had been appointed in 1959. As the first representative of abstract painting, he took an anti-academic approach to art. In her diary entries from December 1967, which offers a backdrop for Charlotte Brüel’s protest against the institution, she writes: “I’m lacking in Egill an effort with the students in the more practical areas, like making students aware of competitions and discussing exhibition opportunities.” Brüel also found that Egill Jacobsen neglected the academy and his students too frequently. But that he, “based on my current familiarity with the different professors, is absolutely the only option for me, personally. Before entering the academy, I had plans to register with the various painting schools during my time there to achieve the most diverse training. This seems to me now as the most unrealistic plan.” With the student riots of 1968, young people had experienced a political awakening, but it was only in 1971 that students at the academy were given actual agency and influence on the curriculum. High on their wishlist were more opportunities for collaboration as well as shared classes across the academy’s different schools. Another abstract Danish painter, Richard Mortensen, who was hired in 1964, “should most probably never even have been a professor,” Brüel noted in her diary. “I strongly distance myself from Mortensen due to his totally dominating and self-inflated affectation, which obviously produces a very bad environment for the students. He interferes too directly in students’ work based on the most superficial understanding of their person as well as their work as a whole. Too little gravity in his engagement with students, lots of self-inflation, and lack of a sense of humour.” Charlotte Brüel debuted at Kunsthal Charlottenborg’s Autumn Exhibition in 1968. A few years later she registered in Comparative Literature at the University of Copenhagen, but eventually returned to the academy in 1974, where she attended the Graphic School and the Art-Pedagogical School, finishing there with a Master’s degree in 1978. What can you live off? What can’t you live off as an artist? Charlotte Brüel has continued to pose these questions as an active voice within the artistic-political debate in Denmark. She found like-minded allies in the eco-movement of the 1970s, who fought for the unification of human and nature—and this is seen as a more existential (than political) layer in Brüel’s practice and choice of materials. ◻
Charlotte Brüel, Invisible sculpture, 2020, exhibition view. Photo by Malle Madsen. Courtesy the artist and Nils Stærk
Charlotte Brüel, Invisible sculpture, 2020, acrylic glass and blackbird wings, 5 x 6 mm, 46 x 36 x 76 cm. Photo by Malle Madsen. Courtesy the artist and Nils Stærk
MargrĂŠt H. BlĂśndal, Untitled, 2020, watercolour, pencil, pigment and olive oil on paper, 35 x 25 cm. Courtesy of the artist and i8 Gallery
MARGRÉT H. BLÖNDAL DISCUSSES HER WATERCOLOURS WITH DAVID RISLEY
The Drawing Enters the Paper DR: How preconceived are the watercolours? Do you know what they will look like before you make them?
MHB: I always start by looking at a photograph. I slide through a few of them before the eyes settle. If I have an anchor in front of me, I am able to let go of the ground. I guess the leading point is a combination of looking, selecting the brush, blending the colour or the exact textures of it, and following where it takes me. I never know—if I think I know, I have too much control—I have to be alert.
DR: The use of olive oil, which is material and non-pictorial, makes me think of the watercolours more as objects and less as pictures. I see them ‘as’ something, not ‘of’ something. How do you think of them?
MHB: I actually never draw what the photograph depicts but rather samples of lines, patterns, variety of weight, or colours. The original photograph doesn’t matter when the drawing is done—I have already forgotten what I was looking at. The images dissolve into universal rhythm. Something that can be found in creatures of all kinds, the surroundings, the micros, and the macros.
DR: Is the paper the space? Is the paper the space that the colour and material exist within, in a sculptural way? Or is it a surface? When I see images of your watercolours, they are framed. There’s the colour and material on the space of the white paper, then the border, then the wooden frame, then the wall it is hung on, in a room. Where does the work end? Would they ever be exhibited unframed?
MHB: The paper is the place where the gesture is captured—a transient moment— something that is only possible to capture for a little while. The drawings are stuck to the wall with tiny tapes right after their making. It took me a long time to find a solution for presenting them because I feared that the frame would take the breath away and I enjoyed them floating on the wall. The frames emphasize the sculptural element, so no, not a surface, the drawing enters the paper. Yes, the work is finished when it’s framed. Then it becomes an installation of its own. You can look at one drawing or a cluster of them. One is a piece, but together they can play with their surroundings. DR: Olive oil would normally be the enemy of the watercolourist. Usually, any type of grease, even the artist’s fingerprints on the paper surface stops the watercolour paint behaving in a way it is designed to work. Do you use it as a kind of disruptive element?
MHB: I was never trained as a watercolourist. To me colour is material, and with oil the line becomes sculptural, which appeals to me. Disruption is an important factor—also the fact that I can’t control where the oil will leak. DR: Do you make a lot and then edit and reject them? Or do they usually succeed? What is the hit-rate?
MHB: In the beginning, every single one became something. Now, there are days where I reject. Sometimes, more often—more often none. The hit-rate is a gut feeling. ◻
GITTE ØRSKOU INTERVIEWED BY KENNY SCHACHTER
I NEVER LET ANYONE HOLD ME BACK
Photo by Åsa Lundén, Moderna Museet
Gitte Ørskou is Director of Moderna Museet, Stockholm. She was previously Director of Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalborg, Denmark.
Opportunities for female artists have expanded more today than at any prior point in history. Nevertheless, levels of institutional exposure have neither kept pace nor changed nearly enough since the 1980s activist works by the likes of Guerilla Girls, who worked hard to depict such disparities. Despite the strides in the marketplace made by female artists over the past decade, glaring shortcomings are still everywhere: for example, none of the 100 highest-priced artworks are by a woman (the auction record remains a painting by Georgia O’Keefe at $44.4 million in 2014). Studies indicate that women’s art simply sells for less simply because it was made by a female artist. In light of such stunning prejudice, a fair like CHART showcasing solely female art is not only warranted but rather, an imperative! Enough is not enough—the time for change is now.
KS: When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in arts?
GØ: I had the chance to go to a high school specialising in art, and it opened my mind to art that I never experienced before. Pursuing art history became quite obvious a path to me, even though my family never expressed much interest in art. I never “knew” that I wanted to pursue a career in the arts. I merely sensed it without really knowing it when I started making guided tours at an art museum and felt so alive being the one introducing the art to the public. I think I was around 23 at that time. A visitor told me that I had a “green aura.” Without knowing what this meant, I thought it sounded cool. KS: May I ask your age? Where you grew up? Is there a history of art professionals in your family? Collectors? What did your parents do?
GØ: I’m 48 and I grew up in Northern Denmark. My mother was a teacher, and my father worked with road construction. We visited an art museum once or twice as a child. My grandfather was a musician and I loved being with him and his friends. My family loved football. Art was nothing I thought about before turning 16. KS: What was your first exposure to art at 16? How did it impact?
GØ: Art revealed itself to me through surrealism. I remember visiting the Salvador Dalí museum in Figueras, Spain, with my family, and I felt embraced, engulfed, entertained, and provoked by his art. Around the same age, I visited the local art museum (where I much later would become director) and was struck by the surrealist artworks by Wilhelm Freddie and Richard Mortensen who started out as a surrealist. I felt in my teenage mind that they spoke to me from the unconscious. Being a teenager is basically to be faced with your unconsciousness on a daily basis.
KS: Did you ever make art yourself?
GØ: Not really. I know how to handle a brush and I’ve studied the different techniques. But I don’t have the artistic urge to express myself. I am a decent drawer, though. KS: How would you define art in a basic sense for dummies?
GØ: Art is the power of creation expressed visually. Art is a way of putting images on the stuff that we are just about to comprehend but never manage to, at least without art. KS: Jean Michel Basquiat said I am not a black artist, I am an artist; Zaha Hadid said I am neither an Arab nor a woman architect, I am an architect; how would you reflect on these comments?
GØ: I understand why every individual needs to see him or herself individually. I regard myself as a competent leader within the art world, not as a female competent leader. Nevertheless, we have to address the structures that we have emerged from as both individuals and parts of a bigger picture. Sometimes we have to focus on the bigger picture to move things ahead. KS: In your personal experience have you ever been held back due to your gender? Has it ever helped you get ahead?
GØ: Well, I never let anyone hold me back. I love to compete. So when I’ve had the feeling of being regarded differently than my male colleagues, I’ve just raised my voice even louder. Whether it has helped me is difficult for me to say. In smaller circumstances, definitively, but not in the long run. KS: Can you define changes in the contemporary art world in the last 10-15 years, reflecting increases in opportunities for people of colour and women?
“SOMETIMES WE HAVE TO FOCUS ON THE BIGGER PICTURE TO MOVE THINGS AHEAD” 86
GØ: Yes. There has been an increased request for artists of African heritage on the art market. There has been a curiosity towards their view on artistic representation. Also, there has been an intense focus on “longforgotten” female artists such as Hilma af Klint. Right now, I am observing an increased focus on female artists from the 50s and 60s.
KS: Perfect answer, if I may! And my feelings exactly. What an asshole. Do you collect art?
KS: Do you believe in the notion of affirmative action?
KS: What art is hanging in your bedroom, if you don’t mind me asking? When I recently visited Karsten Greve’s home in the Engadin, I insisted to have a quick peek, even as he was ushering me out the door. And I am glad I did, it was amazing—his bed, with no headboard, was in the middle of room, surrounded by Twomblys and Fonantas and some chosen Louise Bourgeois works, with one of Twombly’s large, grey Bolsena paintings standing in for a flat screen TV!
Yes, to a certain extent.
KS: Do you believe in an all-female art fair? Is it dangerous to delineate such a fair along lines of gender rather than quality alone?
GØ: I see it as a political statement, and I think it is a strong statement within the overall commercial setting of an art fair. An art fair is a limited window towards a range of galleries within a limited period of time. So I do not see it as something that generally weakens our idea of “artistic quality beyond gender,” but merely as a wake-up call to a gallery world that possibly hasn’t had the same reflections on gender as us museums have.
KS: Georg Baselitz said something for which I’m always surprised hasn’t affected his career more: “Women don’t achieve higher prices for their work because they can’t paint as well as men.” What are your feelings about such asinine, moronic sentiments?
GØ: In one word: bullshit. I think that people feel pity for him for stating this. By saying it, he shows his own vulnerability. Maybe he feels threatened by the great female painters?
GØ: No. As a museum director, I have to think of the ethical rules of ICOM (International Council of Museums). And I do not have the income of a collector. But I do have art in my home.
GØ: In my bedroom you’ll find a painting by the Danish artist Michael Kvium, as well as a photograph by Sophia Kalkau, another Danish artist. Along with our wedding photos. So it’s quite modest compared to your experience with Karsten Greve. But I love every piece hanging on my walls. ◻
Stealing Fire from the Gods: Merging Image and Sound in the Work of Steina Vasulka BY FRANCESCA ASTESANI We are not used to thinking of fire as technology, though learning how to manage fire was one of the most important technological advancements in human development. Referring to another world-changing technological advancement—that of video—and the experiments that she and her husband Woody have carried out with the medium since the mid-sixties, Steina Vasulka is reported enthusiastically saying: “Each time we believed we were stealing fire from the gods.”1 Steina and Woody Vasulka have been working side by side for over five decades: moving to New York in 1965, they quickly discovered the moving image as a new open field of image-making, inscribing their work into the early history of video art. The relatively untouched territory of the new medium allowed the two artists to approach their electronic image experiments with great freedom and playfulness, qualities that often transpire from their works. This spirit of freedom and curiosity, which they never abandoned throughout their long artistic journey, also marked their founding of The Kitchen, an institution that is still an important space for multidisciplinary and experimental artistic practices in New York City today. As opposed to the optical nature of film and photography, video offered infinite possibilities to create images from electrical impulses, manipulating a visual world according to the medium’s internal logic, through
imageries that could 1. S teina’s quotes are extracted from Marco transcend the pheMaria Gazzano’s text in the catalogue: M. M. nomenological expeGazzano (ed.), Steina rience of space and and Woody Vasulka, video, media e nuove time. Hence Steina’s immagini nell’arte contemporanea. Milan: humourous notion Fahrenheit 451, 1995. of stealing the ‘godly’ prerogative of creation: “For the first time, we could see images which were not of this world, which came from somewhere else. The next step was when we discovered that the images and the sounds came from the same source: that images were formed by voltage and frequencies, and so were sounds.” In video, image and sound are both created by electrical signals and this connection has always been particularly important for Steina, who was educated as a classical violinist. In a conversation I had with her recently, she pointed out that images are, for her, always moving: a time-based media just like music. Since the beginning of the 1970s, she has been experimenting with the musicsound interface. In the piece Violin Power (1970-78), for instance, the sound input from her violin distorts the video recording of her playing the instrument, creating a new interface where image and sound are merged, or even better, where sound actually generates a new type of image.
Steina, Violin Power, 1969-1978, 1/2" Open Reel video, b&w, sound, 10:04 min. Courtesy the artist and BERG Contemporary
In two later pieces, Voice Windows (1986) and Vocalisations (1990)—made after the couple relocated to Santa Fe, New Mexico—Steina continued her experiments with the integration of sound and image in collaboration with vocalist Joan La Barbara. In both works, the soundwaves of La Barbara’s playful vocalisations materialise as waveforms on a grid of five lines that resembles a musical score. The abstract forms of the vocal patterns are overlaid onto background images of landscapes of New Mexico and urban Santa Fe, partly hiding them to create an electronic musicscape. In Vocalisations, in particular, the abstraction of the audio-visual interface overtakes representation, leaving the background images of the landscape barely recognisable in the moving-image collage. In these pieces, human and machine work together: video, despite its open possibilities, is dependent on human-generated signals in the form of voice, or tunes from the violin played by the artist. This synergy between human and machine makes Steina’s work particularly touching, while the exploration of the humourous frailty of this connection is, above all, very contemporary. ◻
Anne-Karin Furunes Portrait of Aslak Johnsen / BĂŚhr-Tromholt Archive, 2020, acrylic on canvas, perforated, 160 x 160 cm, Portrait of Inger Andersdatter / BĂŚhr-Tromholt Archive, 2020, acrylic on canvas, perforated, 160 x 160 cm. Unknown from Archive / Karelen, 2020, acrylic on canvas, perforated 160 x 160 cm. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Anhava
Trine Søndergaard, Hovedtøj #1, 2019, archival pigment print. Photo by Trine Søndergaard. Courtesy the artist and Martin Asbæk Gallery
Trine Søndergaard, Hovedtøj #11, 2019, archival pigment print. Photo by Trine Søndergaard. Courtesy the artist and Martin Asbæk Gallery
DITTE EJLERSKOV & EVAMARIE LINDAHL
Does Art History Make Books or Do Books Make Art History?
Ditte Ejlerskov and EvaMarie Lindahl, The Blank Pages, installation view, 2014/2020, mdf shelves, Taschen Basic Art Series, 100 empty books, 4 shelves, each 240 x 120 cm. Courtesy the artists and SPECTA.
BY DAVID RISLEY Growing up in a home without art books, my first introduction to 20th-century art was, weirdly, finding Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction catalogues in a box at my local charity shop in a post-industrial working-class town near Birmingham. These books were my entry to the recent greats. I had no idea who they were beyond a name, a title, a price, and an image. If I was lucky there would be a short text on the provenance of the paintings, which read to me like magic spells into a mystical other world. I was shocked years later to discover that Joan Miró and Jules Olitski were men. I had no idea that women weren’t included in the canon. Throughout art school, I used the library daily. When I moved to London in 1997, I worked at Zwemmer Books, a legendary art book store on Charing Cross Road, opened in 1929. The store got sold and was taken over by new management. They talked about books ‘renting’ their space on the shelves. They asked questions
like, Why do we have 5 books on Giotto? They wanted to shift books, flog them, get rid of them. They wanted piles of cheap, new, shiny books on display tables near the door, not expensive, old, out-of-print books on dusty, old shelves. They wanted whizzy spinning cases filled with Taschen books. The Taschen Basic Art Series was launched in 1985. It is still in print and is described by Taschen on their website as “(a)n introductory who’s who of art history, architecture, and design, this series became the world’s best-selling art book collection ever published.” Most of the books—now counting nearly 200 titles—are monographs: “Each title from the Basic Art Series provides a comprehensive introduction to a significant artist, architect, or designer. The publications offer a detailed chronological summary of the artist’s life and work and analyze their historical importance and cultural legacy.” 10 years ago, Ditte Ejlerskov and EvaMarie Lindahl were looking at a few Taschen books in one of their studios and realised that out of over 90 books on artists, only 4 were on women. They called Taschen and spoke to an editor of the series, who responded that the reason that there were no books on women was basically because women artists of that calibre simply didn’t exist. Ejlerskov and Lindahl took this not as a rejection but as a challenge: “We realised this was going to be a big challenge and take a lot of research. We developed a methodology of finding female equivalents to the male artists in the series, based on success, recognition, geographical location, and time period. We started looking at books, encyclopaedias, auction results, records of museum shows, etc. This took 2 years. We matched women artists to the male artists in the book series, Friedrich, Leonardo Da Vinci, etc.” When they had
compiled this list of women artists, they wrote back to the editor, informing her: “You asked if we were able to mention any female artists that we thought were missing. We mentioned a few that you did not acknowledge as potential candidates for Taschen’s version of art history. We hereby hand over our entire compilation of the nearly 100 missing female artists that we consider qualify for the Basic Art Series alongside the 92 men and 5 women already published.” By following the original Taschen selection process and matching women to the men who already had books made about them, they exposed more gaping holes in the writing of art history. They couldn’t add Chinese women artists, because no male Chinese artists were included in the original series. The same for Africa, most of South America, the Middle East, Asia. A useful trick for painters when assessing how a painting is developing is to look at it in the mirror. See the painting in reverse, and the errors you’d grown comfortable with suddenly jump out. They designed and printed covers for the unpublished books on the 100 female artists: indistinguishable facsimiles of the Basic Art books. They even made an installation, displaying their new books with the existing, published books. The only difference being that the new ones were filled with blank pages. This history was unwritten. It largely still is. Why does this matter? Visibility. If you don’t see yourself reflected back by the world, you don’t feel like you belong there. If girls and women, non-Western, non-white, never see themselves depicted as geniuses, as groundbreaking, as change-makers, or even— imagine—merely as painters, why would they ever believe that they themselves could be? ◻
Essi Kuokkanen, Man Contemplating Important Stuff, 2018, oil on canvas, 143 x 133 cm. Photo by Jussi Tiainen. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Anhava
Portraits by Essi Kuokkanen, Rauha Mäkilä, and Camilla Vuorenmaa in a Historical Context
BY ANNE KIELGAST In Finland, female painters have a long and continuous tradition. Since the mid-1850s, female Finnish painters have been particularly remarkable, to such an extent that they are highlighted—also in a historical context—in relation to their male colleagues. During the 19th century, the nation’s art schools figured as a central element in the proposed strategy to challenge and work against the intense Russification taking place until independence in 1917. Public art schools were to work towards a nationally-founded art, as an element of the general struggle for cultural identity in the years leading towards the liberation from the Russian Empire. These schools accepted both women and men from the get-go, and they worked side by side—and since the founding of the direct predecessor to the Finnish Art Academy (Finsk Kunstforenings Tegneskole) in 1846, the persistent focus on painting has been a notable feature of Finnish contemporary art. There was a wide-spread ambition amongst these artists to create and develop their work in an international context, motivated further by the lack of recognition and attention they received in their own art scene. Traveling became an obvious alternative to remaining in the national and conservative home context, where male artists dominated. The international perspective of modernism united the female artists with a strong personal expression, resulting in a notable diversity in the Finnish art scene. It’s interesting to note that figurative painting figured widely both then and now, just as portraits remain a widespread motif throughout the decades. Needless to say that much has happened since the turn of the previous century, but the artists’ work, where an international perspective fuses with an interest for the proximate and the personal, is an interesting parallel.
The portrait-as-motif also runs through the work of Essi Kuokkanen, Raucha Mäkilä, and Camilla Vuorenmaa. Despite significant differences in their painterly starting points, the human figure is a recurring theme in their art. The self-portrait and portraits of others indicate the existential inquiry that runs through each of their work like a red thread. With much self-awareness and width, we encounter interpretations of society that are humourous but also highly expressive. Essi Kuokkanen
The figures in Essi Kuokkanen’s paintings are vulnerable in their introspective inquiries and actions. Whether it’s the ingestion of a worm or of liquid, toxic garbage that constitutes the precarious situation of her subjects, there lies beneath the humourous surface a pronounced solemnity and depth. Often, the inquiry into the relationship between human and nature figures as the central theme. Through this, the figures are able to represent specific characters but also overarching narratives interpreted with great insight and sympathy. The figures invade the picture plane and take over the space around them; they fill it out in their insistence of their place within it—concretely and metaphorically, just as they dare to turn their vulnerability towards us, the audience. The figuration that materializes through grand, amorphous strokes that characterizes Kuokkanen’s more abstract paintings finds an origin in surrealism, and carries its tradition of female artists securing central positions in the art world in greater numbers. Rauha Mäkilä
A seeming lightness also characterizes Rauha Mäkilä’s paintings. Her portraits of celebrities—singers and actors from our shared cultural image album—appear in contexts along with her closest family, most of all her children. Seemingly spontaneous in their snapshot, Instagram-like quality, holiday photos and everyday motifs
Rauha Mäkilä, Sofie, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 65 x 50 cm. Photo by Jussi Tiainen. Courtesy the artist and Helsinki Contemporary
Camilla Vuorenmaa, SĂŠance, 2020, painting and carving on wood, 150 x 120 cm. Photo by Jussi Tiainen. Courtesy the artist and Helsinki Contemporary
mix with professionally constructed images that Mäkilä utilizes as the basis for her paintings. The fluorescent colours of the painting, the fleetingness in the characters of the motifs, and the particular brushwork seemingly embrace the carefree self-performativity of youth and exude a real joy towards the motifs. The intimacy of the paintings, as well as the formal and social qualities of the found imagery, are important aspects of the paintings that radiate pop-cultural energy. In her later works, we find an increasing reduction in the colour palette, suggesting a growing ambivalence: sympathy for the depicted but a slight hint of melancholy looms in most of the snapshots. With the expressively stylized form, you’re once again tempted to connect the work with Mäkilä’s historical predecessors, who also let expression emerge through colour choice and brushwork, adding intimate insight into its subjects. Camilla Vuorenmaa
Variations and weird mutations of human bodies dominate in Camilla Vuorenmaa’s paintings. Bodies and faces function as portraits—also of animals—that are simultaneously inviting and uncanny. The decorative heads, faces, and bodies are adorned in patterns and colour flows that give them a weird expressivity, bringing inner states to the surface through powerful, synthetic colours and linework. Vuorenmaa, too, uses found images as a basis for her paintings. Even if the dreamy figures in the paintings seem out of this world, they have concrete references and just as concrete titles: Goalkeeper, Zombie, and Shepherd. The paintings are all outcomes of Vuorenmaa’s thorough inquiry into topics as diverse as domestic animals and clairvoyance, found and interpreted through analogue photography. The works unite painting and relief and are often executed in large scale. The tactile surfaces serve as concrete objects in the space they are exhibited. The physical surfaces of the reliefs stand in direct contrast to the synthetic, computer-like colours. In this way the past meets the present, and framed by the strange, decorative, and distributing expression of her figures, Vuorenmaa conjures up a deeply personal universe. ◻
SOME THOUGHTS ON PINIARTOQ (THE HUNTER) A RECENT PROJECT BY TIINA ITKONEN
My response to Tiina Itkonen’s series Piniartoq (The Hunters) changed quickly. I am still not completely resolved in my reading of it, but that’s no bad thing. Her series of technically brilliant, visually stunning photographs document a community of indigenous subsistence hunters in Greenland. They hunt BY DAVID RISLEY seals mainly, as well as walrus, caribou, musk ox, hares, and birds. However, in these photos, their quarry is a polar bear. There are photos of dogs attacking a polar bear. A photo of a polar bear shot dead with guns. We see the hunters arriving home in a small boat, a man holding the bear’s head, passing it to a boy who stands perched on the snowy shore. The skin, hanging on a wooden frame to dry. After the kill, the hunters skin the bear and eat its flesh and sell off its pelts and teeth. Difficult. It’s like saying they pull the wings off of fairies, or de-horn unicorns. Polar bears are the poster children of the environmental movement. They are the tragic heroes. Majestic, powerful, endangered. They embody nature and everything we must protect from the destruction of mankind. So, surely these hunters are the baddies? Right? Let’s zoom out a little. It seems to me that through focusing on a specific, emotive example, Itkonen’s work perfectly describes the global problem with climate change, capitalism, and the individual. The blaming of the individual rather than addressing full systemic change. These Greenlandish hunters are us. Us, drinking with plastic straws. They are us going on short-haul flights for weekend breaks. Governments continue to point the finger of blame at the individual using a plastic straw rather than bringing in tough legislation and taxation to regulate the production of single-use plastic. It’s easier to point at us and prey on our middle-class guilt and our obsession with our own individualistic importance. The real culprits are the oil companies drilling up the oil to make the plastic. The plastic companies producing millions of straws. The companies burning the lowest grade and most polluting oil to ship them around the world at the cheapest price. The companies destroying millions of
THEY SHOOT POLAR BEARS DON'T THEY? 102
Tiina Itkonen, Home 12, Isortoq, 2017, archival pigment print, 60 x 85 cm. ÂŠ Tiina Itkonen. Courtesy of Persons Projects
Tiina Itkonen, Nannup, Amia, 2016 © Tiina Itkonen. Courtesy of Persons Projects
acres of forest to provide grazing land for cattle to make into burgers. All fine, carry on, as you were. Nothing to see here. You. Using plastic straws on the beach? Awful. How could you? Those hunters though? Terrible people, shooting those magnificent creatures. Don’t they know they’re endangered? It is easy to accuse the Inuit hunters of endangering the future of the polar bear population when we see them in the act, guns in hand, blood on the ice. Photographs of those immediate, eye-to-eye moments of violence trigger an emotional response. It is much harder to photograph the exact moment in which CO2 emissions generated by an oil giant raise the ocean temperature to the point where sea ice melts, permanently, leading to the extinction of the polar bear. “Nobody talked about climate change when I started to work in Greenland 25 years ago. It was just in 2005 when I was in Siorapaluk, the northernmost village in Greenland, when I heard locals talking about climate change. A great hunter Qujaukitsoq told me: “In the
1990´s the sea was covered by ice for nine months and it was two meters thick, now the sea is frozen only half of that time and the ice is only 30 centimeters thick.” Climate change, globally, is an environmental issue. It’s also a gender issue, a race issue, and a class issue. The people most affected by climate change are those who are non-Western, non-white, and already living with poverty and food insecurity. This was clearly illustrated, even in the USA, during the recent Californian wildfires, when the wealthy residents hired private fire crews at a cost of up to $3,000 per day to protect their homes, while the homes, businesses, and farms of the poor burned to the ground. Apply this same situation to the low-lying delta coastline of Bangladesh and times it by a thousand. “Sea ice is getting thinner and thinner each year in North and East Greenland. Hunting and traveling on sea ice is getting more dangerous and the hunting season is getting shorter. People are no longer able to sustain traditional ways of life and many families are forced to leave their homes and move into towns. As a result, there are more and more abandoned houses in the settlements,” says Itkonen, and continues: “This unique way of life is now under threat and traditional subsistence cultures are likely to disappear in the future. We should be fighting against climate change now to save this fragile arctic environment.” Similarly, further around the Arctic Circle, where the Chukchi hunters of NorthEastern Siberia used to hunt walrus using dogs and sled, they now hunt by boat as the ice they used to hunt on has melted. The hunters are highly regulated, with strict quotas on how many bears they can kill each season and then, only if they don’t have cubs. The meat is divided with all the hunters and those who come to the shore. The skin is usually divided with four hunters
and the families use them for clothing. They rarely sell the skin, as they need it for clothing. If they do sell it, it can only be to other Greenlanders. If only the companies who are really endangering the future of the bears and the hunters were so tightly monitored. As I said, my response to Tiina Itkonen’s series Piniartoq (The Hunters) has changed. I am still not completely resolved in my reading of it and that’s no bad thing. The photos are uncomfortable viewing. They are beautiful, seductive. I don’t want to enjoy images of polar bears being killed by guns and dogs. Why do they look so good? Why do the men in the photos look so heroic and gentle, loving? Why do their abandoned homes look so desirable? The Piniartoq are the human canaries in our coal mine. They are our early warning system and we should be listening to them. We can vilify them for hunting individual ice bears, or, we could lobby for systemic change to protect them, their cultural heritage, rights and traditions, the oceans, the ice, and the bears. ◻
Maija Luutonen, G, 2014, acrylic on paper, 200 cm x 140 cm. Photo by Anders Sune Berg. Courtesy the artist and Galleri Bo Bjerggaard
Brigitte Waldach, Black Mountain, 2019, tusch and pencil on paper, 146 cm x 140 cm. Photo by Anders Sune Berg. Courtesy the artist and Galleri Bo Bjerggaard
Eva Schlegel & Brigitte Waldach, Tatort II, 2018, gouache, graphite on photo, 105 cm x 139 cm. Photo by Anders Sune Berg. Courtesy the artist and Galleri Bo Bjerggaard
Janaina TschĂ¤pe, Winter Painting III, 2020, casein and colour pencil on canvas, 179 cm x 203 cm. Photo by Anders Sune Berg. Courtesy the artist and Galleri Bo Bjerggaard
Eva Schlegel, o.T. (277), 2018, print on HahnemĂźhlen BĂźtten, 83 cm x 110 cm. Photo by Anders Sune Berg. Courtesy the artist and Galleri Bo Bjerggaard
A K Dolven, Where do I meet reality VII, 2002, oil on aluminium, 125 cm x 250 cm. Photo by A K Dolven. Courtesy the artist and Galleri Bo Bjerggaard
Anna Bjerger, Untitled, 2018, watercolour on HahnemĂźhle paper, 70 cm x 100 cm. Photo by Anders Sune Berg. Courtesy the artist and Galleri Bo Bjerggaard
I mmersive Landscapes: Contemporary Female Artists Reconsider a Traditional Genre BY ANDREA ALVAREZ
Three Nordic artists consider the relationship between humans and the natural world, and the impact of climate change on both. Here, engagement with nature is not merely an aesthetic choice, but an experiential and phenomenological imperative. Nordic artists have long been engaged in the landscape tradition, although this classical genre has largely been dominated by male painters. In the Nordic contemporary art world, female artists are increasingly celebrated for their contributions, especially those that engage with tradition in new manners. For artists like Sigrid Sandström, Kristiina Uusitalo, and Apichaya Wanthiang (who live in Sweden, Finland, and Norway respectively), the landscape genre provides a rich backdrop to their more penetrating and immersive practices. Each artist, in her own way, considers the relationship between humans and the natural world, and the impact of climate change on both. Engagement with nature in their art practices is not merely an aesthetic choice, but an experiential and phenomenological imperative. The work implicates their audience by expanding its field
beyond the frame and into the physical and psychological space of each viewer. Sigrid Sandström (Swedish, born 1970) uses her abstract paintings to evoke a sense of immediacy, as though the plasticky surfaces always remain freshly painted, and as though the diaphanous forms might blow in the wind. The minute details of her textures call attention to the materiality of the work, which has already been centered by how they are installed. Through the layout of her exhibitions, Sandström explores what she calls the “site of painting,” which is to say that the arena in which the paintings function does not end at the edges of the canvas. Rather, they are often juxtaposed in relation to one another: wall-based works are hung throughout, while freestanding upright or recumbent canvases and mirrors populate the gallery floor. In a recent exhibition in Houston, Texas, small paintings were placed throughout the gallery to foreground the wall pieces and create a dialogue between the wall-based works, the smaller works, and the visitor. This dialogue draws the visitor’s attention to their physical position in the gal-
Sigrid Sandström, Matter III, 2020, acrylics on canvas, 60 x 53 cm. Photo by Jean-Baptiste Béranger. Courtesy the artist and Cecilia Hillström Gallery
lery, oftentimes pulling them away from the wall-based works so as to accommodate the smaller works in their visual field. By virtue of this imperative to move into the expanded painting field, the visitor comes to experience the works as though from within. While paintings that Sandström made earlier in her career contained more literal connections to landscapes, today she instead creates her own experiential landscapes within the space of the gallery. The uninhabited Arctic worlds she once painted are now evoked experientially to the viewers, who feel both alien and implicated in these unfamiliar domains. Kristiina Uusitalo’s (Finnish, born 1959) paintings, similarly, seem to vacillate between worlds, though hers are contained within her canvases. The backgrounds evoke brightly coloured, barren landscapes that look like empty stages for human life. Meanwhile, on the surface, floating forms and gestures seem to exist both in the distant painted world and in the liminal space between work and viewer. Uusitalo’s work from the early 2010s blended figuration, landscape imagery, and abstraction. For this Finnish artist, whose forebears in the landscape tradition include Werner Holmberg (Finnish, 1830–1860) and Fanny Churberg (Finnish, 1845–1892), tree-lined wintry vistas serve as fundamental elements upon which to build dream-like mirages that are simultaneously familiar and fantastical. In recent years, Uusitalo has released herself of external referents, relying instead on gestures and abstract forms to populate the surface of her canvases. These organic images seem to belong to the natural world, as they spread across the canvas like a proliferation of plants in a wilderness. By moving from a representational mode in which she was clearly engaged with Finnish wooded landscapes, to one in which she allows the viewer’s imagination to soar, Uusitalo moves the landscape genre from the purely formal tradition to a psychological and phenomenological practice.
Kristiina Uusitalo, The Scent of Light I, 2019, oil, dry pigment, artificial resin and wax on board, 180 x 260 cm. Photo by Jussi Tiainen. Courtesy of the artist and Galleria Heino
Apichaya Wanthiang, A Hush Falls, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 194 x 297 cm. Photo by Trond Isaksen. Courtesy the artist and Galleri Brandstrup
Apichaya Wanthiang, No One In Sight, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 136 x 174 cm. Photo by Trond Isaksen. Courtesy the artist and Galleri Brandstrup
Few Nordic contemporary artists create artworks that are as immersive and enveloping as Apichaya Wanthiang (Thai, born 1987, lives and works in Norway). She is celebrated as a painter, but her practice includes a range of disciplines including video, performance, and installation art. The large paintings she has been making in recent years are much more representational than those by Sandström and Uusitalo, but their hallucinogenic and radioactive colour palette keeps them from hewing closely to the real world. The watery surfaces of her work are created using thin, fast-drying paint that renders the surface contradictorily arid. Although Wanthiang lives and works in Oslo, the subject of her current practice is the waterlogged landscape of Northeast Thailand, which has been flooding dangerously often, subjecting her family and hometown to unstable conditions. Wanthiang’s tropical and precarious scenes contain a sense of restlessness and instability that has become part of the lived experience for those who reside in the region. Wanthiang uses her installations to further convey these natural conditions, sometimes using coloured films and light filters to bathe gallery spaces in fiery reds and oranges, such as in a 2019 exhibition at Heimdal Kunstforening in Norway—and at other times by manipulating gallery temperatures to create a heated space when pictorally evoking her sunny homeland. In 2015, Sandström also filtered light entering a gallery through yellow cellophane; these techniques serve to envelop the audience and implicate each viewer in the work itself. This implies a sense of the viewer’s agency in the depicted landscapes, and perhaps ultimately, provokes a kinship between humans and their natural world. For artists like Sandström, Uusitalo, and Wanthiang, who are not only witnessing but also commenting on the effects of climate change, this may be the most urgent consequence of their work. ◻
PLANTS AS RECORDING DEVICES AN INTERVIEW WITH HILDUR BJARNADÓTTIR BY JULIE LÆNKHOLM I am calling Hildur at her home an hour south of Reykjavík where she lives with her family. I am sitting in my studio in Copenhagen’s Refshaleøen, surrounded by Icelandic wool. JL: Tell me about the piece of land you moved to with your family, and its relationship to your work?
HB: Since 2013 I have been working actively with a small piece of land in the South of Iceland, Þúfugarðar, which I moved to in 2016. For some years now, plants have been one of the main topics and materials in my work. Plants function as recording devices in the place they grow in; they contain the specific social and ecological context of the place. They take in information through their leaves, flowers, and roots. Everything that happens in that place becomes a part of the plant. These are common plants such as water avens, garden angelica, wild thyme, dwarf willow, crowberry, northern bedstraw, and reindeer moss. I extract colour from the plants and thus carry this information further into wool thread, silk fabric, and watercolours that I use in my work. I use the plants that grow at Þúfugarðar: the work
speaks about this place, its inhabitants, human beings, animals, and plants. The work also speaks to its ecological condition in a more global sense: how human beings are influencing it both from nearby and far away. JL:
What does colour mean to you?
HB: Colour in my work is a material— the appearance of the colour itself is less important than the information it carries within it. When I use plants to produce colour I never reject a shade, I always use the one it procures because it contains the place, and in that sense, all colours are equally important, even if they are very faint or yet another hue of yellow. I see the acrylic paint as an additional material that brings painting into the equation. In some sense the acrylic paint grounds the work—using only plant colour seems idyllic and sublime, but using both acrylic paint and plant colour facilitates a dialogue between the two elements and creates a platform for them to co-exist.
Hildur BjarnadĂłttir, spaciousness, 2016, woven, wool, linen, plant dye, acrylic paint, (common sorrel, woodland geranium, yellow rattle, couch grass, sea mayweed, meadowsweet, dwarf willow, reindeer lichen), 33 x 21 x 2,5 cm. Courtesy of the artist and HverfisgallerĂ
Hildur BjarnadĂłttir, spaciousness, 2016, woven, wool, linen, plant dye, acrylic paint, (common sorrel, woodland geranium, yellow rattle, couch grass, sea mayweed, meadowsweet, dwarf willow, reindeer lichen), 33 x 21 x 2,5 cm. Courtesy of the artist and HverfisgallerĂ
JL: What does the term coexistence mean to you?
HB: Since 2013, Þúfugarðar has brought forward questions to me about the coexistence of humans, animals, and plants. It also raises the question of symbiosis. The term can take on different meanings, both positive and negative. It is used to describe the cohabitation of different life forms living in close proximity in the same place. By definition, such a relationship can be either a parasitic or a collaborative relationship. Living in Þúfugarðar I have noticed a common snipe bird flying in circles over my land, signalling to other birds where it will lay its nest. Birds are creatures of habit and return again and again to the same place to lay their eggs and raise their young. This bird and I both claim this piece of land as our home, but through different systems: me through ownership and the bird through habit.
JL: What is your relationship to the Icelandic myth of ‘spirits of the land’?
HB: My work is not very spiritual, although using plants offers ample opportunities for working with their mystical abilities and myths. In my work the information in the plant colour is real, it’s not a metaphor for nature or the place it comes from. It literally contains the place I am working with. The work is quite pragmatic in that sense. JL: Do you want to share some thoughts about your woven paintings?
HB: My works explore variations, changes, balance, compromises, repetition, adaption, friction, chaos, and nuances in the cohabitation of human beings, animals, and plants through a natural and manmade system of colour. ◻
Emma Helle, Woman with Owl, 2019, ceramic (unique), 37 x 20 x 20 cm. Photo by Jeffrey Sturges. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Forsblom
ON THE INFLUENCE OF ART HISTORY IN THE WORK OF EMMA HELLE, SIRI ELFAG, AND SIF ITONA WESTERBERG
CARVING OUT A NEW MYTHOLOGY BY FREDERIK RØRMANN For many years, we have seen a renewed interest in re-evaluating our histories: looking again at the perceived factuality and meaning of the stories we tell and are told, continuously realising that not everything is as history might have led us to believe. Art history is no exception and has proven problematic in multiple ways, particularly regarding repressive structures that are presented and reproduced uncritically. Yet, these structures and narratives remain and we keep on being fascinated by the old masters of perspective as well as modernists doctrines. Some say we can’t let go of them, but it is more likely that we just don’t want to. They generate blockbuster exhibitions and their stories keep on being retold, reinforcing the mythology that is art history itself. It’s a mythology we’ve been building collectively throughout hundreds of years and—despite how much things have changed—we still rely on these
base narratives when valuing and trying to understand new artworks. As helpful an analytical tool this may be, in referring to this mythology we often end up reproducing adverse aspects and criteria that have been established throughout history, failing to reflect the world and challenges we face today. This, in turn, provides for an exciting subject of engagement. It is appealing to challenge the stories and visualities that are so deeply grounded in our understanding of art and visuality. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, everything was about dismantling, leading to deconstructive and minimalist strategies that redefined how we think of art. But when everything is broken and nothing means anything, what is left? In our recent reinvestigation of history (regarding art as much as culture in general), we are faced with meaning everywhere. The potency of symbols is being recognized again, quickly
Siri Elfhag, Birthday Cake, 2020, oil on canvas, 180 x 170 cm. Photo by Siri Elfhag. Courtesy the artist and Andersson/Sandstrรถm
followed by a wide criticism of their patriarchal and colonial connotations, sometimes even their destruction. We are now presented with the challenge of dealing with an abundance of meanings, critically and in a contemporary context. Emma Helle, Siri Elfag, and Sif Itona Westerberg are three artists that investigate our relationship with Western art dating back to antiquity, over the renaissance, leading up to impressionism. These are periods in art history that form the foundation of artistic education and remain significant to our perception of art to this day. Emma Helle utilises ceramics to explore classical figures in a new light. She engages with well-known characters like women and children that have been stereotyped in paintings and sculptures throughout history, often without any speakable agency. In Helle’s work, they are brought into the centre of attention and given a contemporary form and context without abandoning the recognisable characteristics, allowing for a re-evaluation of their position in art as well as society. The characters in her work are supported by flowers, mushrooms, and other botanical motifs, which grow around the figures, embracing and almost swallowing them, in a way that seems more caring than intrusive. As they grow together into a single entity in the work, the difficult relationship between culture and nature becomes apparent. We are accustomed to seeing these types of characters presented in sophisticated and highly stylistic artworks. Our perception is challenged by the wild presence of nature and is emphasised by the visibly hand-moulded clay, which leaves a perceptible trace of the artist and her agency in the work. In Helle’s sculptures, the natural elements of clay and flowers become the key to liberating women and children from their culturally repressive captivity. Siri Elfhag employs a similar but very different approach on canvas. Focusing on composition and style rather than specific characters, she challenges classic compositions like traditional landscape and portrait paintings with the introduction of natural or even otherworldly elements that both overthrow and undermine the sharp perspectives and detailed representations that such paintings are usually associated with. She replaces depictions of people in the paintings with animals, giving them a radically different, sometimes childish quality. The work has a familiarity, yet avoids immediate categorization and invites for further investigation. Again, nature acts as a way to open up these historic paintings that have become deeply familiar, and helps us reflect on how and why we fundamentally value
Sif Itona Westerberg, Untitled, 2020, aerated concrete, 165 x 120 x 7 cm. Photo by David Stjernholm. Courtesy the artist and Gether Contemporary
Sif Itona Westerberg, Untitled, 2020, aerated concrete, 182 x 80 x 7 cm. Photo by David Stjernholm. Courtesy the artist and Gether Contemporary
them. These references are an important aspect, but her paintings are far from just an academic reference to earlier works. Elfhag uses the symbolic language of the natural world to create open narratives that can be interpreted anew with each viewing, as new faces appear in the brushstrokes, or the light of the room reveals an unseen nuance. This allows for continuous engagement with her works and makes them starting points for reconsideration of not only our visual history but also the way that we perceive the natural and mystical in a contemporary, Western world where rationality is the dominant virtue. In this trio of artists, Sif Itona Westerberg seems like the odd one out. Her work employs a classical medium, the relief, yet points forward—towards a near future— and explores the evolution of humans and nature into a new and more symbiotic relationship (rather than the current, destructive one). Her concrete reliefs merge mankind and animals, creating hybrid creatures reminiscent of the centaurs and mermaids associated with fairy tales and mythologies. These creatures seem closer to reality than ever before, with the possibility of genetic manipulation and radical environmental changes that require a previously unseen need for quick adaptation for all species. In a similar manner to Elfhag and Helle, Westerberg’s works examine how the natural world becomes the answer to our contemporary problems. To be able to free ourselves from the overly cultivated world in which we live today, we need to look towards nature and learn from the symbiotic relationships between various species that come together to nurture and protect rather than negate and destroy. By utilising the art historical foundation as an example and reference, these artists point to the natural world as a possible solution to the harmful way we inhabit our world. Their work argues for a new mythology in which there is a fundamental belief in the values that nature can teach us about care and kinship. It seems futile to keep adhering to the way we live today, as we can observe the injustice and trauma that have been created as a result—and we are facing even more environmental and humanitarian crises in our immediate future. We should not only re-evaluate our history but build something new and more sustainable. Dismantling, as we learned from art history, is an important tool in order to understand our own history, but it is not a sustainable one. Like Emma Helle, Siri Elfhag, and Sif Itona Westerberg, we should also look towards creating the foundation for something else based on values that aim to preserve. ◻
CAPITAL ON THE WORK OF NINA BEIER BY VANESSA BONI Animals—living, ornamental, and symbolic—are a recurring motif in Nina Beier’s work. The artist’s sculptures intervene in the circulation and consumption of mass-produced goods. She confronts mutable tropes found in a range of objects travelling between different geopolitical realities—many defined by their containing animal pro-ducts. Beier’s plucking of goods from their virtual, imagistic existence is always timely. They become interesting to her precisely when their wild newness has peaked and they suddenly seem banal, cliché. This taming force defines human-animal relations in the West. Live animals, aside from their potential as food or raw material, are perpetually domesticated as human companions. John Berger, in the essay titled Why Look at Animals?, sees animals reduced to units of production and consumption in the global system of capital: “The category animal has lost its central importance. Mostly they have been coopted into the family and into the spectacle.” In Beier’s performance Tragedy (2011), a dog is instructed to ‘play dead’ on a Persian rug in a gallery. The artist describes the scene: “The dog lies in an immobile pose, as if under a spell, unknowingly performing its own end.” The highly trained, professional dogs recruited to bravely play dead in Tragedy are rewarded for suppressing their innate try-hard eagerness, only to sustain indifference. In the abstract—as animal capital—we observe these dogs as representative of the practice of selective breeding for attributes such as alertness and hair that won’t moult, of which they are exemplary. Feminist theorist Donna Haraway offers an exuberant analysis of this phenomena in her essay ‘Value-Added Dogs and Lively Capital’ (from which this essay borrows its title). She explains: “In the flesh and in the sign, dogs are commodities, and commodities of a type central to the history of capitalism.” Carved in stone and found at the boundary of a property, guardian lions are a symbol of authority whose elevated stature are intended to enthrall any visitor. In
Guardians (2018), statuesque marble lions are placed incongruously through the galleries and other spaces of the museum. Beier explains: “Something happens when guardian lions leave their designated place at the entrance to buildings. They seem lost or maybe free, or both. Detached from architecture and ornament, they are no longer domesticated and become depictions of wild animals.” Beier filled the negative spaces of carved marble around each lion’s mouth, mane and muscles with congealed soap and beard trimmings. These accoutrements of cosmetic grooming—an activity that is considered to distinguish humans from animals—making the proud, liberated beasts slightly uncouth. Gender tropes in contemporary domestic space naturally attract Beier’s scrutiny. In Beier’s series of exhibitions with the title European Interiors (2018–), pastel-coloured ceramic bathroom sinks—carrying connotations of feminine space—are arranged on the floor, unsupported, their drainage holes suggestively stuffed with fat cigars. It was the advent of capitalism that instituted the domestication of women. The notion of home, and its maintenance, seem to be a result of the devaluation of women’s labour into domestic work, reproduction, and caregiving—the design of interior spaces, furniture and appliances, compounding it. For animals, the interior, too, is a site of marginalisation, isolation, and dependence. In Empire (2019), a community of birdcages, adorned with archetypal Western sloped roofs or simplistic oriental flourishes invoke the image of a captured, caged animal. But instead of budgies, these domestic structures house pieces of hand-painted Royal Copenhagen dinnerware. Beier explains that “the birdcages replicate human architecture but in the sculpture they also double as dishwashing racks, both trapping and confining the china. Porcelain imported from China became collector’s items in Europe starting in the fourteenth century. Poor copies quickly followed, but it was only when the trade secret was finally cracked after 400 years that royal factories all over Europe started their production of knock-offs.” In Empire, tropes of domestication and domesticity are literally meshed. And as with all of Nina Beier’s work, she attempts to unravel the knot of soft power relations that coexist in the objects she chooses, exposing the transitory—and often latently violent—nature of society’s value formation in order to lay bare inbuilt social and economic structures—be it on a species, gender or global level. ◻
Nina Beier, Empire, 2019, ‘Empire’ Porcelain dinnerware by B&G/Royal Copenhagen and metal wire bird cage, 94 x 44 x 33 cm. Photo by Kunst-dokumentation.com. Courtesy the artist and Croy Nielsen
Reminding Myself to Fucking Open My E-e-eyes, Man… OR FIGHTING PASSIVENESS WITH THE ACTIONABLE ART OF ANASTASIA AX AND ANE GRAFF
BY OPHELIA ROLF My physical health has been on a lifelong winning streak. No allergies or ambiguous sensitivities. Bones, teeth, and heart fully intact. This has of course been a fantastic fortune, one that has afforded me luxuries such as finding the occasional medical check-ups intriguingly novel rather than insufferably routine. Because of this, the past few months have felt off. And that’s without taking into consideration the pandemic that has concurrently been prowling the world. As this year’s initial months of intense news-reading and rule-following continued, the less urgent everything seemed to feel. Surrendering to a semi-sedated lull felt normal and even comforting. The series of strange symptoms that started bothering me in my half-arsed isolation were consequently ignored to my best ability. First, I lost my sense of smell. Then I started having weird migraines, then a tooth of mine got inflamed and had to be pulled out, and most recently, I experienced an intense bout of sudden onset vertigo that rendered me completely useless for a week. These are all minor ailments that are more annoying than they are concerning but they have made me think about the mechanisms of sickness.
In an admittedly morose twist of fate, Norwegian artist Ane Graff’s already-significant installation titled States of Inflammation (2019) has certainly taken on new meaning due to recent developments in the world. Graff’s practice intersects several areas of scientific research and has most recently been carried out with her as an appointed research fellow at Oslo National Academy of the Arts. Much like her past work, the sculptural objects on display in States of Inflammation explore the systems we are part of and the material reality they create, and maintain a feminist new materialist perspective that recognizes humans as agents with influence and power in a material organization. The objects on display in the aforementioned series of work contain various material experiments set up by Graff. The processes involved in these experiments continue to react without human prompting, creating new combinations and orders on their own accord. The work as a whole exists in reference to infection present in human bodies, the climate, and perhaps even our collective values as a result of human interference in nature by way of capitalist tenets. It’s not hard to experience the work as a powerful
Ane Graff, States of Inflammation, 2019, various materials. Photo by Pirje Mykkänen. Courtesy the artist, OSL contemporary and Kansallisgalleria, Finnish National Gallery.
Anastasia Ax, The world as of yesterday, 2019, performance piece, part of group exhibition Fragmented Realities at Gรถteborgs Konsthall. Photo by Hendrik Zeitler. Courtesy the artist, Gรถteborgs Konsthall and Gallery Steinsland Berliner
parallel, to not only the workings of a virus (Graff herself cites Andrea Bagnato, “Microscopic Colonialism”, and the argument that “it is widely accepted within biomedical science that there is a strong nexus between emerging infectious diseases… and the material footprint of capitalist processes of extraction and accumulation”) but also to a world infected with a sickness so deeply embedded in our collective proverbial immune system that it has completely overridden our own modes of defence. There is sickness that resides outside our own bodies: worn-out soil, melting glaciers, festering hate, and oppression. Conditions too immense to deal with on our own, and very easy to ignore. How we choose to cope with physical sickness is personal and largely dependent on beliefs, circumstances, and experiences. Different ways of coping exist in relation to even the biggest of issues. Ane Graff shows us an easy way of understanding a sequence of events that is playing out everywhere, at all times. We have limited control over the constant reactions taking place in all facets of nature. The same goes for human interaction. Our ways of communicating, gathering, and influencing multiply while our own sense of control diminishes. Like groundwater, the sickness seeps through the bedrock of society and the effects are made visible for us now more than ever. Proactive people face problems headon through persistent effort. Depending on the issue, they look up alternative treatments in Switzerland or make loud statements. For the lost and confused, there are alternatives to avoidance. Art provides an opportunity to learn, to viscerally experience a course of action without personally having to face the consequences. A trial run of sorts. An antidote for passivity is found in the work of Swedish artist Anastasia Ax whose striking performances exemplify a way of dealing with the issues at hand. Performance art is inherently actionable and confrontational. It forces a reaction, whether it be one of outwards action or in-
wards reflection. It’s hard to ignore it happening, therefore it is also often dismissed by people finding it pointless, or perhaps too much to handle. The performance work of Anastasia Ax is truly confrontational. As a viewer, there exists no doubt that a change will have occurred at the end of the event. Material or emotional, the sheer physical effort provided by the artist will have made its mark. The World as of Yesterday (2013-19) is installed as a powerful performance. Large bodies of printed paper are traversed by Ax, who acts as both destroyer and creator in a landscape full of printed references to human ideas and actions. By destroying the material, its original intent as well as its complete futility is revealed. But despite all the stress the material has been through, it still remains in one form or another. The deconstruction leads to something new, a beautiful monument created by pure effort. It’s a process that is deeply familiar to anyone having dealt with any type of emotional turmoil—or even just having built a sandcastle. The artist exits the performance tired yet fortified by the displayed proof of strength and character. I’ve heard people say that suppressing one’s emotions is harmful, but to my knowledge, there is no measurable evidence for passiveness making you physically sick. We have seen the world succumb to sickness many times before. Regardless of whether the cause has been ideals or pathogens, the cure has come from informed action. I don’t think not keeping up with the news gave me cavities, but I do think ignoring issues that are uncomfortable is doing us nothing but harm. ◻
Urara Tsuchiya Sauna, 2020, glazed stoneware, 32 x 42 x 32 cm. Underwear (black & green), 2020, glazed stoneware, 20 x 37 x 5.5 cm. Photo by Christian Tunge. Courtesy the artist and Galleri Golsa
Frances Goodman, Tie Guy, 2020, false eyelashes, methyl cellulose, paper, 100 x 71 cm. Photo by James Fox. Courtesy the artists and SPECTA
B. Ingrid Olson, Vest (Muscular Alternative), 2019, MDF, PETG plastic, enamel paint, PVA size, cotton batting, screws, 38 x 38 x 6,35 cm. Denuded Seat, 2019, polyurethane foam, latex paint, sand, acrylic paint, vinyl paint, aluminum tape, 28 x 24,75 x 7,5 cm. Courtesy of the artist and i8 Gallery
BY WILLIAM PYM
Pictures Can Get Results Elina Brotherus is a Finnish photographer who has been exhibiting since 1997, in Europe as well as in institutions around the world. She shoots in a range of analogue and digital formats. She is held in particularly high regard in France, where she is partially based, as well as in her native Helsinki. She has maintained an impressively high work rate and boasts rare stamina as an artist. She is, I’ll argue, an artist with an important lesson to share. From one point of view, Brotherus is a formalist of the highest order. Photography is a mechanical medium— it is a matter of fitting a composition in the frame and letting in a measured amount of light so that the lens sees what you want it to see. Precision is a prerequisite for this medium; there are rules and limits if you intend to construct an image and not just a blurry, nonsensical mess. You literally can’t make a photographic image unless you accept these rules and limits. Born of this mechanical logic, a photographer with a formal instinct employs a natural, precise method. Brotherus builds a world from what’s inside the frame. She figures out what’s possible through this method of capturing the world. Her 2018 series La Samaritaine, for example, is an extended formal riff and exercise in image construction. The series was shot in a Parisian Art Nouveau department store, which at that time was in limbo while the luxury conglomerate LVMH was awaiting permission to complete an ambitious renovation. Over the course of a week-long shoot, Brotherus photographed herself in countless contexts around the empty, crumbly edifice. She measured the space between curved iron boning, pointing her arms wide, becoming as big as she could be, attempting to meet the architecture on its own terms while also making a joke of it (such as in the title of the work L’Homme de Vitruve, a reference Leonardo da Vinci). She shot herself from behind on the edge of the roof, in the middle of the frame, staring in the four different directions available to her and, by extension,
Elina Brotherus, FenĂŞtre bleue, 2018, 80 x 106 cm, from the series La Samaritaine. Courtesy of the artist and Martin AsbĂŚk Gallery
Elina Brotherus, Science Class 2, 2014, 60 x 90 cm, from the series Carpe Fucking Diem. Courtesy of the artist and Martin AsbĂŚk Gallery
the viewer. She threw yellow plastic lighting gels over a wall of large glass windows, suddenly suffusing a bare space with golden warmth, the health and promise of crops at dawn. She threw blue plastic lighting gels over a window in a compact space with pinstriped I-beams on the ceiling and dirt on the floor, suddenly conjuring a cold cave or a whale’s belly. Brotherus’ instinct for building perspectives and potential makes us feel intimate with a space, and allows us to share her journey through it. Thus, one may view Brotherus’ oeuvre as games and accretion, a process of masterful mapping and conjuring of/in space. She is a scholar of Fluxus, California conceptualism, and land art, and her vocabulary is steeped in these historical strategies. But this is not the artist’s main lesson. Starting in 2016, Brotherus began an ongoing series called Meaningless Work. The name comes from a 1960 treatise by American conceptualist Walter de Maria. “By meaningless work I mean work which does not make you money or accomplish a conventional purpose,” he stated. “(It) can make you feel and think about yourself, the outside world, morality, reality, unconsciousness, nature, history, time, philosophy, nothing at all, politics, etc. without the limitations of the old art forms.” Witness Brotherus’ dozens of episodes of this so-called meaningless work. She attempts to perform a bondage self-portrait in the prurient, edgy language of Nobuyoshi Araki in Araki. She does not look particularly excited having suspended herself from the ceiling, and in that there’s an answer; proof from this woman’s perspective. She holds a scarf or handkerchief to the wind in the series Measuring Wind Speed, shot in various places between Germany and the Middle East. The wind animates the fabric. She’s not technically measuring anything, but, as these pictures imply, to be there is to measure. The signal lifts, and this is proof.
In 4’33”, named after John Cage’s definitive artwork of American meditation, Brotherus stands in a pool of water in an ancient stone cellar. Her mouth hangs open in shock, or transcendence. Time and perception are malleable concepts, per Cage. By her stunned eyes, once again, here’s proof. Brotherus’ Meaningless Work is, in fact, very much to do with meaning. They’re meaningless in that they have no agenda, yet they accumulate meaning through her dogged presence and her willingness to try. The artist is present in almost every picture, and she clicks the shutter every time. There is no thread linking these works, but they add up to one wonderful idea: meaning is doing. In 2015, aged 43, Brotherus made Carpe Fucking Diem, a series and a book confronting a single, outsized ‘issue’ — being a childless woman — in a delirious, atomized way. The works in this series are abject, confrontational, and crass, like Sarah Lucas; or sexy and uncanny quasi-fashion editorial in the Torbjørn Rødland and Wolfgang Tillmans mode; or everyday snapshots of food and life, classical, elegant documentary. Science Class and Science Class 2 are staged fantasies with Brotherus teaching a class of bones in a tumbledown lab, two ice-cold melodramatic images far beyond categorisation. By the time Carpe Fucking Diem is finished, motherhood is no longer a monolith. It is a memory. Elina Brotherus’ engagement with photography—a life practice—is an oeuvre that protects the value of images, protects the image-makers’ gift to deliver clear recordings of life and the world. Clarity is a rare and precious thing in 2020. I am regrettably obliged to mention that imagery—pictures—are a thing under threat as part of the worrying slime of communication, manipulation, ignorance, and general chaos of internet-driven cultural discourse of today. I am happy to say that Elina Brotherus makes art that continues acting like a human being in the world. ◻
THINKING WITH THE LUNGS ECHOES OF FEMINIST DISCOURSE IN THE WORK OF A K DOLVEN
BY FRANCESCA ASTESANI When we meet on Skype, Anne Katrine Dolven is sitting in her studio in Oslo, an industrial building with high ceilings and concrete walls against which her voice reverberates, echoing through to me via virtual space. One of Norway’s most prominent contemporary artists, A K Dolven’s multi-disciplinary practice focuses prominently on sound, often in the form of human voices. “It is not nice to listen to your own voice,” she tells me in a soft tone that I find beautiful and grounding: “in the past, I used other people’s voices, but in recent years I got confident that my voice is one of my instruments. It is practical, easy—I carry it around with me all the time.” I have invited A K Dolven to talk about the recurrent use of voices in her works: opening up a reflection on what it means to metaphorically place the act of thinking in the lungs (the organ where the voice starts as breath) rather than behind the forehead (the site of rational thought). The voice is a unique medium where sonorous materiality overlays and fundamentally transcends the realm of speech. Invisible vibrations travel from the lungs through vocal cords, tongues, and nasal cavities, folding the internal into the external; the same soundwaves that produce sound as meaning, carry within them the uniqueness of the uttering body. Roland Barthes recognised this singularity when he wrote, in 1971, about the ‘grain’ of the voice as a specific trait that is more than mere timbre, something more akin to an ineffable quality of sound that supplements the language of sense. Through these reflections, A K Dolven and I quickly find each other on the same wavelength, and our conversation begins
A K Dolven, JA, as long as i can, 2011, performance, Rio Cinema Dalston, London 8 March 2014. Photo by A K Dolven. Courtesy the artist and Galleri Bo Bjerggaard
with the work JA as long as I can (2013), made in collaboration with the late artist and poet John Giorno. “The piece is about saying yes to life; a will to live,” she tells me: “I met John in Lofoten (where A K Dolven has her second home) and we became friends. We went for long walks and the piece was developed through this walking, talking, and thinking together. So, I went to New York and stayed with John, which was amazing, and we recorded the piece. Initially, we thought we would record it together, but it ended up being done individually—when I had to test the microphone in a very fancy studio, I started saying ja and didn’t stop for 22 minutes. I thought about many things that happened in my life and just went on and on. John recorded his part for the same length of time and the two recordings were overlaid afterwards. They are together but independent, just like two people walking next to each other.” Throughout the repetitions, Giorno’s voice, which starts confident and rhythmic, slowly tires. A K Dolven’s, on the other hand, whose flow is asymmetric from the start, becomes increasingly bodily; partly dissolving into breathing and at points diffusing into the hint of a soft laugh. This dissolution of signification into air is also partially the result of the way the word ja is sometimes uttered in Norwegian, through the sucking in—rather than blowing out—of breath. Here, signifier and signified are both connected and disjointed: ja is at the same time internal and external, semantics, and pure sonorous material. The piece presents the acoustic, empirical, and material relationality of two singular voices, that feminist philosopher Adriana Cavarero holds against the universal, disembodied subject typical of Western metaphysics—a tradition that has reduced the voice to a mere phonetic component in a system of signification. Cavarero focuses on the sonorous materiality of the voice, as well as its intrinsic relationality, as a site of
resistance against the logocentric hierarchical privileging of speech and reason over the bodily. This symbolic patriarchal order, where the vocal is pushed below the semantic, has relegated the sonorous aspect of the voice to the female realm of the body, whilst speech and semantics inhabit the realm of the masculine: ‘woman sings, man thinks’. In a passage reminiscent of Kristeva’s Chora, Cavarero describes the vocal as “the register of an economy of drives that are bound to the rhythms of the body in a way that destabilizes the rational register on which the system of speech is built.” The Chora is the pre-symbolic birthplace of speech where language has its origins in libidinal content and the rhythms of acoustic pleasure, not yet subjugated by rational discourse. This celebration of the erotic power of the voice is found in several of A K Dolven’s pieces, such as in the deep breathing sounds that often accompany her vocal utterances. Another case, which points more directly to the erotic, is the piece Please Return (2014). “This work comes from a very intense personal experience,” she tells me, “but it’s not important to tell the story behind it. For a period, I was walking up in the mountains every day, shouting at the landscape the word Kom! (Come!) and hearing its echo coming back to me. I had to train my voice to be able to shout out loud in the openness of the wide landscape. I was calling something back but the word has also a sexual meaning.” I tell her that the deep echo from the mountains—the sound that returns in layered vibrations that shatter the signified—reminds me of the pulsating qualities of sexual pleasure. The implicit critique of patriarchal codes of language is also connected to the concept of dissonance, another recurrent theme in A K Dolven’s practice. She talks fondly of the series of works titled Out of Tune (2011-2020) in which she ‘saves’ bronze bells that have been discarded from bell towers because they are no longer in tune, bringing them back to the public space as sound sculptures. These pieces make me think of an act of rehabilita-
tion of marginal speech, a rebellious repositioning of the marginal towards the centre, which feels particularly urgent at our present time. It is a poetic reflection on the politics of speech: which are the voices that are allowed to speak out in public? Which ones are heard? A K Dolven’s exploration of the vocal, in its manifestations beyond the space of signification, is a subversive act against the disciplining codes of language. Freeing the voice from the mastery of speech opens up a different space for thinking, where rigid, hierarchical dichotomies are diffused into fleshy vibrations, thinking with the lungs. ◻
“WHICH ARE THE VOICES THAT ARE ALLOWED TO SPEAK OUT IN PUBLIC?” 149
David Sylvester interviews Mandy El-Sayegh
BY DAVID RISLEY In the book Interviews with American Artists by David Sylvester, the critic and curator talked to abstract painters in the early 1960s, mainly asking them the same or very similar banal questions about painting or being a painter. I asked Mandy El-Sayegh to answer the same questions that David Sylvester asked those painters in the 60s. How do those questions travel and how do they work now? Are they still relevant or are they nonsense? Do they translate across time, place, art history, gender, race, context, etc.?
DAVID SYLVESTER: How clear an idea do you have of what the painting is going to be like before you start to paint?
MES: I realised quite early on that I could not paint on a blank surface—whenever this would be attempted, it would fail miserably. All of what had influenced you in your conception of painting infects the picture plane, and it becomes an overly self-conscious act to stand by the easel. So most of my practice is spent figuring out the right methodology for me to not think or implement an idea—in this way, I don’t identify as a painter—as there’s a lack of composition (in my mind)— rather, my work is like a spread that fills a space, something gaseous, responding to an already existing stain in the ground. This could be found stuff, printed forms, disrupting textures. I paint on the floor stepping onto the works as I go so cannot ‘see’ fully what I’ve done until it’s stretched and erected. Not fully seeing while doing helps me not think-paint. In this way, questions of methodology will always be relevant to me when apprehending another artist’s practice; it’s a democratic inquiry. DS: So it’s only when you’ve been working on the picture for a certain amount of time that you begin to see what the picture is going to refer to.
MES: Yes. It’s almost not my choice, but the logical movement, resistance from the original, marks, texture, tones in the ground. DS: So the painting—the kind of painting you do—though abstract, is in some way a metaphor of an attitude to reality, of a feeling of reality?
MES: I guess this applies to all artists working across all forms.
DS: Concerning your work as a whole, do you feel—as many severe abstract artists before you have done, such as Mondrian and Malevich—that the paintings have some meaning beyond their formal qualities?
MES: Yes, for me internally, by projecting multiple layers outwardly beyond form. Painting is one form among others within the practice of experimenting with the plasticity and reinscriptive potential of the fragment or content, which is historically specific but can be treated as fluid. DS: You want the paintings to have a suggestion of possible instability?
MES: Yes.This precarious body in time.
DS: Who do you feel your main influences have been? Barnett Newman, Ken Noland?
MES: This question is fun. I have so many artist influences that none really stand out: I’m influenced by abstract expressionist painters, the way a painting coffee table book is treated. I never saw myself as a painter, more a draughtsman, or play-surgeon. I’d pour over anatomy books as a kid, fascinated by differing depictions; you really become attuned to style, gesture, mannerism when studying the supposed universal that is anatomy. Painting is just one of many forms to explore—a wider notion of the part-towhole relation. Of all the art forms, I think filmmakers influence me the most: John Cassavetes, Altman, Cronenberg, Lynch. All have a distinctive flow, composite bodies in narrative, image, and superimposition—I laugh as I recognise that they are also all white men, in which case, does this undermine the above points of disidentification? DS: What in particular did you feel you were trying to destroy?
MES: Nothing, the exact opposite—in fact, a defaulting to a robust conservative form like painting means preservation to me. I can put things in there, it can serve as a record.
Mandy El-Sayegh, Net-Grid (Jehova 2), 2019, oil and mixed media on linen, 235 x 225.1 cm. Photo by Malle Madsen. Courtesy the artist and Andersenâ€™s
Mandy El-Sayegh, Soft circuit#1, 2016, inkjet on canvas (drawing scan), aluminium artist frame, 160 x 110 cm. Photo by Emerson Utracik. Courtesy the artist and Andersenâ€™s
DS: What led you to such an extreme kind of form?
MES: Extreme in what sense? It is its banality that attracts me. There’s a violence to its entitlement in the history books—I guess in that way, it’s extreme. Listen to a bunch of painters talk, they’re often very much resting on what’s given. DS: What makes you feel that a painting is finished? When do you leave it alone?
MES: For the Net-Grids and vitrines, it will be when I reach the edge like a child colouring inside the lines. If it is a Piece painting (a more figurative anatomical study painting), it’s a bit harder and difficult to articulate— this would be closer to my conception of painting and composition.
DS: But what about stopping it? I mean, when you decide that you’re going to leave a painting alone, can you in a way rationalise or explain what it is that satisfies you?
MES: Not really, you just get the sense that if you add any more, you’d be subtracting from the whole. Sometimes it’s still not ‘done’ at that point and you put it away to ferment a bit. DS: How do you want your pictures to be read? Are they to be read as referring to something outside themselves? Do you mind whether they are? Do you mind whether they are not?
MES: I’d want them to be understood as multi-layered, as they are conceived in method. They will be read within their historical contingencies, with and without me, I can contribute to negotiating this reading but my surname and birthplace already do things.
DS: Are you conscious of particular paintings having particular feeling tones? Particular emotional content? That some might be, say, angry, cheerful, sad.
MES: Yes, I’m conscious of the emotive frequency or ambiguity that the painting is emitting once it’s completed and stretched. Some paintings are devoid of feeling tones, but I guess apathy is a thing too. The voidness is equally as important to the other affective states—I have a body of works called White Grounds that are essentially the Net-Grids in the state before the painted lines. DS: Is it important to you?
MES: More so the perception of difference between something and neutral. DS: When you’ve finished the painting, do you attribute it to any verbalisable feeling? I mean that a particular painting is violent, that a painting is sexual, that a painting is serene, and so on?
DS: There always seems to be this constant of an opposition between this personal handling, the marks, the free marks, with which you proceed to deal with what you began with, and the impersonal conventional elements with which you begin.
MES: The relationship of specificity (from gesture, borrowed gestures of family, historical artefacts, imprinting) to the dominant universal of the framing is a key concern of the practice, yes. DS: What is the difference between seeing when you look around, to seeing when you look at a painting?
MES: The frame judgment. The former is ever-shifting and in flux between subject/ object.
Who are the Black Painters?
MES: It’s not for me to say. We’d have to reassess the terms and definitions of the question. DS:
Is Goya a black painter?
MES: From my perspective, in the sense of a painter dealing with ideas of radical negativity (of spirit, ontology, literal paint), yes. Is he Black, no. (These questions were originally asked by David Sylvester to Franz Kline, Barnett Newmann, Philip Guston, Jasper Johns, Adolph Gotlieb, in a series of individual interviews in the early 1960s. They are collected, with other interviews, in Interviews with American Artists by David Sylvester (New Haven, CA: Yale University Press, 2001)
DAVID RISLEY: Do these questions travel well?
MES: Some do, some don’t, and this is beyond identity politics. I do value the idea of painting being a thing in itself, what posits itself as a universal can have as many exclusions as inclusions, and this is a worthy problem and space to mould and return to. The question of restructuring the question is interesting and important. It’s an artefact of its time that isn’t fully applicable to now. The things that are, are redemptive, I’d like to think, the things that aren’t still allow for movement and subversion. I like big, white male painting partly (partly) because I am not: I struggle with them even on a literal level, but they can be Trojan horses. Many women BIPOC painters may even find my take irksome and quite rightly not want to not let them come into the equation, but I do find it an important point we have not yet traversed—it’s just that it’s not the total sum of its parts. As Sohrab Mohebbi has formulated in a question beautifully: “Who has the right to abstraction?” I do remember growing up here in the UK being continually asked what I am. The question is perplexing today as it ever was. This is still something, a presence to be negotiated—there are no laissez-faire painters. It cannot be afforded today. ◻
Nanna Abell, Continental Clip, 2012,Â latex, polyester, styropor, nylon, cotton. Photo by Absalon Kirkeby. Courtesy the artist and Galleri Susanne Ottesen
Nanna Abell, Bloom, 2018, unpolsteret Getsuen chair by Masanori Umeda. Photo by Mimesis foto. Courtesy the artist and Galleri Susanne Ottesen
Lisa Jonasson Utsรถndring / Secretion, 2020, paper-cut and wood assemblage, 47 x 40 x 7,5 cm. Andemening / Sentence, 2020, paper-cut and wood assemblage, 29 x 29 x 2 cm. Photo by Nora Bencivenni & Felix Berg. Courtesy the artist and Galleri Magnus Karlsson
Hannah Toticki Anbert Gaffelsnudebille (Lixus paraplecticus), 2019, glazed ceramics, textile, wood, paint, app. 50 x 30 x 30 cm. Matgul MĂ¸gbille (Aphodius immundus Creutzer), 2019, glazed ceramics, wool, cotton, polyester, wood, paint, app. 60 x 30 x 15 cm. Photo by David Stjernholm. Courtesy the artist and SPECTA
The Body Beneath * Anna Daniell, Birke Gorm, and Frida Orupabo BY VICTORIA DUFFEE The cruelty of white supremacy, sprinkled everywhere, is not always * The title of this essay is a reference I found while something tangible like a billy club; nor are the microscopic bactediving deep into Frida Orupabo´s ever-evolving ria that can tickle your throat and/or end your life. Recent events catalogue of images on of racial violence and viral death bring more shapeless culprits to Instagram via her page, @neimepebe. It is the light. Parallel to this thought: the body is crucial as it gives form to title of a 1970 horror movie about a vampire life but the “self” that I feel like I am couldn’t be described as a body family, but I think it alone. Art objects (excluding paintings) that deal with the body tend speaks to a second kind of space we occupy. to be critically considered in relation to the corpse. Anna Daniell, Birke Gorm, and Frida Orupabo are three artists that through scale, subject, and presentation make sculptures that are analogous to bodies. However, through their materiality and process, they challenge the reading of the body as a corpse and invite for an engagement with their art that insists on taking the unknowable seriously.
She’s so Lucky, she’s a Star
Anna Daniell spends most of her studio hours planning and organising experiences for her sculptures. Some of them drove in a Tesla with suicide doors; a composer has written music for some; scientists have spent time talking to others. They have rich cultural lives. Even though there is nothing comical about the way they look, they’re funny. I think their experiences affect their energy. Anna describes herself whipping up their forms quickly. Her materials are chosen for their lightness and absorbency of paint. I think she takes for granted the years of practice it took to be able to make something from scratch that will stand up, let alone to control how it looks. Either way, it looks like a lot of rubbing is involved. Anna told me anecdotally about a community that had a secret. When the young people came of age they were told
Anna Daniell, Emma and William, 2017, shoes, radio, candle, clay. Photo by Anna Daniell. Courtesy the artist and Galleri Brandstrup
this secret by the elders. No one outside the community knows the secret. In their form, the works sway towards figuration but then, just before indicating a familiar shape, they become a magnified blobby echo of classical sculpture. Like a gauzy cloth blowing onto a torso carved in marble. Like a person frozen while trying to get out of a bag. Smaller individual components stand alone or intermix with larger forms. Each 3D work has a 2D counterpart, like a mirror only the sculpture can be found in. Years ago, I played music to her sculptures at her solo exhibition SCULPTURE CLUB at Podium, an artist-run space in Oslo. When I went to her studio, one of the works from that show was assembled. I remembered it like an old friend. The forms are the pasta, the experience is the sauce.
Rhythm of the Night
Birke Gorm works in a wide variety of techniques but her materials are limited to natural fibers and chunks of wood and stone. In one series, Common Crazies, her work intersects directly with text as each wall-based work spells out a line from Judy Grahn’s Common Women Poems in ripped-up necktie linings. I think these works are key to understanding Birke’s larger agenda. Her practice is dedicated to recreating labour that has been put onto women throughout time. She languishes in meticulous handmaking, every hour an hour of love. The process suggests that the collective inner lives of women are like streams floating around anywhere; a stream that can be accessed through this kind
of work; and thus, that it offers us the potential to communicate back in time. Her recent figurative sculptures are “stone warrior” assemblages built to the scale and relative weight of a baby. They are made of terracotta stones, building materials washed up on the beach. The sea has rounded their edges as if they were any other stone. Birke compares finding these particular pebbles to foraging. It is believed that women were the foragers of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. I would guess the specifics of gender were more blurry back then, so I’ll go with a feminine-gentile-notinto-stabbing-animals-kind of energy rather than to say it was only women. These stones, the artwork, and action, can exist way longer than any person can expect to. Women’s work gets the raw deal in art in terms of price and attention, obviously! When we spoke on the phone, Birke told me the history of “crazy quilting:” at the turn of the century, particularly in the US, it was popular among women to sew together scraps of fabric freely, making up no specific pattern. Some of the quilts would take years to make, even a lifetime. These emerged around the same time as abstract painting; and I, an American with a Master’s degree in Textile Art, only just learned about them now.
Birke Gorm, Loaf of meat (3109g), 2020, terracotta brick, terracotta pebbles, grains of wheat, fabric, metal parts, 51 × 18 × 10 cm. Photo by Kunst-dokumentation.com. Courtesy the artist and Croy Nielsen
“THEY’RE JUST PAPER— THEY CAN’T BE KILLED!”
Frida Orupabo’s collages create singular images, flattening the differences between time and space. They contain the history and complexities of the global black experience. Though there are visual references to colonial times, it’s important to me to recall that the work is made in a Scandinavian context. Orupabo is Norwegian and each of her works are, in a sense, projections of herself. This is not work about racism in a different context at a different time; it speaks directly to the fact that Norway and Scandinavia are not excluded from racism and white supremacy; no dismissing this as an American problem. Us liberal, bohemian, nice white people must take accountability. Elegance and poetics deliver these hard truths sweetly. The formal beauty of her work is undeniable and when you think about it in the context of recent art history, she manages to overcome the obstacle that took down post-internet art: it translates from the digital to the physical without becoming redundant, decorative or losing its intrinsic value. She talks about the trouble with low resolution in her work. She explains that she ends up having to swap out components, like arms and legs, for others. I think the element of relinquishing control is a way of making peace, and collaborating creatively, with technology. When I saw Frida’s exhibition at Kunstnernes Hus last May, the scale of the paper works mounted onto aluminum felt like they were in the room more than on the wall. This display of the black-and-white imagery is striking and also confrontational. Paradoxically to the claims of this essay, their strange proportions and sometimes contorted postures can look like a mangled body, but their eyes stay open, never blinking, never dying. They’re just paper—they can’t be killed! But what about the souls of the actual individuals in the photos? They were real people, and understanding their placement in history is haunting, and something I am confronted
with under their gaze. Structurally, the system that an artist like Frida Orupabo is supposed to rise up through is broken. Her obvious success is in spite of that: it’s clear that the Scandanavian art world scrambled to meet the demand for her perspective in the market (a perspective that Arthur Jafa was able to identify). That is something white artists, galleries, and institutions should be recognizing in themselves under her artworks’ gazes. I am. The realm of the uncanny and the excitement around artificial intelligence, robotics, and dildos is so tangible and easy to see in action. It may, therefore, be easier to talk and write about such subjects without sounding like an unqualified astrologer. But it’s important to allow for ourselves to interpret the effects that art can have on its environment, and the people who experience it as a real power, so that we can respect human experience and the qualities of life with the same wonder we possess for technological progression, blood and guts. ◻
Frida Orupabo, Untitled, 2019, collage with paper pins mounted on aluminium, 190 x 160 cm. Photo by Carl Henrik Tillberg. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Nordenhake
Arna รttarsdรณttir, Pink Collage (What Can I Do Anyway), 2017, wool, cottolin, linen, 162 x 120 cm. Courtesy the artist and i8 Gallery
Arna รttarsdรณttir, On the Way to Work, 2020, cotton, 30 x 30 cm. Courtesy the artist and i8 Gallery
Guðný Rósa Ingimarsdóttir, comme ça louise? 19/20, 2017, mixed media on paper, 32 x 32 x 1,5 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Hverfisgallerí
Guðný Rósa Ingimarsdóttir, comme ça louise?, 8/20, 2017, mixed media on paper, 32 x 32 x 1,5 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Hverfisgallerí
An installation view of Tacita Deanâ€™s Antigone, 2019, 2 synchronised 35mm anamorphic colour films, optical sound, with a running time of exactly one hour, continuous loop synced to start on the hour. Photo by Anders Sune Berg. Courtesy of Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek and the artist.
Notes on Film as Bronze Tacita Dean Makes Heavy Films… BY VIVIAN RYCROFT Heavy in their sublimity, heavy in their seriousness, heavy in their abiding materiality, etc. All kinds of figurative and literal heaviness get productively confused in Dean’s films, as expedited today by the ubiquity and pre-eminence of digital moving imagery whose own seeming weightlessness renders film’s materiality self-evident. Some nascent thoughts follow. Film is well-rehearsed in critiquing slippages between materialities. The central illusion of filmic moving image is plastic’s tran-
scendence to scintillating light. The plastic remains ingenuously plastic, but propelled at sufficient speed, it dupes your persistence of vision and convinces you of some kind of sublimity. The connivance of the tech with whatever immersive imagery can make for a suspension of disbelief, under the cover of which any number of ulterior fictions might insinuate themselves as truths. Historically, to thwart this deception has meant to out the machinations operating sub rosa—confessing the projector bulb as the source of the
light, say, or affirming the thousand feet of still pictures as chemical, bloomed on plastic. Tacita Dean’s films do this, confess these things: sprockets runnel the edge of the projection; images buckle and opalesce; cut frames are wildly sutured; huge 35mm projectors whir and blaze, irrefutable as anvils. The medium’s materiality is sustained exorbitantly, occasioning a discourse that scopes Marxist dialectics, anti-illusionary cinema, and—discreetly, latterly—the nonpareil conventions of fine art. The matter of Tacita Dean’s films partially stems from here, from both an anachronistic medium (the fight for whose existence comprises Dean’s activism) and a broader sense of Materialism in general (as a philosophy whose expository capacity is found in literal apprehension, tangibility). It’s something that seems rather obviated today, if simply because tangibility—and maybe literality per se—is an increasingly unattainable means of access to, and analogue for, truth: materiality is profoundly complicated by digitality. To that end, Tacita Dean’s films are rarities holding ground almost entirely repudiated by digital media. Digital video upgrades moving image’s grift from sleight of hand to wholesale dematerialisation. Literal deconstruction is not possible, cannot neatly model deconstruction. Metaphoric, material signifiers are textual skeuomorphs: ‘uncovering’, ‘unveiling’, ‘revealing’, ‘unpacking’, ‘exposing’, are all haunted by their long-gone analogues. It is not possible to reveal the guts of digital moving imagery as a means of elucidating—and thus empowering—an audience to comprehend the reality of the medium, and to draw parallels with other material lies. Not that the materiallyfounded critique of the moving image is gone, but that complex contemporary materiality requires recasting in light of what digitality does. I think this is also pertinent when it comes to language, and particularly, how we plumb etymology and unconsciously sequence semiotic processes. Skeuomorphism means a confusion and a loss. Things are very specific, but that specificity is no longer as consequence to a means now entirely made obsolete by, say, an economically expedient digital process. The speed of obsolescence means that Tacita Dean’s materialism is rendered historical despite being made now. I mean, Dean’s films come out minted Classics or otherwise essays about—and of—the past. A kind of immersive museology, as contemporary discourse the films are obviated. This is no bad thing. In fact, I’d warrant that it’s precisely Dean’s films’ materialist obviation that facilitates their terrific success. There’s relief from a peremptory performance of truth,
Tacita Dean, Craneway Event, 2010, photogravure, 252 x 98 cm. Photo by BORCH Editions. Courtesy the artist and BORCH Editions
Tacita Dean, Quatemary, 2014, photogravure, 235 x 685 cm. Photo by Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris. Courtesy the artist and BORCH Editions
specifically regarding the unfettering of film’s ambitions. With traditional critical materiality ghosted by digitality, all that gorgeous film stock can be re-sublimated, those vast projectors made spectacular, and the non-diegetic flicker of the gate reincorporated within the fictional diegesis of an art installation whose contemporary salience is elsewhere. Even as Dean campaigns to preserve her medium as of contemporary importance, her medium’s real-world disuse serves her artistic endeavors extraordinarily well: scarcity and practical redundancy (not to mention economic untenability) are paradigmatic conditions of successful art. There’s an irony to the movement of a medium from mechanical reproducibility to something cusping unique, endangered, and handmade. It’s perverse, even as the handicraft harks back to a time when tactile interaction with industrially produced material was a way to protest its homogeneity, its mass influence. Revelation has, now, been wrested from the artist and been preemptively enacted by historical process and technological succession. Rather than being a site for modelling radical engagement with the world and its representations, materialist film made today should, I’d contest, more appropriately be compared to a painting than to a digital video—film’s worth is increasingly literal rather than conceptual. As mooted above, the movement from conceptualism to literalism as regards the purpose of material disclosure affords a new kind of ersatz super-positioning of previously oppositional aspects of the moving image. Namely, the illusion and the reality. If revealing the material of film used to productively ruin the illusion, the superseding of film’s illusion by digital media’s magic reworks both the material and the appearance of film as similarly aesthetic. This means that Dean’s new films in particular are afforded a fresh license to be as spectacular and sublime as she likes. Filmic moving image made in the time of the digital moving image transcends its material by representing the tics of anti-illusionary approach as neutered—mere tropes to signify. The skeuomorphs of some artisanal fetish, like sourdough or craft beer. All of this to say nothing of the subjects of Tacita Dean’s films. ◻
Anni Leppälä, Mirror (Distance), 2014, pigment print on aluminum, 34,5 x 45,8 cm. © Anni Leppälä. Courtesy of Persons Projects
Niina Vatanen, Composition Studies (Lines), 2014, chromogenic colour print, 63 x 84,5 cm. ÂŠ Niina Vatanen. Courtesy of Persons Projects
Sanna Kannisto, Cyanocommpsa cyanoides, 2019, 160 x 120 cm. ÂŠ Sanna Kannisto. Courtesy of Persons Projects
Ulla Jokisalo, New Vistas, 2018, cut-out archival pigment print, 59 x 46 cm. ÂŠ Ulla Jokisalo. Courtesy of Persons Projects
Sandra Kantanen, Untitled (Sakura 7), 2019, pigment print, 56 x 46 cm. ÂŠ Sandra Kantanen. Courtesy of Persons Projects
Teea Saanio, Mirage, Digital collage, archival pigment print, 109 x 109 cm. © Teea Saanio. Courtesy of Persons Projects
Eeva Karhu, Path (seasons), Autumn 3, 2017, c-print, diasec, 100 x 160 cm. © Eeva Karhu. Courtesy of Persons Projects
DEAR CARMEN, DEAR MARIE A LETTER FROM NANNA FRIIS TO CARMEN HERERRA AND MARIE SØNDERGAARD LOLK
Today I looked at green and white, pale yellow and almost invisible blue, and a burgundy of death. These colours are yours. As any other shade or emotion, they’re also everyone else’s—they belong to no one only, but on some specific surfaces they emerged from you. Six decades separate your lives but somehow your languages, vivid and vague, approach each other. Their public visibility shares this century in a way as grotesque as the masculine blindness of the previous. 105 and 38 years of looking and adding to two different realities: paint, strength, peace, layers of attention. To look is to collect knowledge with your body: I want to do that, I want to open my eyes to the fact that you two are not similar, but to me, you seem braided together across oceans and means. This is not about me. This is about silence. The history of femme is silence or silent or silencing (unfortunately for everyone), and while this history is a lie, it is also urgent and beautiful to insist on the power of the quiet. It can be enforced or deliberate and maybe this is where your eras divide you. A Cuban painter in an epicenter of male ego and quadratic dick: New York minimalism. A Danish painter in the 21st century Copenhagen softness. How severely
do surroundings affect expression? It seems obvious and naive to think: very. Your lines, Carmen, straight and radical and persistently unwatched, manifested themselves as a confident vitality years before the New York men came up with their geometry. Paintings as bright stings, definitive rather than fickle, “I will always be in awe of the straight line,” you said. The persistence of these lines and flat, strong colour; your productivity, your unquestionable entitlement; none of this is quiet, but the lack of eyes is silencing. I like to think that overall, you didn’t mind this, but I’m probably romanticizing the act of fighting gendered disregard. Probably indulging myself in imagining it as a calm and elevated practice, self-worth in abundance, because this is how your art looks. It demands gazes but didn’t get any for half a century, and in the mere outrageousness of that fact, it moves me to think of art existing without being seen. A strong-willed urge for aesthetics and making, not depending on visibility. Is this also to romanticise? This is the brutal reality of any femme wanting to shape her sensibilities until heartbreakingly recently. Evidently, the quiet doesn’t equal hesitation. Isn’t painting the loudest of languages? For centuries, various editions of male, vir-
Carmen Herrera, Yellow and Blue,1965, acrylic on canvas with painted frame. 61 x 99 cm / 24 x 39 in. ÂŠ Carmen Herrera; Courtesy Lisson Gallery
Marie SĂ¸ndergaard Lolk, Seamless-maps-Summer-leafing, marker pen, pen, acrylic, silk paper, foam board, 23 x 30,5 cm. Photo by David Stjernholm. Courtesy the artist and Galleri Susanne Ottesen
tuous yelling covered the canvases, and ultimately it still does. Then and now, serene practices seem radical. Reduction, the anti-gesture, becomes striking. Marie, looking at your paintings feels like looking at absence. It feels elegant to sense the accurate peace, some kind of restraint in your delicate surfaces, while also noticing that these words don’t imply weakness or fragility. The fragile rather lives in materials destined to crack: a beautiful resistance to the (masculine) yearn for eternity. Thinness and transparency and vague colours, expressions whose certain visibility still seems unafraid of not being seen. Is the tranquil even a vibe you pursue? Assumptions too entitled tend to make me uneasy—especially my own. Ruptures in my confidence or a sincere love of doubt. I suppose that neither lack of confidence nor any tangible doubt affect your process. I don’t know anything about your process but it appears embedded in the accumulations and nonappearances in your work. To perceive how something became its form instead of seeing the finished form only. How much effort does it take to leave the realm of the canvas, frame, and everything big? Maybe, presumably, a lessening of the ego cannot be decided or momentarily occupied as a counter position to the constant truth-claims of male art history; presumably it must be rooted in you and emerge from an effort similar to that of rain. I’m thinking if perseverance is something you share, you both seem to work along the lines of almost stoic femininity, and this is not an attempt to diminish your art to a gender and binary blinkers: your concerns are global and true; they’re independent of time yet to some extent affected by the circumstance that the world was/ is of men. This circumstance is violent, but Carmen, you seem to show no signs of bitterness towards your contemporaries’ unforgivable ignorance (or you hide it very well). Either way, I admire it as a way of existing “above” the rest that I would never be able to access. I admire your reductions separated by style and methods and half a century; the material and figurative sparseness—is it meant for investigative gazes or a sensibility beyond looking for the loud? Opaque, lasting, and unlasting thresholds of other possibilities for painting than mere ego forever. Dear Marie, dear Carmen, you are your own and separate forces of quietness, distinction, and considered making, but across everything that sets you apart, do you also recognise a mutual relation to absence? Absence of matter, absence of eyes. This, to me, is vulnerable beauty. ◻
EDITION COPENHAGEN 1.
Elizabeth Peyton Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili, 2015, original lithograph, printed on 300g Velin d’Arches paper, 82 x 63,5 cm. 20 ex. numbered and signed by the artist.
Mamma Andersson Munk, 2017, original lithograph, printed on 300g Velin d’Arches paper, 82,5 x 69 cm. 50 ex. numbered and signed by the artist.
Wangechi Mutu Snake Eater, 2014, original lithograph, printed on 300g Velin d’Arches paper, 69 x 100 cm. 60 ex. numbered and signed by the artist.
Andrea Büttner No Title, 2016, original lithograph, printed on 250g Steinbach paper, 100 x 69 cm. 100 ex. numbered and signed by the artist.
Candida Höfer Conservatoire Royal Bruxelles, 2010, original lithograph / photo lithograph, printed on 250g Velin d’Arches paper, 67 x 74,5 cm. 100 ex. numbered and signed by the artist.
Katharina Grosse No Title, 2007, original lithograph, printed on 300g Velin d’Arches paper, 100 x 70 cm. 19 ex. numbered and signed by the artist.
Rina Banerjee No Title, 2011, original lithograph, printed on 300g Velin d’Arches paper, 100 x 70 cm. 75 ex. numbered and signed by the artist.
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster Untitled (Rosa), 2016, original lithograph / photo lithograph, printed on 300g Velin d’Arches paper, 68 x 68 cm. 100 ex. numbered and signed by the artist.
Mona Hatoum Untitled (fence, mirrored), 2018, original lithograph, printed on mirri board, 59,5 x 47,8 cm. 20 ex. numbered and signed by the artist.
10. Katharina Sieverding MATON SOLARISATION XI/XII 1969 (Diptych), 2015, original lithograph / photo lithograph, printed on 300g Velin d’Arches paper, 100 x 68 cm (each). 60 ex. numbered and signed by the artist 11. Chiharu Shiota, No Title, 2015, original lithograph, printed on 300g Velin d’Arches paper, 100 x 67,5 cm. 60 ex. numbered and signed by the artist. Photos by Lars Gundersen. Courtesy the artist and Edition Copenhagen
ARTISTS BIOGRAPHIES A K DOLVEN Born 1953, Norway. Lives and works in Oslo and Lofoten, Norway. A K Dolven’s work is based on a view of nature characteristic of romantic artists from the 18th and 19th century, while her motifs and formal expressions often reflect the work of Nordic artists such as Edvard Munch and Peder Balke. Work by the artist is represented in collections that include Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (DK), ARKEN — Museum of Modern Art (DK), Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art (FI), Art Institute of Chicago (US), Philadelphia Museum of Art (US), and Kunsthalle Bern (CH). Galleri Bo Bjerggaard, DK +45 33 93 42 21 email@example.com bjerggaard.com
ANASTASIA AX Born 1979, Sweden. Lives and works in Stockholm. Anastasia Ax utilizes her own body as a tool when creating her installations through expressive performances. Her confrontational work navigates vast bodies of harmless materials such as paper, plaster, and paint—transforming them through force into new formations. Ax’s work has been shown at several Swedish and international venues including Moderna Museet Stockholm (SE), Moderna Museet Malmö (SE), Göteborgs Konsthall (SE), Neue Galerie Graz (AT) and Reyjkavík Art Museum (IS). Gallery Steinsland Berliner, SE +46 735 025 524 firstname.lastname@example.org steinslandberliner.com
ANDREA BÜTTNER Born 1972, Stuttgart, Germany. Lives and works in Berlin. Andrea Büttner’s work is conceptually oriented and asks questions about how art functions in culture, but also about
how it operates as a psychological phenomenon for the individual maker or viewer. Büttner was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2017 and has had numerous exhibitions worldwide. Her work is in the collections of institutions including the Aspen Art Museum (US), MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst (DE), Museum of Modern Art, New York (US), and Tate (UK). Edition Copenhagen, DK +45 32 54 33 11 email@example.com editioncopenhagen.com
ANE GRAFF Born 1974, Bodø, Norway. Lives and works in Oslo. Ane Graff’s practice is informed by feminist new materialism: a re-thinking of our material reality, in which a process-oriented approach to matter plays an integral part. Her work traces lines between Western intellectual history and how ideas of human exceptionalism and dualism relate to the ecological disasters we face today. Recent exhibitions include the 58th Venice Biennale (IT) and Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art (FI). Upcoming exhibitions include the Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art 2020 (UK), the Rhizome/New Museum/Stavanger Kunsthall collaboration 7x7 (NO). OSL contemporary, NO +47 23 27 06 76 firstname.lastname@example.org oslcontemporary.com
ANNA BJERGER Born 1973, Skallsjö, Sweden. Lives and works in Sweden. Anna Bjerger bases her paintings on forgotten photographic originals, and her work describes a balance between extremes. It contains the psychological content of the image and the physical aspects of the painting. The narrative evolves, arriving at new meanings through the language of painting. What
rests in darkness is brought back into the light and through this, the perishable moment is extended. Recent exhibitions include Gl. Holtegaard (DK) and Le Manoir (FR). Work by the artist is included in collections such as Moderna Museet (SE), Stedelijk Museum (NL), Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (DK), and SMK National Gallery of Denmark. Anna Bjerger is represented by Galleri Magnus Karlsson in Stockholm and Galleri Bo Bjerggaard in Copenhagen. Galleri Magnus Karlsson, SE +46 8 660 4353 email@example.com gallerimagnuskarlsson.com Galleri Bo Bjerggaard, DK +45 33 93 42 21 firstname.lastname@example.org bjerggaard.com
ANNA DANIELL Born 1978, Norway. Lives and works in Oslo. Anna Daniell’s artworks explore the human importance of art and objects in our time. She creates staged situations between the audience and her art to turn the accustomed perspective that objects are merely something we, as humans, create and use—and not something that influences, helps, and shapes us. Daniell is currently working on a permanent site-specific commission for Oslo City Hall. She has previously exhibited at the Norwegian Sculpture Biennial (NO), Manifesta 11 (CH) Kunsthall Trondheim (NO), and Stavanger Kunstmuseum (NO). Galleri Brandstrup, NO +47 22 54 54 54 email@example.com brandstrup.no
ANNA FRO VODDER Born 1974, Denmark. Lives and works in Copenhagen. Anna Fro Vodder works with a range of media, drawing on poetry to enhance her works. In her own words: “Materiality and words belong together. Forms, colours, and words intervene, generate new spaces, new contexts.” Vodder works between abstraction and performance. She is preoccupied with organic, growing structures, and works with themes of time, presence, and distance. Recent exhibitions include Huset for Kunst og Design (DK), Horsens Museum of Art (DK), and The Black Diamond Royal Library (DK). Andersen’s, DK +45 53 53 69 29 firstname.lastname@example.org andersenscontemporary.dk
ANNE-KARIN FURUNES Born 1961, Norway. Lives and works in Trondheim. Anne-Karin Furunes creates portraits of individuals who have been forgotten or silenced in history, using only canvas and light as material. Furunes has developed a signature technique by perforating a canvas painted with black acrylic with thousands of holes. Solo exhibitions include shows at Millesgården (SE) and Trondheim Kunstmuseum (NO). Her work is held in numerous public and private art collections including The Museum of Arts and Design, New York (US), Palazzo Fortuny (IT), and Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art (FI). Galerie Anhava (FI) +358 9 669 989 email@example.com anhava.com
ANNI LEPPÄLÄ Born 1981, Finland. Lives and works in Helsinki. Anni Leppälä’s interest in photography lies in “its capacity to transform its subjects.” Through the testing of frontiers imposed by our rational understanding of things, Leppälä has developed a deep and rich visual program of signature style.
Her recent solo exhibitions include the Kunstverein Schwäbisch Hall (DE), Centre d ́art Gwinzegal (FR), and Photo Festival Ghent (BE). Persons Projects, DE +49 30 2888 3370 firstname.lastname@example.org personsprojects.com
APICHAYA WANTHIANG Born 1987, Thailand. Lives and works in Oslo. Apichaya Wanthiang works with a range of media, including painting, installations, architecture, video, and movements. Wanthiang constructs environments and studies how they influence our perceptions, behaviours, and interactions. She pays attention to the landscapes we surround ourselves with, the atmosphere and weather conditions in which we exist, the narratives that we share, and how we choose to (re)tell them. Wanthiang has previously exhibited at Kristiansand Kunsthall (SE), Kunsthall Oslo (NO), Heimdal Kunstforening (NO), and Taipei Performing Arts Center (TW). Galleri Brandstrup, NO +47 22 54 54 54 email@example.com brandstrup.no
ARNA ÓTTARSDÓTTIR Born 1986, Iceland. Lives and works in Reykjavík. Arna Óttarsdóttir creates her works in various mediums but most prominently weaving. Subjects are often sourced from everyday life and she frequently works with the tension between what is considered precious and insignificant. Óttarsdóttir has exhibited at The Living Art Museum (IS), Akureyri Art Museum (IS), Harbinger and Kunstschlager (IS), Kling og Bang (IS), Árbær Open Air Museum (IS), and Reykjavík Arts Festival (IS). i8 Gallery, IS +354 551 3666 firstname.lastname@example.org i8.is
BIRKE GORM Born 1986, Germany. Lives and works in Vienna. Birke Gorm’s work deals with Western concepts of interior/exterior, the domestic and the outdoors, and thereby addresses social norms, gender representations, and class relations. She is inspired by decorative handicrafts and amateur art, and by the iconography of ancient to contemporary painting history. Group exhibitions include Belvedere 21 (AT), aqb Project Space (HU), Galerie der Stadt Schwaz (AT). Upcoming solo exhibitions include Politikens Forhal (DK) and MQ Art Box, Museumsquartier (AT). Croy Nielsen, AT +43 676 653 0074 email@example.com croynielsen.com
B. INGRID OLSON Born 1987, Denver, United States. Lives and works in Chicago. Using elements of photography, sculpture, and performance, B. Ingrid Olson’s work explores the boundaries between bodies and spaces. In her studio, she records her body as it moves—shifting in relationship to its surroundings. Her works have been exhibited at HenieOnstad Kunstsenter (NO), Aspen Art Museum (US), MCA — The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (US), Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo (US), The Renaissance Society, Chicago (US), and MoMA — Museum of Modern Art (US). i8 Gallery, IS +354 551 3666 firstname.lastname@example.org i8.is
BRIGITTE WALDACH Born 1966, Germany. Lives and works in Berlin.. Brigitte Waldach works very deliberately with defined frameworks, designs, and materials. Her drawings are usually created with red pen on handmade paper in a certain format. Recently she has developed and loosened her expression, although she still relates to her artistic work in a dogmat-
ic and extremely disciplined manner. Waldach’s work is represented in collections including the Albertina Museum (AT), Altana Kulturstiftung (DE), ARoS (DK), Berlinische Galerie (DE), and Museum of Modern Art (DE). Galleri Bo Bjerggaard, DK +45 33 93 42 21 email@example.com bjerggaard.com
CAMILLA VUORENMAA Born 1979, Tampere, Finland. Lives and works in Helsinki. Stories are the basis of Camilla Vuorenmaa’s work, in which she depicts people and humanity. These stories come to life through portraits of humans and animals. Vuorenmaa challenges the physical and traditional boundaries of painting. Her carved wood paintings are hybrids of sculpture and painting that require time and physical strength to create. Vuorenmaa has exhibited at EMMA — Espoo Museum of Modern Art (FI), Helsinki Art Museum (FI), Gothenburg Museum of Art (SE), Kunsthal Charlottenborg (DK), and Mänttä Art Festival (FI). Helsinki Contemporary, FI +358 9 278 5301 firstname.lastname@example.org helsinkicontemporary.com
CANDIDA HÖFER Born 1944, Germany. Lives and works in Cologne. Candida Höfer is known for her largescale colour images of empty interiors. The artist focuses primarily on cultural and institutional spaces, including libraries, zoos and opera houses. These spaces are often absent of, or sparsely populated by, human figures. She has held numerous solo exhibitions throughout Europe and the US, and her work has been included in exhibitions at MoMA — Museum of Modern Art (US), Documenta XI (DE), Ludwig Museum (DE), amongst many others. Edition Copenhagen, DK +45 32 54 33 11 email@example.com editioncopenhagen.com
CARMEN HERRERA Born 1915, Cuba. Lives and works in New York. Having achieved success late in life — Carmen Herrera sold her first piece at the age of 89 — she is today considered a major figure in geometric abstraction. Though highly prolific throughout her life, she remained largely unknown until MoMA — Museum of Modern Art (US) acquired one of her paintings in 2004. Herrera’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art (US), Tate (UK), and Hirshhorn Museum (US). Edition Copenhagen, DK +45 32 54 33 11 firstname.lastname@example.org editioncopenhagen.com
CHANTAL JOFFE Born 1969, England. Lives and works in the UK. Chantal Joffe brings a combination of insight and integrity, as well as psychological and emotional force, to the genre of figurative art. Almost always depicting women or girls, Joffe’s draws inspiration from photos of friends, fashion magazines and works of other artists. Joffe’s work has been shown recently at National Portrait Gallery (UK), Whitechapel Gallery, London (UK), Sara Hilden Art Museum (FI), and the National Gallery of Iceland (IS). Edition Copenhagen, DK +45 32 54 33 11 email@example.com editioncopenhagen.com
CHARLOTTE BRÜEL Born 1945, Denmark. Lives and works in Kongelunden, Denmark. Brüel debuted at Kunsthal Charlottenborg’s Spring Exhibition in 1968. A few months before in 1967, she resigned from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in protest against the conditions of women and the gender roles at the institution. This marked the beginning of a long and refined art practice that has evolved quietly but steadily – in parallel to the established Danish art scene.
Brüel has exhibited at the September Exhibition (DK), Sophienholm (DK), Kvinde-galleriet, Copenhagen, (DK), New Nordic Art, Moscow, (RU), Museumshallen, Krystalgade (DK), and Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art (DK). Nils Stærk, DK +45 32 54 45 62 firstname.lastname@example.org nilsstaerk.dk
CHIHARU SHIOTA Born 1972, Osaka, Japan. Lives and works in Berlin. Using woven yarn, Chiharu Shiota combines performance, body art, and installations in a process that places the body at its centre. Her artistic approach plays with the notions of temporality, movement, and dreams, and demands engagement from the viewer, both physical and emotional. Shiota has exhibited widely including at the New Museum of Jakarta (ID), The Smithsonian, Washington DC (US), and Kochi Museum of Art (JP). In 2015 Shiota represented Japan at the 56th Venice Biennale (IT). Edition Copenhagen, DK +45 32 54 33 11 email@example.com editioncopenhagen.com
CLARE WOODS Born 1972, England. Lives and works in London. Using oil on aluminium, Clare Woods manipulates qualities of flatness and three-dimensionality, twisting foreground and background to create nuanced and surreal imagery that connects the viewer to subconscious states of mind. Her paintings are essentially concerned with sculpting an image in paint and expressing the strangeness of an object. Recent solo exhibitions include Dundee Contemporary Arts (UK), Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Center (UK), Hestercombe Gallery (UK), and Pallant House (UK). Martin Asbæk Gallery +45 33 15 40 45 firstname.lastname@example.org martinasbaek.com
DARJA BAJAGIĆ Born 1990, Podgorica, Montenegro. Lives and works in Chicago. Darja Bajagić explores loaded questions of embodiment, power relations, and viewership, all the while interrogating our need to hold images accountable. This has been a key undercurrent to a practice that spans painting, installation, sculpture, and video. Bajagić’s compositions hold a mirror to a sinister world that, despite its aspirations towards liberal advancement, is inflicted by the fetishism of cruelty and exploitation. She has had solo exhibitions at institutions including Hessel Museum of Art, New York (US), and Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien (AT) Galleri Golsa, NO +47 99 78 74 75 email@example.com golsa.no
DITTE EJLERSKOV Born 1982, Denmark. Lives and works in Skælskør, Denmark. Following years of figurative painting, depicting some of the female pop icons of our time, Ditte Ejlerskov has been in the process of cleansing her practice from external inspiration like mainstream culture, politics, general fear, and expectation related input. Ejlerskov’s work has been exhibited widely, including Malmö Konsthall (SE), Röda Sten Konsthall (SE), Kristiansand Kunsthall (NO), ARKEN — Museum of Modern Art (DK), Kunsten — Museum of Modern Art (DK), MASP — Museum of Art of São Paulo (BR), and Bonn Art Museum (DE). SPECTA, DK +45 33 13 01 23 firstname.lastname@example.org specta.dk
DOMINIQUE GONZALEZ-FOERSTER Born 1965, Strasbourg, France. Lives and works in Paris and Rio de Janeiro. Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster is known for her great variety of work in video projection, photography, and spatial
installations. Gonzalez-Foerster’s practice is restlessly cross-disciplinary, taking cues from film, literature, architecture, philosophy, and critical theory. Her works are included in numerous museum collections including Centre Pompidou (FR), Fondation Louis Vuitton (FR), Dia Art Foundation (US), Moderna Museet (SE), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (US), and Tate Modern (UK). Edition Copenhagen, DK +45 32 54 33 11 email@example.com editioncopenhagen.com
EEVA KARHU Born 1980, Kirkkonummi, Finland. Lives and works in Helsinki. Eeva Karhu uses the photographic process as a receptor for collecting the passage of time. Photographing her daily walking route, layering one photograph upon another, she creates an image of what one month would look like, continuing the process throughout the year. The images become abstract and have the feeling of an impressionistic painting. Karhu’s works have been exhibited at the Finnish Museum of Photography (FI), The Lahti Art Museum (FI), and the Finnish Institute Stockholm (SE). Persons Projects, DE +49 30 2888 3370 firstname.lastname@example.org personsprojects.com
Recent solo exhibitions include Sorø Art Museum (DK), National Gallery of Iceland (IS), Centre Pompidou, Paris (FR) Museum Hundertwasser, Vienna (AT), Centre pour la Photographie Contemporaine, Brussels (BE). Elina Brotherus is represented by Martin Asbæk Gallery in Copenhagen and Persons Projects in Berlin. Martin Asbæk Gallery +45 33 15 40 45 email@example.com martinasbaek.com Persons Projects, DE +49 30 2888 3370 firstname.lastname@example.org personsprojects.com
ELIZABETH PEYTON Born 1965, US. Lives and works in Long Island, New York. Elizabeth Peyton is best known for her intimate, small-scale portraits of celebrities, friends, and historical figures. Characterized by transparent washes of pigment and a jewel-tone palette, Peyton’s works address notions of idolatry and obsession. Her work has been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery (UK), MoMA — Museum of Modern Art (US), Whitney Museum of American Art (US), and the Centre Pompidou, Paris (FR). Edition Copenhagen, DK +45 32 54 33 11 email@example.com editioncopenhagen.com
ELINA BROTHERUS Born 1972, Finland. Lives and works in Paris and Helsinki.
EMMA HELLE Born 1979, Stockholm. Lives and works in Helsinki.
In works alternating between autobiographical and art-historical approaches, the photography of Finnish artist Elina Brotherus examines the relationship between the artist and the model, as well as between the human figure and the landscape. Brotherus frequently makes homages to other artists or artworks, for example by incorporating Fluxus Event scores and other written instructions for performance-oriented art of the 1950s70s, thereby making her own absurdly humourous renditions.
Emma Helle is a sculptor who casts the spotlight on marginalized creatures, usually relegated to secondary status in art history. She portrays cherubs and feminine spirits in the starring role, as active agents. She lends soft, curvaceous shapes to the feminine bodies with a richness of expression that evokes canonical works from art history. Her work is represented in private and public collections, including the State Art Collection (FI), HAM — Helsinki Art Museum (FI), and the Pro Artibus Col-
lection (FI). She has been exhibited in the Turku Art Museum (FI) and EMMA — Espoo Museum of Modern Art (FI). Galerie Forsblom, FI +358 9 680 3700 firstname.lastname@example.org galerieforsblom.com
EVAMARIE LINDAHL Born 1976, Viken, Sweden. Lives and works in Malmö, Sweden.
ESSI KUOKKANEN Born 1991, Pieksämäki, Finland. Lives and works in Helsinki.
EvaMarie Lindahl’s research-driven art projects are situated in the intersection of Critical Animal Studies, the visual arts, and activism. Through her projects, Lindahl is recurrently questioning the writing of art history from an anthropocentric and patriarchal position by correcting, re-writing, and imagining new (art) histories.
The visible world and its norms are questioned in Essi Kuokkanen’s works, in which the viewer comes across sweating or weeping flowers, and a lemon suffering from its own reflection. Sweat and tears as secretions give everyday goods a human aspect.
EvaMarie Lindahl has exhibited in numerous institutions including Malmö Konsthall (SE), Uppsala Art Museum (SE), Lund Konsthall (SE), Ystad Art Museum (SE), Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art (DK), and MASP — Museum of Art of São Paulo (BR).
Her works are included in the collections of the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art (FI) and the collection of the Finnish State Art Commission (FI). Kuokkanen was awarded the Ducat Prize of the Finnish Art Society in 2019. Galerie Anhava (FI) +358 9 669 989 email@example.com anhava.com
EVA SCHLEGEL Born 1960 Tyrol, Austria. Lives and works in Vienna. Eva Schlegel works in different media: photography, objects, installations, glass and lead. Characteristic of her works are her black and white photographs, transformed from negative and positive film and then transferred onto lead plates in such a way that they almost vanish in blue and green nuances. Schlegel’s work is represented in collections including Albertina Museum (AT), MCA — Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (US), Museum of Modern Art (AT), Norton Museum of Art, Miami (US), Ferdinandeum (AT), New York Public Library (US), and Teutloff Photo + Video Collection (DE). Galleri Bo Bjerggaard, DK +45 33 93 42 21 firstname.lastname@example.org bjerggaard.com
SPECTA, DK +45 33 13 01 23 email@example.com specta.dk
FRANCES GOODMAN Born 1975, South Africa. Lives and works in Johannesburg. Frances Goodman’s practice includes installation, photography, sculpture, and sound installations, and focuses primarily on women and contemporary notions of beauty and desire. Her interests lie in female identity and the anxieties that manifest in the bombardment of the media, societal expectations, and pressures, both self-imposed and external. Desire and morality are underlying themes and talk to the push-pull of our contemporary society. Upcoming exhibitions include Palais de Tokyo (FR) and SMAC Gallery (SA). She has exhibited at the National Museum of African Art — Smithsonian Institution (US), and Zeitz MOCAA (SA).
alism, and identity. Employing image platforms as both source and tool, Orupabo engages in the simultaneously monolithic and splintered abundance of images that define race and gender. Orupabo’s work has been exhibited at Serpentine Gallery (UK), Portikus (DE), Moderna Museet (SE), Pinakothek der Moderne (DE), Museum Ludwig (DE), Museum of Art and History (CH), and the 58th edition of the Venice Biennale (IT). Galerie Nordenhake, SE/DE +46 8 21 18 92 firstname.lastname@example.org nordenhake.com
GUÐNÝ RÓSA INGIMARSDÓTTIR Born 1969 in Iceland. Lives and works in Brussels.. Guðný Rósa Ingimarsdóttir shows a macro and micro version of the world, which stands for inner and outer sentiments. Pain, marvellment of the simplest things, acceptance, and mechanism are some key words to describe feelings that lead her to creation. Ingimarsdóttir is inspired by personal experiences and feelings while showing universal emotions such as vulnerability and doubt. Her works have been exhibited in solo and group shows in Iceland and Europe. In 2020, Ingimarsdóttir had a solo exhibition titled some things... at ISELP Contemporary Art Center in Brussels (BE). Hverfisgallerí, IS +354 537 4007 email@example.com hverfisgalleri.is
HANNA HANSDOTTER Born 1984, Sweden. Lives and works in Småland, Sweden.
FRIDA ORUPABO Born 1986, Sarpsborg, Norway. Lives and works in Oslo.
Hanna Hansdotter’s work are produced in a historically significant Swedish area dubbed Glasriket (Glass country), and is a contemporary take on a centuriesold tradition of industrial glass blowing. Her practice is a self-described exploration of the nexus between craft and mass production. Industrial production methods guided by artistic intentions.
Frida Orupabo explores themes of race, gender, sexuality, violence, post-coloni-
Hansdotter’s work is represented in the collection of the National Museum of
SPECTA, DK +45 33 13 01 23 firstname.lastname@example.org specta.dk
Fine Arts (SE) and she has previously exhibited in Form/Design Center (SE) and The Glassery (SE). Gallery Steinsland Berliner, SE +46 735 025 524 email@example.com steinslandberliner.com
HANNAH TOTICKI ANBERT Born 1984, Denmark. Lives and works in Hvalsø, Denmark & Berlin. In Hannah Toticki Anbert’s sculpture, performance, and installation-based works, she often uses the powerful visual codes of fashion and theatre, preferably combining her thought-provoking yet homorous work with performance, lecture, text, video, and music. Anbert uses her artistic production to offer us a critical view on society, production, and social habits. Anbert was awarded the StartPoint Prize for most promising new European artist at the Prague National Gallery (CZ) in 2016.. Her works have been included in exhibitions at Malmö Museum of Art (SE), ARKEN — Museum of Modern Art (DK), Holstebro Kunstmuseum (DK), and she has upcoming exhibitions in Germany, the US, and Estonia. SPECTA, DK +45 33 13 01 23 firstname.lastname@example.org specta.dk
HARPA ÁRNADÓTTIR Born 1965, Iceland. Lives and works in Reykjavík. Harpa Árnadóttir’s known for her paintings, both those she calls “crack paintings” and those rendered in watercolour on paper and canvas. Both involve experimental study into surface and transparency. The foundation of her work, however, is often the relationship between painting and literature, more specifically the idea that painting can be considered a visual poetry. Árnadóttir’s works have been exhibited in museums throughout Europe and featured at the first Gothenburg Biennial (SE) and Momentum, the 6th Nordic Biennial of Contemporary Art (NO).
Hverfisgallerí, IS +354 537 4007 email@example.com hverfisgalleri.is
HILDUR BJARNADÓTTIR Born 1969, Iceland. Lives and works in Reykjavík and Flóahreppur. Hildur Bjarnadóttir investigates issues of belonging, ecology, place, and cohabitation with animals and plants in the south of Iceland. The plants function as recording devices that take in information from the ecological and social systems they belong to, through soil and air. This information becomes visible by extracting colour from the plants, which she uses to dye wool thread and silk fabric to make woven paintings and large scale silk installations. Bjarnadóttir has held many solo exhibitions internationally and in Iceland including at Reykjavík Art Museum (IS), Soft Galleri (NO), and Trøndelag Center for Contemporary Art (NO). Hverfisgallerí, IS +354 537 4007 firstname.lastname@example.org hverfisgalleri.is
HULDA STEFÁNSDÓTTIR Born 1972, Iceland. Lives and works in Reykjavík. Hulda Stefánsdóttir creates paintings that are sparse and deceptively simple so that the texture of the surface becomes not only background but a prominent feature. Instead of presenting individual panels, she creates arrangements where works of different hues, sizes, and dimensions combine in a delicate but effective whole. Recent exhibitions include Reykjavík Art Museum (IS), Gallery Punto, Tokyo (JP), Dandruff Space & Shroud, Brooklyn (US), and Hafnarfjörður (IS). BERG Contemporary, IS +354 562 0001 email@example.com bergcontemporary.is
JANAINA TSCHÄPE Born 1973, Germany. Lives and works in New York and Rio de Janeiro. Janina Tchäpe is fascinated by perception and by what lies between the physical and the incomprehensible. Her paintings are home to strange biomorphic shapes, organic forms, and gestalts, which at first appear familiar, yet not identifiable. Tschäpe has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the world, including Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (US), National Gallery of Art, Washington (US), Centre Pompidou (FR), National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington (US). In 2020 she will be exhibiting at the Musée de l’Orangerie (FR). Galleri Bo Bjerggaard, DK +45 33 93 42 21 firstname.lastname@example.org bjerggaard.com
JOHANNA KARLSSON Born 1968, Sweden. Lives and works in Stockholm. Johanna Karlsson creates detailed portrayals of landscapes in mixed-media dioramas. She takes fragments of nature into a cultural context, and the result is a laboratory-like presentation with an emotional load—a personal and poetic natural science. They belong to the larger story of all thing’s birth, construction, and destruction. Recent exhibitions include Västerås Konstmuseum (SE), Konsthallen, Luleå (SE), Landskrona Konsthall (SE), and Asia House, London (UK). Galleri Magnus Karlsson, SE +46 8 660 4353 email@example.com gallerimagnuskarlsson.com
KATHARINA GROSSE Born 1961, Germany. Lives and works in Düsseldorf and Berlin. Grosse is known for her brightly coloured works made with an industrial airbrush and mounds of pigmented dirt. Her work attempts to create a bodily, psychedelic-like experience for the viewer in which they are submerged in a world of colour and mood.
Grosse’s work is held in collections internationally, including the Centre Pompidou (FR), Kunstmuseum Bern (CH), Sprengel Museum (DE), and Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea (ES). Edition Copenhagen, DK +45 32 54 33 11 firstname.lastname@example.org editioncopenhagen.com
KATHARINA SIEVERDING Born 1944, Czech Republic. Lives and works in Düsseldorf and Berlin. Katharina Sieverding is best known for her self-portraiture, and her work is a long-term study of her own identity. Using various techniques to abstract her own image, Sieverding’s work comes out of the post-war German avant-garde. Her portraits often use high contrast, false colour, or solarization. Her works are held in the collections of MoMA — Museum of Modern Art (US), Kunstmuseum Bonn (DE), and SFMoMA — San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (US). Edition Copenhagen, DK +45 32 54 33 11 email@example.com editioncopenhagen.com
KRISTIINA UUSITALO Born 1959, Sulkava, Finland. Lives and works in Helsinki. Since the 1980s, Kristiina Uusitalo’s main themes are experiencing and depicting nature as a stage for human inner life. From experiencing sublime nature to succumbing to the forces of climate change, the paintings show an understanding of new possibilities while the mind still holds on to the idea of pure, untouched nature. She has recently exhibited at Arktikum — University of Lapland, Rovaniemi (FI), Gallery Kling & Bang, Reykjavík (IS), Kunstlerhaus FRISE, Hamburg (DE), Available Space Miami Beach (US). Galleria Heino, FI +358 9 672 678 firstname.lastname@example.org galleriaheino.com
LILIBETH CUENCA RASMUSSEN Born 1970, Philippines. Lives and works in Copenhagen.
she turns a two-dimensional medium— painting on paper—into three-dimensional installations.
Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen’s practice is based on performance art, transformed into different media including video, photography, sculpture, and installation. Rasmussen’s productions involve the body, scripted texts, composed music, visual elements, and costumes. She universalises her narratives in a critical and humorous approach to issues such as identity, culture, gender, and social relations.
Work by the artist is represented in collections that include EMMA Espoo Museum of Modern Art (FI), Saastamoinen Foundation (FI), HAM — Helsinki Art Museum (FI), Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art (FI), and Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art (FI).
Rasmussen has performed and exhibited at various museums and galleries including SMK National Gallery of Denmark (DK), Horsens Art Museum (DK), New Design High, New York (US), Kunsthal Nikolaj (DK), and Palazzo Maro, Venice (IT). Andersen’s, DK +45 53 53 69 29 email@example.com andersenscontemporary.dk
LISA JONASSON Born 1978, Sweden. Lives and works in Stockholm. Lisa Jonasson constructs richly detailed assemblages in painted cut-out paper and carved wood. In recent works, the three-dimensional parts are given more focus—both in carved elements and in backgrounds that are arched inwards and outwards. Jonasson describes the works as a division of bodies and surfaces. The bodies are carved in balsa wood, into an object with a purpose to carry the surface. Jonasson has been exhibited at institutions including Bonniers Konsthall (SE), Uppsala Konstmuseum (SE) and Varbergs Konsthall (SE). Galleri Magnus Karlsson, SE +46 8 660 4353 firstname.lastname@example.org gallerimagnuskarlsson.com
MAIJA LUUTONEN Born 1978, Finland. Lives and works in Helsinki. Maija Luutonen primarily works with painting by exploring and expanding its boundaries and potential. In her art
Galleri Bo Bjerggaard, DK +45 33 93 42 21 email@example.com bjerggaard.com
MAMMA ANDERSSON Born 1962, Sweden. Lives and works in Stockholm. Inspired by filmic imagery, theatre sets, and domestic interiors, Mamma Andersson‘s compositions are often dreamlike and expressive. Her subject matter revolves around melancholic, quiet landscapes and nondescript, private interiors. Work by the artist is represented in museum collections that include MOCA — The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (US), MoMA — Museum of Modern Art (US), Dallas Museum of Art (US), Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (US), Baltimore Museum of Art (US), Magasin III (SE), Malmö Konstmuseum (SE), and Moderna Museet (SE). Mamma Andersson works with print studio Edition Copenhagen and is represented by Galleri Magnus Karlsson in Stockholm. Edition Copenhagen, DK +45 32 54 33 11 firstname.lastname@example.org editioncopenhagen.com Galleri Magnus Karlsson, SE +46 8 660 43 53 email@example.com gallerimagnuskarlsson.com
MANDY EL-SAYEGH Born 1985, Malaysia. Lives and works in London. For Mandy El-Sayegh, painting—and more specifically, abstraction—becomes a method to interrogate notions of the fragmented body-as-archive, and of the anti-archive. Her Net-Grid
paintings form the site for working through these ideas. El-Sayegh’s work has been exhibited in various galleries and museums including solo exhibitions at Chisenhale Gallery (UK) and Bétonsalon — Center for Art and Research (FR). Andersen’s, DK +45 53 53 69 29 firstname.lastname@example.org andersenscontemporary.dk
MARGRÉT H. BLÖNDAL Born 1970, Iceland. Lives and works in Reykjavík. Margrét H. Blöndal’s sculptural installations and drawings have a fragile, fleeting effect, yet appear strangely compelling. Constructed of everyday materials such as rubber, foam, paper, and plastic, the objects often feature bright or gaudy colours. Recent exhibitions include solo and group shows at Fort Worth Contemporary Arts (US) and Reykjavík Art Museum (IS), The 6th Momentum Biennial (NO), Manifesta 7 (IT), and Kunstverein Baselland (CH). i8 Gallery, IS +354 551 3666 email@example.com i8.is
MARIE LUND Born 1976, Denmark. Lives and works in Copenhagen. Marie Lund poetically exposes imprints and reactionary forces as she explores the place and moment of intersection where different objects meet the external world. Working between sculpture and installation, she uses a variety of materials such as textiles, found objects, cement, wood, copper, and other natural materials. Lund has exhibited at venues such as Palais de Tokyo (FR), Centre Pompidou (FR), Weserburg Museum für Moderne Kunst (DE); Museo Marino Marini (IT) and Tate Britain (UK), amongst others. Galleri Nicolai Wallner +45 32 57 09 70 firstname.lastname@example.org nicolaiwallner.com
MARIA RUBINKE Born 1985, Denmark. Lives and works in Copenhagen.
toum’s work frequently addresses politics and issues regarding gender and the body.
Maria Rubinke works with sculpture in various materials, namely bronze, porcelain, and marble. She creates everything from petite, tabletop figurines to large-scale, public installations, and her intricate and frequently macabre artworks typically depict animals, plants, or children, alluding to protagonists or key elements of fairytales, folklore, and common myths, but with an absurd, surrealist spin.
Hatoum has had major exhibitions at institutions such as the Centre Pompidou (FR), MCA — Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (US), New Museum (US), and Tate Modern (UK). Her work is represented in museum collections including Tate (UK), and MoMA — Museum of Modern Art (US).
Her recent solo exhibitions include Kastrupgårdsamlingen (DK), Bornholms Kunstmuseum (DK), Vejle Kunstmuseum (DK) and Haugar Vestfold Museum of Art (NO). Martin Asbæk Gallery +45 33 15 40 45 email@example.com martinasbaek.com
MARIE SØNDERGAARD LOLK Born 1981, Denmark. Lives and works in Copenhagen. Marie Søndergaard Lolk’s work is based on a rematerialization of the medium of painting through various processes and techniques. This rematerialization induces a slowing down of our normal visual reading and an opening towards a kind of micro perception of things, as they exist prior to their identification in more general categories. Lolk has been exhibited in institutions including ARoS (DK), Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art (DK), Kunsthal Charlottenborg (DK), and is represented in public collections including SMK National Gallery of Denmark (DK), and Malmö Konstmuseum (SE). Galleri Susanne Ottesen, DK +45 33 15 52 44 firstname.lastname@example.org susanneottesen.dk
MONA HATOUM Born 1952, Lebanon. Lives and works in London. Mona Hatoum is known for the use of found household objects, imbued with personal history and significance. Ha-
Edition Copenhagen, DK +45 32 54 33 11 email@example.com editioncopenhagen.com
NANNA ABELL Born in 1985, Denmark. Lives and works in Copenhagen. Nanna Abell’s work is an invitation into a universe where what is normally held apart is weirdly put together. A wide range of materials are included in the sculptural work, and compositions are structured around movement, mutations, networks, streams of signs, or sensations. Through combinations and interplay, matter and body are engaged and destabilized. The sculptures appear as hybrids, acting to produce a mode of “being.” Abell has recently exhibited at ARKEN — Museum of Modern Art (DK), Växjö Konsthall (SE), Museum of Contemporary Art Roskilde (DK), Kunsthal ULYS (DK), and Kunsthal Nord (DK). Galleri Susanne Ottesen, DK +45 33 15 52 44 firstname.lastname@example.org susanneottesen.dk
NIINA VATANEN Born 1977, Finland. Lives and works in Helsinki. Niina Vatanen has challenged, seduced, whispered, and explored time as a mystery from the beginnings of her career. Starting with her own personal diaries to archival materials found in museums, Vatanen has repeatedly attempted to depict time and our perception of it. Vatanen’s works have been presented in various exhibitions including The Danish National Museum of Photography (DK), The Finnish Museum of Photog-
raphy (FI), Athens Photo Festival (GR), Daegu Photo Biennale (KR), and Triennial of Photography Hamburg (DE). Persons Projects, DE +49 30 2888 3370 email@example.com personsprojects.com
NINA BEIER Born 1975, Denmark. Lives and works in Berlin. Nina Beier’s multimedia installations, performative sculptures, and static assemblages incorporate everyday objects into theatrical still lifes that examine the cultural symbolism embedded in them. She has been exhibited widely at institutions including Kunsthal Gent (BE), Kunstmuseum St. Gallen (CH), Kunsthaus Zürich (CH), ARoS (DK), Walker Art Center (US), Kunstwerke (DE), Metro Pictures (US), Swiss Institute (US), and Kunstverein Hamburg (DE). She has participated in Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (LV), Performa 15 (US), and the 13th Biennale de Lyon (FR). Croy Nielsen, AT +43 676 653 0074 firstname.lastname@example.org croynielsen.com
PERNILLE WITH MADSEN Born 1972, Denmark. Lives and works in Copenhagen. Dissolution, imbalance, disorientation, collapse, and loss of control are core themes in Pernille With Madsen’s work. Through video, photography, drawing, and installation, she creates insisting experiments that each in their own way produce scale-related, spatial disorientations. Through simple, difficult, and backward measures, she creates a universe causing dizziness through spatial dissolution. Pernille With Madsen’s solo exhibitions include International Centre for Contemporary Culture, San Sebastián (ES), The Lipsius Building (BE), and Horsens Kunstmuseum (DK).
Galleri Susanne Ottesen, DK +45 33 15 52 44 email@example.com susanneottesen.dk
RAUHA MÄKILÄ Born 1980, Finland. Lives and works in Helsinki. Rauha Mäkilä’s work departs from everyday situations and popular culture imagery. Her recent works, often featuring children, reveal the profound sincerity of their subjects, and a glorification of the joy of being young. Everyday moments are interpreted in Mäkilä’s works as candidly as children process life’s essential questions in their play. Mäkilä’s works are represented in Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art (FI), Saastamoinen Foundation (FI), the City of Gothenburg Art Collection (SE), Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (US), and EMMA Espoo Museum of Modern Art (FI). Helsinki Contemporary, FI +358 9 278 5301 firstname.lastname@example.org helsinkicontemporary.com
RINA BANERJEE Born 1963, India. Lives and works in New York and Philadelphia. Rina Banerjee’s works investigate the experiences of identity, tradition, and culture. The diversity of her artworks present themselves simultaneously as familiar and unfamiliar, thriving on tensions between visual cultures and raising questions about exoticism, cultural appropriation, globalization, and feminism. The artist’s works are included in collections such as Whitney Museum of American Art (US), Centre Pompidou (FR), Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (US), and Brooklyn Museum (US). Edition Copenhagen, DK +45 32 54 33 11 email@example.com editioncopenhagen.com
RONI HORN Born 1955, New York. Lives and works in New York and Reykjavík. “The unknown is where I want to be,” says Horn, celebrated for her wideranging body of work in which she explores mutability—of identity and gender, natural landscapes and phenomena, language, and meaning. Recent museum exhibitions include Nasher Sculpture Center (US), Fondation Beyeler (CH), Menil Collection (US). She had had major exhibitions at Tate Modern (UK), and Whitney Museum of American Art (US). Her works are in public collections such as MoMA — Museum of Modern Art (US), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (US), and Kunstmuseum Basel (CH). i8 Gallery, IS +354 551 3666 firstname.lastname@example.org i8.is
SANDRA KANTANEN Born 1974, Helsinki. Lives and works in Hanko, Finland. Sandra Kantanen has delved within the world of landscape photography for the past two decades. Influenced by her extensive study of Chinese landscape painting, Kantanen challenges the way we perceive nature. Her path found footing between an Eastern way of seeing and the Western sense for romanticism. Kantanen has recently been exhibited at Houston Center for Photography (US), Rovaniemi Art Museum (FI), Denver Art Museum (US), and Fotografisk Center, Copenhagen (DK). Persons Projects, DE +49 30 2888 3370 email@example.com personsprojects.com
SANNA KANNISTO Born 1974, Finland. Lives and works in Helsinki. Sanna Kannisto’s photographic works explore the intersection between nature, science, and art. Kannisto moves between her subjects like a visual researcher who gathers, borrows, and applies different methods from the
natural sciences, which she then juxtaposes with the traditions used in creating still life paintings.
area. She is included in a number of private and public collections, including Malmö Art Museum.
Recent exhibitions include Trabajo de Campo, Centro de la Imagen, Lima (PE), The Museum of Photography Seoul (KR), Ateneum Art Museum (FI), Kunsthall Stavanger (NO), and Museum Of Modern Art Tbilisi (GE).
She has previously exhibited at Malmö Art Museum (SE), Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art (LV), Tranen (DK), Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art (DK), PERMM Museum of Contemporary Art (RU), and Kunsthal Charlottenborg (DK).
Persons Projects, DE +49 30 2888 3370 firstname.lastname@example.org personsprojects.com
SARA-VIDE ERICSON Born 1983, Sweden. Lives and works in Hälsingland, Sweden. Sara-Vide Ericson reenacts thoughts, fantasies, and dreams by photographing a selected scene, often using her sister as her intermediary in the composition. Blurring the lines between reality and fiction, Ericson lets us step into her being. Ericson uses photographs of performed compositions and memories as the foundation for her paintings. The works challenge our perception of real, fiction, authorship, emotions, and notion of existence. An awakening call from the wild. Her work has previously been exhibited at Kalmar Konstmuseum (SE), Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Stockholm (SE), and Nordic Contemporary, Paris (FR). Sara-Vide Ericson is represented by V1 Gallery in Copenhagen and Galleri Magnus Karlsson in Stockholm. V1 Gallery, DK +45 33 31 03 21 email@example.com v1gallery.com Galleri Magnus Karlsson, SE +46 8 660 43 53 firstname.lastname@example.org gallerimagnuskarlsson.com
SIF ITONA WESTERBERG Born 1985, Denmark. Lives and works in Copenhagen. Sif Itona Westerberg works primarily within the field of sculpture, from where she examines new ecologies, relations, and aesthetics within the Anthropocene
Gether Contemporary, DK + 45 31 70 16 50 email@example.com gethercontemporary.com
SIGRID SANDSTRÖM Born 1970, Sweden. Lives and works in Stockholm and Boston. Sigrid Sandström works primarily with painting, through which she has been exploring space as a concept as well as emotional experience. Over time, her depicted large-scale, barren, and uninhabited landscapes have become more abstract. Recent exhibitions include Bonniers Konsthall (SE), Reykjavík Art Museum (IS), Inman Gallery (US) and Västerås Art Museum (SE). Sandström’s work is included in the collections of Moderna Museet (SE), Public Art Agency (SE), Malmö Art Museum (SE), Borås Art Museum (SE) and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (US), amongst others. Cecilia Hillström Gallery, SE +46 7 07 64 65 68 firstname.lastname@example.org chgallery.se
SIRI ELFHAG Born 1988, Sweden. Lives and works in Stockholm. Siri Elfhag mixes personal stories with common symbolic language. We all have something in common with the figures in her drawings: a demon-like creature might be the devil, or a forgotten part of yourself. The works are a reminder of a place that can be found intuitively, whenever you need to soothe your shadow self. Elfhag received the Fredrik Roos stipend in 2020 and has exhibited at Artipelag (SE), Liljevalchs (SE), Ronneby
Culture Centre (SE), Swedish Association of Art (SE) and Galleriet Umeå Art Academy (SE). Galleri Andersson/Sandström +46 8 32 49 90 email@example.com gsa.se
STEINA Born 1940, Iceland. Lives and works in New Mexico, US. Steina is a pioneering video artist who has been producing work since the 1960s. Along with her late husband Woody Vasulka, she is a pioneer of electronic and digital image production. Her work has been exhibited around the world, including the Whitney Museum of American Art (US), Centre Pompidou (FR), Berlin Film Festival (DE), and National Gallery of Art (IS). Steina became a Guggenheim Fellow in 1976, in 1997 was the first woman to represent Iceland at the 47th Venice Biennale (IT). BERG Contemporary, IS +354 562 0001 firstname.lastname@example.org bergcontemporary.is
TACITA DEAN Born 1965, England. Lives and works in Berlin. Tacita Dean is known for her analogue 16 mm film, and printmaking has become an essential part of her practice. Based on films and found material like postcards, vintage photographs, and blackboard drawings, she employs the printing techniques photogravure and offset lithography to transfer her visual narratives into the realm of printmaking. Recent solo exhibitions include The Glyptotek (DK), Moody Center for the Arts, Houston (US), Museo Tamayo (MX), Serralves Museum (PT), and the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery (UK). BORCH Gallery & Edition, DK +45 27 58 46 76 email@example.com nielsborchjensen.com
TEEA SAANIO Born 1994, Finland. Lives and works in Helsinki. The work of Teea Saanio revolves around an underlying desire of understanding human coexistence, not only with each other but with nature. Saanio defines her world by collecting it through a random sense of processing information and using it to create her personal atlas. Recent exhibitions include The Finnish Museum of Photography (FI), Väre, Espoo (FI), and Jukka Male Museum (FI). Persons Projects, DE +49 30 2888 3370 firstname.lastname@example.org personsprojects.com
TIINA ITKONEN Born 1968, Finland. Lives and works in Helsinki. In 1995, Tiina Itkonen photographed an Inuit village (Siorapaluk), the northernmost settlement in Greenland. This remote, largely forgotten cluster of small wooden houses would grow into her lifelong work. What began as an adventure grew to become a photographic historiography of the direct effects of global warming. Itkonen’s work has been exhibited at the 54th Biennale di Venezia (IT), 17th Biennale of Sydney (AS), Albert Kahn Museum (FR), Anchorage Museum, Alaska (US), and Sørlandets Kunstmuseum (NO). Persons Projects, DE +49 30 2888 3370 email@example.com personsprojects.com
TRINE SØNDERGAARD Born in 1972, Denmark. Lives and works in Copenhagen. Trine Søndergaard is a Danish photography-based visual artist, who combines quiet expression and feminist substance in iconic works of precision and sensibility. Layered with meaning and quiet emotion, her works are highly acclaimed for their visual intensification of our perception of reality, enabled through thematic recontextualizations
of various subject matter, ranging from historical objects to natural phenomena. Her recent solo exhibitions include Göteborg Konstmuseum (SE), Skive Museum (DK), Brandts Kunstmuseum (DK), Musée D’art Moderne André Malraux (FR). Martin Asbæk Gallery +45 33 15 40 45 firstname.lastname@example.org martinasbaek.com
ULLA JOKISALO Born 1955, Finland. Lives and works in Helsinki. Throughout her career, Ulla Jokisalo has focused on entering into her own personal dialogue that questions cultural juxtapositions based on gender and femininity. She notions the uncanny and outlandish to challenge societal norms and associations. Her works are a combination of paper cut-outs, masks, embroidery, pins, needles, and thread. Jokisalo has been exhibited at institutions including HAM — Helsinki Art Museum (FI), Fotografisk Center, Copenhagen (DK), Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova (FI) and the Finnish Museum of Photography (FI). Persons Projects, DE +49 30 2888 3370 email@example.com personsprojects.com
URARA TSUCHIYA Born 1979, Japan. Lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland. Urara Tsuchiya’s practice explores the disconcertion that can be found between the personal and social worlds. Her work includes ceramics, performances, and videos. Her work explores boundaries, for example, between animal/human and adult/baby to strange and humorous effect. She is interested in challenging the viewer to negotiate their own personal and physical boundaries. Tsuchiya received her MFA from Glasgow School of Art and studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths University, London. Previous exhibitions include presentations at ADA Project (IT), Glasgow
International, 2020 & 2018 (UK), Trade Gallery (UK), and Union Pacific (UK). Galleri Golsa, NO + 47 99 78 74 75 firstname.lastname@example.org golsa.no
WANGECHI MUTU Born 1972, Kenya. Lives and works in New York. Wangechi Mutu’s work features recurring mysterious leitmotifs such as masked women and snake-like tendrils. Her pastiche-like practice combines a variety of source material and textures to explore consumerism and excess. Her work has been exhibited at many institutions, including the SFMoMA — San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (US), Miami Art Museum (US), MoMA — Museum of Modern Art (US), the Whitney Museum of American Art (US), and MOCA — The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (US). Edition Copenhagen, DK +45 32 54 33 11 email@example.com editioncopenhagen.com
YLVA CARLGREN Born 1984, Sweden. Lives and works in Stockholm. Ylva Carlgren’s work with watercolour is guided by technical knowledge. An interest in the sensibilities and methods presented in traditional East Asian painting, makes for a body of work that feels grand despite its minimalist nature. Gradients in monochromatic colour schemes are created by layering and brushing pigments with precision. Carlgren manages to deliver musings on light and shadow by way of paper and paint. Her work has previously been exhibited at Uppsala Konstmuseum (SE) and Göteborgs Konsthall (SE). Gallery Steinsland Berliner, SE +46 735 025 524 firstname.lastname@example.org steinslandberliner.com