KNOWING ME KNOWING YOU
Hesselholdt & Mejlvang (DK) / Tiril Hasselknippe (NO) / Ahmed Umar (NO) / Jeff Olsson (SE) / Maria Meinild (SE) / Ditte Knus Tønnesen (DK) / Ronja Svaneborg (DK)
13.04 - 12.05.19
The exhibition title Knowing Me Knowing You, refers to the well-known ABBA-song of the same name, which for many awakens associations to the idea of the stereotypical Scandinavian. The title and the song also leads us to think about the unavoidable fact that one knows others through oneself. By encountering the idea of the Scandinavian from a mid-European perspective this exhibition looks into how language, culture and traditions are formative of our thinking and perception. What is national identity? To what extent is this identity built upon expectations from our surroundings? And to what degree can or should our expectations be altered?
The exhibition consists of works by artists from Sweden, Norway and Denmark and presents works in a variety of media; for example video, sculpture, drawing, photography and performance. The majority of the involved artists have experience of being a foreigner and obtaining knowledge of intercultural everyday life. Common to all invited artists is that they challenge our expectations of their own story.
When approaching the exhibition, the first thing encountering the visitor is an unusual and unknown flag hanging from the balcony of Künstlerhaus. The works ‘Nationless Flag’ and ‘Native, Exotic, Normal/ State of Emergency’ on show by Hesselholdt & Mejlvang question our stereotypical and normative thinking regarding ethnicity, nationality and looks. Ahmed Umar’s work ‘Identitet. Brodert’ (Identity. Embroidered), visually depicts the ongoing pursuit of belonging and cultural fidelity, in a folk costume in which elements from Norway and Sudan are merged. In the installation ‘Faraway in time, space or sentiment’, Ronja Svaneborg follows the methodology of the diorama, the kind found in natural history museums depicting frozen sections of distant cultures or fauna, addressing how the preconceived conceptions, with which we tend to meet each other, typically build on an insignificant base of knowledge and insight. Tiril Hasselknippe’s balcony series gives associations to a lost civilization where the original function of the balcony is no longer relevant. Set in a context of the very real post-societal conditions manifested in the refugee crisis, Hasselknippe reflects on the division of resources, rights, space and freedom, uncovering dystopia in our present. In Maria Meinild’s video installation ‘A HUM’, puppeteers and objects are seen together in choreographed movements, inspired by psychodrama; a form of group therapy that utilizes elements of theatre and roleplay. The work explores the borders between the self and the other, and between human and non-human. The works of Jeff Olsson mixes the traditional national romantic image of Swedish culture with a strong American flavor that stems from the history of migration to North America during the 19th Century, altering one’s view on Swedish folklore. Inspired by the Nordic painters’ landscape imagery, Ditte Knus Tønnesen hunts the idea of the sublime, followed by the enlightenment of nature’s petrifying brutality and dramatic power, in a hybrid between painting and photography.
The exhibition is curated by Void & Co., a curatorial and artistic collaboration between curator Silja Leifsdóttir (IS/NO), and visual artists Ditte Knus Tønnesen (DK) and Ronja Svaneborg (DK), founded in Copenhagen 2018, ten years after the trio graduated from The Glasgow School of Art, Scotland. In their collaboration they place thematic emphasis on visual perception and social structures.
Künstlerhaus Palais Thurn & Taxis, Bregenz AT
The exhibition is Kindly supported by
Grosserer L.F. Foghts Fond
Faraway in time, space or sentiment
inkjet print on packaging paper, wood
Ronja Svaneborg's work exists somewhere between orientation and disorientation and in the midst of attempting to translate photography sculpturally.
In the installation ‘Faraway in time, space or sentiment’, Svaneborg follows the methodology of the diorama; the kind found in natural history museums depicting frozen sections of past or distant cultures or fauna. A diorama is a model representing a scene with three-dimensional figures in a mixture of original objects and props with a backdrop to complete the scene. Through these arrangements our tactile sense of coherence is awakened, and one should be able to experience an insight into another reality.
The foundation of Svaneborg's diorama is a photograph of her geographical and social origin in Thy, Denmark. Svaneborg's mother sits in the clogs with all the garden tools leaning up against her, in a part of the kitchen garden which lies fallow. A hedge serves as the border to the road, a stubble field and a wind mantle of small trees, which all bow to the west wind and lean east.
The work addresses how landscapes can become embedded in people and be identity-creating. Furthermore, it opens up for a conversation about the preconceived conceptions, with which we tend to meet each other. These typically build on an insignificant base of knowledge and insight; in the same way as a diorama always only will show a unilateral fragment of the reality it is trying to depict.