Copenhagen – Red Light Green Light
(In the Realm of the Senses)
This summer, Kunsthal Charlottenborg presents an exhibition that moves out of the galleries and on to selected locations in the city of Copenhagen. Intensity and intimacy are in focus, and audience can look forward to great art experiences when a number of internationally leading video and performance artists create works for the city’s scenic spaces and halls.
The contemporary world is, some say, marked by a predominant feeling of stress or anxiety. At state of being that is simultaneously angst filled and driven by desire, controlled by a protocol for how to live and perform in our contemporaneity. The result is tension, a dramatic hold between two states – pressure and drive. The exhibition Copenhagen. Red Light Green Light (In the Realm of the Senses) takes off from a mixed state of tension, tenderness and lifeforce.
The exhibition is shown at Kunsthal Charlottenborg and moves on to locations in the city of Copenhagen. Six international contemporary artists Korean Geumhyung Jeong, Argentinian Cecilia Bengolea, Brittish Cally Spooner, Swedish Ylva Snöfrid, Thai Korakrit Arunanondchai in collaboration with American Alex Gvojic, and Polish Alex Baczyński-Jenkins have been invited by curator Charlotte Sprogøe to present installations, video and performances at six different locations in Copenhagen – portraying the mental state of the world we live in. The exhibition is formed as a living entity, taking shape at various locations throughout Copenhagen, opening at different hours of the day, and different days of the months. Continuously occurring in new variations.
The artists in the exhibition evoke each their own form of a contemporary Ballet Méchanic (Ferdinand Leger, 1924). Each part of the exhibition presents a choreographed approach to art – a ritual, a dance, or a song, formed by the interplay between life force and death, or the machinic, thingness. The body language of post-capitalism, the state of affect marking contemporary life – and the interactions in our lives, formed by the gig economy, the service industry in post-industrial society, is the living backdrop for the exhibition. A living backdrop whose post-industrial invisible protocols for life, community making, body movement and for love, evoke the aesthetic form of the artwork, their energy and sensibility. The materiality of our times is met by the mythology that keeps us going – that animate something on the other side, behind the mirror, in the realm of the ghosts.
Locations for the exhibition are Kunsthal Charlottenborg, the equestrian room in the former stables at The Lapidarium of Kings, the Garden Salon at Copenhagen Music House, the Festival Hall at Charlottenborg Palace, an office building at the center of the city at Buen, Vester Farigmagsgade, the closed cathedral-like historical library at the University of Copenhagen.
Copenhagen. Red Light Green Light (In the Realm of the Senses) is curated by Charlotte Sprogøe and associated with two research projects focusing on art’s use of contemporaneity, sensibility and site.
The exhibition is realised in collaboration with University of Copenhagen, The Agency for Culture and Palaces – National Museum of Denmark, The Lapidarium of Kings, Ejendommen Buen.
WORKS IN THE EXHIBITION
Geumhyung Jeong (Seoul, Korea, 1980)
Upgrade in Progress, 2020
Installation 6 channel video
11 June – 7 August, Tue-Fri at 12-20, Sat-Sun at 11-17
There is an intimate erotic link between human and technology in Geumhyung Jeong’s artworks, where the artist assembles robot parts, medical torsos, wires, transformers and other electronic components into human-like robots – dead technological Toys. Creatures that can only be activated through controllers and power supply. Our intimate relationship with technology, the tension between desire and control and our intimate interaction with non-living things are at the heart of Jeong’s works. Jeong, who is trained in theater and dance, choreographs her artworks as a kind of low-tech mechanical ballet with her own body and self-built robots as partners. At Kunsthal Charlottenborg the artist has created an installation of the sub-elements she builds the non-living bodies from – they are bathed in dead light on stage tables in the room. In the videos in the back we see the artist’s work of bringing the parts together into half-finished beings that can move on the verge of being brought to life. There is a continuing controlled tension between the artist’s fetish- like robot production and the small games of activity that emerge in the machines. The interactions between human and machine are limited and come in short electrical pulsations.
Korakrit Arunanondchai (Thailand, 1986) & Alex Gvojic
Songs for Living, 2021
Video & installation (video with Alex Gvojic)
The King’s Lapidarium, Christian 4.s Bryghus, Frederiksholms Kanal 29 – entrance ticket also gives access to Kunsthal Charlottenborg
11 June– 10 July, Wed-Fri at 12-16, Sat-Sun at 13-17 (NB limited access 15-17 June because of Days of Design)
In Songs for Living the spiritual gods speak to us, through storytelling, as a song. The world is presented in its animate form. The equestrian room at the The Lapidarium of Kings is filled with the blue light of midnight, extending the atmosphere of Korakrit Arunanondchai’s and Alex Gvojic’s video work into the air of the space of the former stables. Ghosts and spirits appear in fluid form in Arunanondchai’s work that uses the spiritual narrative as a wedge to enter another state of being. The artist is occupied with the interstice between the world of the living and the world of the dead, in both his videos and performances. Death is a zone one can pass through, and the void, here in the form of the ocean, is a medium, creating ‘an oceanic feeling’, and a portal where the living can enter the realm of the ghosts.
Cecilia Bengolea (Argentina, 1979. B. Paris)
Deary Steel, 2022
Video installation & ballet performance
The historical University Library of Copenhagen Univerisity. Fiolstræde 1
11 June – 10 July Wed-Sun at 12-16
Ballet performance 10 July at 15 & 17
Bengolea’s new body of work Deary Steel explores the social and materialistic dimensions of the genesis of the industrial era, and its outcome on post-industrial culture and bodily practises. In 1930’s, between the two wars, in Monte Verita a group of pre-hippie naturist dancers created a community in the quest of harmonising their actions with nature. Their dance is rechoreographed by Bengolea in Deary Steel as an alluring choreography of the elements. It shows the moving bodies of ten ballet dancers from the Lyon School of Ballet, superimposing depictions of rituals using fire used to empower and heal. Images of an active European steel plant is set into dialogue with found footage from Manga, Chinese medicine as well as archival footage depicting the struggles of female industrial workers and the leisure activities of their friends and families at the beginning of the twentieth century. The alchemic process in the steel industry draws the artist’s curiosity onto how the elements orchestrate and manipulate our nature, lifestyle and bodies – already carrying the metals inside. Thus evoking a monumental symbolic architecture where industrial knowledge, past social structures and memories converge. Dancers: Caroline Maquignon, Mathis Nour, Magdalen Wood
Cally Spooner (UK, 1983)
On Stagnation (rehearsal), 2022
A two person dance in process
Office, The property Buen Vester Farigmagsgade 1, groundfloor
Workshop 18 June and 19 June at 12-17
Performance rehearsal with one dancer 2 July at 14
On Stagnation is a part of Cally Spooner’s Deadtime repertory. Unfolding in choreographed form, Deadtime is an opera in progress. In Copenhagen we experience a workshop, a rehearsal in which Spooner and three dancers explore the choreography, body language, and ready-made gestures of 1980’s Aerobics videos on YouTube. “In Deadtime living and mediated bodies, not always human, appear and reoccur, both vital and corpse-like. Together they stage the effects of ‘performance’ on our psychological, digital and anatomical condition, and ask how such effects may be unexpectedly transformed. Disbanded from a binary of life and death, stillness and vitality, Deadtime continuously stages a climate in which society becomes stratified by the digital competitive, economic and social performances of all its members, and it becomes increasingly difficult to tell the difference between what is alive and what is dead. In Deadtime bodies appear abundant, then shudder into stagnation. At other moments, they appear dead, still or inactive, yet on closer inspection are brimming with life”, the artist states. Cally Spooner is a choreographer firmly rooted in her training in philosophy. Her performances are generated through writing and unfold across media – on film, in text, through speakers, illustrated in drawings and scores – which remain embedded in the living and mediated fabric of her exhibitions. Evolved over long periods of time, across a variety of venues, her work incorporates duration and rehearsal as acts of resistance to the emergence of ‘performance’ as a regime of power, and a condition of daily life, in which it is hard to tell the difference between what is alive and what is dead. Dancers: Maggie Segale & Sanna Blennow
Ylva Snöfrid (Sverige, 1974)
Cosmos and Vanitas in the Light of Conscience, 2022
Charlottenborg, Assembly Hall
28 June– 10 July at 12-16, Wed and Thurs from 12-20
Cosmos and Vanitas in the Light of Conscience is a living painting installation inhabited by Ylva Snöfrid. The Vanitas work, which has classically shown the transience of life, takes the form of a 3-dimensinal largescale painting. A cosmos, furnished with a ‘transcendental’ objects that can lead us to other places of cognition, painted with images of bodies and inscriptions and marked by past rituals. Swedish artist Ylva Snöfrid has since her childhood thought of Snöfrid (her second name) of being a double, a mirror twin who (from within the mirror world) has followed her, and whom the artist has for several years brought into the real world though spiritual ceremonies, distillations of alcohol and performances. As a consequence, in a transmutation ritual, Ylva and Snöfrid finally merged into one entity, connecting both the living and a spiritual, obscure level. In the installation, visitors can daily enter the work of the artist, who performs ceremonial tea and champagne rituals during exhibition opening hours. It is a form of post performative painting, which unfolds as a scene where things change form, become actions and situations take place – and where things are part of a larger cosmos.
Alex Baczyński-Jenkins (Polen, 1987)
Unending love, or love dies, on repeat like it’s endless
The Music House Copenhgaen i the Garden salon, Vesterbrogade 59
26 June at 14-16
Unending love, or love dies, on repeat like it’s endless is a choreography that reflects on the relations of desire, dance, fragmentation, love (as communality), loss and time. Through gesture, sensuality, touch and relationality Baczyński-Jenkins’ practice unfolds structures and politics of desire.
Relationality is present in the dialogical ways in which the work is developed and performed as well as in the materials and poetics it invokes. This includes tracing relations between sensation and sociality, embodied expression and alienation, the textures of everyday experience, the utopian and latent queer histories. He approaches choreography as a way of reflecting on the matter of feeling, perception and collective emergence, while indulging in other ways of experiencing memory, time and change. Artist and choreographer, Alex Baczyński-Jenkins engages with queer affect, embodiment and relationality Baczyński-Jenkins is co-founder of Kem, a Warsaw based queer feminist collective focused on choreography, performance and sound at the interface with social practice. Performer: Thomias Radin. Sound contributions: Zoi Michailova, Artistic advisor and sound mixed live by: Krzysztof Bagiński
EVENTS IN RELATION TO THE EXHIBITION
10 June: The opening takes place at 17-21 at Kunsthal Charlottenborg and at 18.00-20.00 at the Kings’ Lapidarium.
12 June at 13.00: Guided tour on three venues by curatorial assistant Karoline Mølstrøm. Meeting place: Kunsthal Charlottenborg
Supported by the Augustinus Foundation, ECCA Family Foundation, Obel Family Foundation, Konsul George Jorck og Hustru Emma Jorck’s Foundation, The Ministry of Culture KUV, Knud Højgaard’s Foundation, The University of Copenhagen, Lemvigh-Müller Foundation, Novo Nordisk Foundation, Overretssagfører L. Zeuthens Mindelegat, Spar Nord Foundation, Danish Arts Council, William Demant Foundation.