STRIPPED is the title of Lea Porsager’s solo show at Kunsthal Charlottenborg.
The exhibition is a spatial experience based on new works: magnetic prayer wheels, gendered icons, digital animations and a flaccid, oversized beanbag chair. The largest elements, however, are three windmill blades cut into slices. We are in the realm of sculpture – and somewhere else entirely, too, entering states of excitement and exhaustion.
Porsager works with science and esoteric knowledge as forms of cognition that the modern order has endeavoured to keep apart. When different worldviews meet and diffract in each other, openings can arise between levels in reality, prompting other gazes on what we know, how we know something, and who our knowledge makes us.
Drawing on motifs from tantric meditation and the paradoxical and poetic concepts of quantum physics, STRIPPEDturns our bodies and minds into channels for other forms of understanding and sensing. The idea of spirituality is at play here, considering it as that which denotes our ability to meet the Other: our relation to that which we do not yet know, that which we refrain from dominating, that which is more than human.
Artists and spiritualist mediums have used scientific discoveries before – for example within the fields of electricity, magnetism and nuclear physics – to create connections between intangible and physical worlds. In STRIPPED, Porsager revisits and haunts works by artists who have gone before her in (mis)using the concepts and schema of science and technology, such as Emma Kunz, Marcel Duchamp and Lee Lozano.
The wings of the wind turbine, moved by invisible forces, offer a metaphor for the transporting power of the imagination. Spanish author Cervantes’s famous protagonist, the fantasist Don Quijote, mistook forty windmills for giants, defying death as he rode into battle against them. The nineteenth-century philosopher and mystic Emanuel Swedenborg had an intense revelation about the spirit world on Mars after having been hit on the head by the sail of a windmill in a dream. In Porsager’s, work there is also a biographical echo of the constant, ominous drone of the wind turbine next to her childhood home. A generator for unruly visions.
The imaginations that can transform us come from the limits of human experience. How can we reach these imaginings to get a glimpse of what lies on the other side of our own experiences? Do we have any choice but to try if we want to transform ourselves and our relationship with the world that we are part of?
Lea Porsager (b. 1981) is a graduate from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen and from the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main in 2010. She has had solo shows at venues such as the Henie Onstad Art Center in Oslo, Kunstverein Göttingen, The Emily Harvey Foundation in New York and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Roskilde. Porsager took part in documenta 13 and the 14th Istanbul Biennale. She is currently working on public art commissions in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Her land art piece Gravitational Ripples was inaugurated in June 2018 at Djurgården in Stockholm, commemorating the Swedish victims of the tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia in 2004. Porsager holds a PhD from the Malmö Art Academy. She lives and works in Copenhagen.
The exhibition is arranged in collaboration with the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, curated by Lars Bang Larsen, and supported by the Obel Family Foundation, the Augustinus Foundation and the Danish Arts Foundation.