Jeannette Ehlers

Archives in the Tongue: A Litany of Freedoms

11 jun – 7 aug 2022 Opening: 10 jun 2022 17:00

In this summer’s major solo show at Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Jeannette Ehlers forges a spiritual and meditative space that sheds light on Afro-Caribbean relations through large and new installations as well as existing works that combine film, performance and photography. Highlights include a new and central video work based on the mythical figure Moko Jumbie. According to folklores, Moko crossed the Atlantic from West Africa to the Caribbean to protect care of its people. In this exhibition, the figure is brought to Denmark to bring healing and care, and shine light unto the shadows of Copenhagen’s history.

The experiences in store for visitors include black and brown braids penetrating the walls of the art gallery; the story of how enslaved women of African descent in South America and the Caribbean used braiding styles such as cornrows to map escape routes; excerpts from novelist Hans Christian Andersen’s The Mulatto from 1840, and a handwritten transcribed fictional dialogue between rappers Kendrick Lamar and Tupac about rebellion and insurrection.

As evident from the exhibition title Archives in the Tongue: A Litany of Freedoms highlights oral traditions, which have laid grounds for the survival of Caribbean cultures. Drawing on this Ehlers centres the textures and fabric of the sensorial and bodily connections that constitute the journeying of the Black diaspora. She interweaves the historical, the collective and the rebellious with the familiar, the joins, and the poetic.

Through the years, Jeannette Ehlers’ practice has given careful attention to Danish colonial history, collectivity and the activist potential of art. Central themes include the representations and boundaries of Blackness, as well as in-depth reflections on kinship, solidarity, and colonial afterlives. Her works fuse different narratives and legacies, forging links between the personal, the historical, and wider socio-political temporalities. Accordingly, this exhibition will point to trans-geographical connections and counter-histories that still need to find their place in our collective memories to uniting the past and future.




The exhibition is curated by Awa Konaté and Lotte Løvholm and supported by the Augustinus Foundation, the Axel Muusfeldt Foundation, the Beckett Foundation, the Danish Arts Foundation, the Danish Art Workshops (SVFK), the Lemvigh-Müller Foundation, the Obel Family Foundation and the William Demant Foundation.

Events in relation to the exhibition
10 June at 17.00-21.00: Opening
Jeannette Ehlers, Archives in the Tongue: A Litany of Freedoms

11 June at 12.00-15.00: Performance
Jeannette Ehlers, We’re Magic. We’re Real #3 (These Walls), durational performance in Kunsthal Charlottenborg’s courtyard

13 June at 8.00-9.00: Performance
Jeannette Ehlers, Worksongs, Kongens Nytorv

15 June at 17.00-20.00: Art Week x Kunsthal Charlottenborg x Culture Art Society (CAS)
Screening and guided artist- and curator tours with Jeannette Ehlers and Awa Konaté

17 June at 8.00-9.00: Performance
Jeannette Ehlers, Worksongs, Kongens Nytorv

22 June at 17.00-19.00: Talk
With artist Jeannette Ehlers and the curators Awa Konaté and Lotte Løvholm

6 August at 15.00-16.00: Film Screening
Screening of the documentary ‘Det sorte kapitel’ by Maya Albana