KNOWING ME KNOWING YOU
Group Exhibition in Künstlerhaus Bregenz
Exhibition period 13.04.19 - 12.05.2019
Hesselholdt & Mejlvang (DK)
Tiril Hasselknippe (NO)
Ahmed Umar (NO)
Jeff Olsson (SE)
Maria Meinild (SE/DK)
Ditte Knus Tønnesen (DK)
Ronja Svaneborg (DK)
A-6900 Bregenz, Austria
The exhibition is kindly supported by
Grosserer L.F. Foghts Fond
KNOWING ME KNOWING YOU
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 civilisation 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 utilises 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 flavour 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.
Void & Co. is 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.
Photos by Ronja Svaneborg and Florian Raidt