The artistic idiom of the exhibition is as enigmatic and poetic as a Nordic fairytale whose narrative unfolds as the viewer is absorbed by the dreamlike, almost surrealistic universe. Four of the pre-eminent women of Danish contemporary art present works that occupy the ambivalent space between reality and the imagination. The media are photography, sculpture and charcoal on paper.
THEME The exhibition unfolds in an intimate space where high artistic quality is colored by Nordic cultural heritage. The light, the encounter between the landscape and a slightly melancholic mood are some of the recurring themes, and the four Danish artists have been put together to offer insight into the wide-ranging styles of Danish contemporary art. The works span the spectrum from Cathrine Raben Davidsen’s mythical charcoal drawings through Trine Søndergaard’s photographs of run-down, empty rooms, to Astrid Kruse Jensen’s photographs of magical Nordic landscapes. Finally, you can experience Nina Saunders’ modified furniture items, themselves the bearers of disquieting narratives
CATHRINE RABEN DAVIDSEN Cathrine Raben Davidsen creates a seductive labyrinthine universe where personal experience is interwoven with art historical references and mythological tales in her meticulously executed char-coal drawings. Metamorphoses and transformations in particular are a recurring theme in the works, which are often about human beings or situations in transition.
TRINE SØNDERGAARD Trine Søndergaard has found inspiration in the Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershøi’s harmonious, slightly melancholic paintings from the end of the 19th century, painted in grey-shaded scales with a keen awareness of the rendering of the Nordic light. In the series INTERIOR, Søndergaard is able to recreate this masterly use of the natural light by using long exposures, so that the light in the works becomes almost magical. The photographs offer deep perspectives with rooms en suite, worn-out dismantled doors, empty rooms with soot-stained walls and open, ramshackle windows through which stark light streams in onto the dusty floors of the abandoned Oreby Castle.
ASTRID KRUSE JENSEN Astrid Kruse Jensen’s series Disappearing into the past exists in the interface between experience and observation, reality and the imagination. With a polaroid camera and film that has passed its sell-by date, a poetic realism arises in the series. The photographs appear as transitory glimpses from a forgotten past with blurred, almost dreamlike subjects from the Nordic landscape in colors that range from a cold blue-violet through a warm yellow to a dusty green. The chemical processes in the obsolescent polaroid film create uncontrolled results in both color and expression.
NINA SAUNDERS The fourth artist, Nina Saunders, brings a humorous and slightly surrealistic twist to the exhibition. Saunders’ works explore the familiar and modify classic furniture. The furniture is in a state of transformation and dissolution, like the black-clad easy chair whose back topples backward and whose seat flows out over the floor, while the classic mahogany bench is modified by having a white dove squeezed down through the silk-covered seat.
INFORMATION The exhibition has been created in light of the art fair The Armory Show’s focus on Nordic art and can be seen at the gallery Guided by Invoices at 558 W 21 St New York, USA. Until 25 March special guided tours