First it’s about being bodies, upright and conscious, affluent for the coming consumption. Strolling around anxiously decorated as if breathing is mainly a matter of securing a legacy.
Life: Lapses of agony and excitement and some convincing results before iron rosed funerals. Later, human outlines will gradually vaporize, the physique turns transparent and square: hard to tell if its holsters are wax or the starved skin of too-late seduction. Walking doesn’t stop when the body does, wondering doesn’t stop when the mind rests.
One thing about dusk is its likeness to churches, a tub of sacral sensibility towards the gradually disappearing reality. Grief can really ripen here. Chunks of shadow ready to be dreaded or adored like kittens, and any movement animating this darkness resemble traces of a finished life. A finished day. Imagine this: You lay your global body down, its horizontality as an active resistance to being erect and busy. The head seems to leave the rest of the whole, the head goes to work now. It is unaware of the fact that the pending dawn above it will probably look like a castle, but a true head doesn’t halt at what it knows.
Is this a cycle: A number of walking consciousnesses infused with light, they’re synthetic and maybe unable to comprehend how they’re not attached to real bodies, maybe the real body only exist through a light infused consciousness. How deep a body becomes when it’s not awake, a screen shaped lake for loss and loss and self-recognition. Usually, opaque beings are the result of someone’s imagination, but ok what isn’t. Glowing heads see things and make others visible and aren’t evenings always suitable for this world’s persistent misfits. The unbelievables.
After some fruity sunset gazes five walkers are alternately crushing and dreaming reality. It’s possible to see them as yellowing bodies if you’re generally prone to accept that things taking place outside of immediate logic are also actual things. That a poppy is a spine, that open eyes are not a prerequisite for vision. Fabricated creatures emphasize your own blazer-clad realness, it is the human days encrusted with financial face after financial face that make way for vague nights. And so, these neutral ghosts take over when we sleep/they sleep. Impeccable in their quiet dresses, vacant for any emotion to inhabit them/us. Never will they reach any coffins. They escape cages of rational thought while remaining in this state of blank subtlety often required of extraterrestrial input. The unfamiliar shouldn’t look too much like a soft-eyed melody, obviously you can’t trust what is very beautiful.
Text by Nanna Friis.
"... for there was neither pride nor regret in his tone; indeed it kept its level note, as of one who tells a tale so well known that the words have been rubbed smooth of meaning."
The present text is derived from a series of voice memos that I recorded over the past few weeks. As a mother of an infant, the time to sit at a computer and write is pretty limited and fragmented, while it's much more accessible to grab the smartphone and record the thoughts as soon as they pop up. The most interesting aspect about this alternative solution to the usual way of composing a text is that it implies a translation from the oral to the written language - that is, a transcription.
To transcribe is basically to repeat what has already been said. It implies rehearing the same sentence once or several times, and giving it a new, different form. The transformation of thoughts into words by means of repetition is a morphing process that, in its dynamics, I find akin to the artistic one, with the difference that one operates on language and the other on the matter.
It could sound heretical to the artist's ears to say that their process is one of repetition. At least to the artist that strives to be original and unique, constantly raising the bar of their production towards new goals and unprecedented results. In western cultures, repetition is a sort of cage, often a synonym of boredom or lack of imagination. In fact, repetition is a much more powerful notion than our progress-based society would allow us to think.
Even if they are all listed as synonyms, to repeat is not to reproduce, duplicate, or replicate. There is a certain degree of transparency in repetition, one that is absent in mechanical reproduction or digital duplication. As it has the power to turn a gesture into a habit, repetition is the gateway to both remembrance and oblivion. It squeezes past and future into a timeless present, the same way an artwork connects the two end points of action and reaction within the same unit.
While the Latin-derived term re-petition is based on a demand ("to ask twice") that puts the subject in a waiting position, the Danish gentagelsen has an active connotation that suggests its potentiality for the person undertaking it. It's a compound expression combining the verb at tage ("to take") with the adverb igen ("again"). So gentagelse literally means "to take again". It's one of my absolute favourite words in the Danish language: it suggests a fresh opportunity rooted in the movement and the body. It's the snake that sheds its skin to remain itself; it's the hand that stretches out to mould and create.
I recorded most of the voice memos while walking, pushing the baby pram around the Lakes. A paradoxical way of writing dictated by the motion of my right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot automatically alternating behind the stroller. If it's true that, when one walks, one thinks with the feet instead of the brain, I've basically been writing this text with my feet. And this has made me wonder: how does an artist make art? With with which limb of their body, or organ?
In transcribing the memos, I was at first annoyed at the rhythmic rustle of the steps on the gravel and my son's cadenced shrieks and squeals covering the sound of my voice, which made it difficult to discern my own words. But then, for a split second, the frustration turned into relief. The words lost importance and dissolved into pure noise repeating itself; the tongue rolling in the mouth with no purpose whatsoever. And it struck me: repetition keeps us safe because it sets us free from the burden of finitude.
Text by Paola Paleari.
Valmue Valentino er en sammenstilling, jeg fandt på for to år siden. Den virkede som en sammensyning af noget skrøbelig symbolsk, hæftet på et stærkt kapitalistisk brand – der med sine etymologiske fangearme har fingrene godt nede i kærligheden. Ordene virkede ved deres allitteration næsten spekulativ, og alligevel konkret og kraftfuld. Som en dyr og transparent kjole man gerne vil eje eller skåret ud i pap som en poppet overskrift på et rejsebureaus flyer til en blålig drømmedestination. Efter at jeg så titlen for mig har den ligget i min lomme lige siden, som en tung og irriterende sten.
Det er første gang Cecilie Skov og Aia Sofia Coverley Turan udstiller sammen. Med stor formalistisk kontrast udfylder kunstnerne to etager i den italiensk lignende high end modebutik Fourboxes. Bag det let gennemsigtige gardin (2) træder vi ind i et fitting room: en skærminstallation i halvtransparent gul epoxy. Konkave flader i et honningklistret og tyggegummi-udstrakt elegant udtryk. Spejlinstallation Mirroring skjuler den spejlede… frem for at dirigerer blikket tilbage, drejes det rundt i buer, der som en tilfrosset sø, kun har indkapslet noget grumset og en gulkronet valmue (!), som i strid med dens natur ikke har tabt sine blade efter at være blevet plukket, kunstigt lysende, et fastholdt symbol på skrøbelighed og eufori.
Ligesom Skovs værk fremstår i en mangel på sin hovedperson – den som spejler sig - og derved kun lader spejlene spejle sig selv, arbejder Coverley Turans ligeledes med fraværets plasticitet. Coverley Turan formgiver det uoversættelige ved de samtaler, som er foregået, nu forduftet og snart forsvundet. Stadfæstet og støbt i bronze bliver socialiteten omkring gaden, den flisebelagte grund, de guffede og ud-spyttede solsikkekerner, til en rolig, men teatralsk figuration. Personerne har for længst forladt stedet, men deres tilstedeværelse har krystallisteret sig efterladenskaberne på jorden. Bag den bløde patina findes en længelsfuld brutalitet. Billedskabende virker titlen A handfuld of salt som et koncentrat af en uhåndgribeligt intensitet. Noget vil utvivlsomt gå til spilde.
Det er igennem en følsom forbindelse at de to billedkunstneriske praksisser har fundet et slægtskab i en heftigt vakkelvorn dynamik. Begrebet valgslægtskab er det første som falder mig ind. Det vil sige noget, som ikke umiddelbart hører til hinanden, men som alligevel har en tilbøjelighed til at slå sig sammen og indgå i en eller anden relation. Et romantisk begreb som stammer fra kemiens verden. Goethe har skrevet en hel roman om det. Når jeg kommer i tanker om det her, er det fordi Skov og Coverley Turans værker taler sammen, men uden at udtrykke det. De adskiller sig i deres tyngde og gestalt, men finder et tavst slægtskab i den delte optagehed for det håndværksmæssige og de fortællinger, som findes i materialet.
Et eller andet sted er identiteten forsvundet. Og ligesom titlen, der frigjort fra sin støbeform, langsomt mister forbindelsen til sit oprindelsessted, tegner værkerne på hver deres måde et billede, af noget som er gået tabt. Omklædningsrummet er tomt, solsikkekernerne spist og smidt. Tiden har sat sig fast i måltidet, som er hængt op på væggen. Afskåret fra sin egen realitet, tikker uret som i en eventyrlig stilstand. Skov og Coverley Turan har arbejdet med deres værker hver for sig og i spillet mellem abstraktion og figuration, er der lang vej i mellem dem. Når de så alligevel stilles sammen opstår der en scenografisk stilhed. Et rum for fiktion.
I romanen Azorno klipper en kvinde et salathoved i strimler. Spæder det i salaten fra i går – rører rundt til de brune kanter fra den oprindelig salat næsten er skjult. Det er noget pirrende ved denne gestus og jeg må spørger mig selv: ”Er det mon sådan kunstneren faktisk arbejder?”
Et eller andet ulmer bag kulissen. Appetitligt stillet frem til servering.
(1) I began writing some years ago when I worked for the artist Ursula Reuter Christiansen. I was living in her farmhouse, on the countryside for a good amount of time. She served me dinner, payed some money and I helped her in her studio. I had decided not to write anything about her when writing this text, not to make the sound of my stories too repetitive. When I mention her anyway it is because, when ever she had to perform, and by perform I mean really perform, she would put on the black valentino dress. When we somehow ended up in Leipzig I wanted to buy something, whatever, but Valentino. It was too expensive though. Until we came to this mall, just in the city center next to the old Rathaus I found the cheapest purple little Valentino rücksack and bought it right away. It has some scratches now. For a long time it was hanging in my boyfriend’s studio since he thought it was an object of significance. I never really used it. Somehow it’s too slippery to carry as a back, things just kept falling out. Almost unbearable.
(2) Five Stone Game, Aia Sofia Coverley Turan.
Mai Dengsøe, København/Skive, Maj 2021
Language emerges from inside the body, from inside a mouth, a head, the heart. And so language pulls out these insides, making them outsides: words or things for instance, or new beings. And so it crawls out onto reality, language, that autumn it was hung in a room. A number of blue outsides, a tight aqua forest. Here it stands for a moment, doesn’t grow, tells a bit. Surfaces do that. Dense stories, they move upwards only, indifferent to the horizon. And so these imprints can be anything, just like language. They can emerge from an inside which birthed them like a plastic womb, congealed them like cocoons. Spoke them with a wet mouth. What is found on the inside, still unshaped, is brought into the outer world to be heard. A flexible alphabet of wax. Partly menacing, partly ridiculous how everything, no matter how sturdy it seems, certainly decomposes (a joy for the egos behind anything meant for infinity). To actually aim for decomposition, to perceive it as an option rather than a destruction, because what is no longer visible still exists. Does it ever show that this particular scent of a neck filled you up. Some moments are thicker than others, some eyes open enough for you to rest in them, a whole existence of invisibility piling up between the pointy lines of reality. Please enjoy how the world is dispersed among us as a world, new leaves and words that stay in some gazes for a while before sloshing out. How cute, this fate of everything, to alternate between being inner and outer. Earliest of all: the liquid and its entire warm spirit before absolute luck throws it into an instant. Who actually knows if they’d prefer to be water or a decision? It is said that we rub off: the amount of drops leaving the inside of a loved one, the amount of moments where these drops are Your Dream. And so we share an orbit, becoming poison in the same jaws, waves and ears amongst each other. Spit out your holes on your fingertips, here they can wake up and take hold like greasy messages without eternity. Warm ice, we swim on.
Text by Nanna Friis
Linted armour, gulping back eggs,
the thirstiest dry wit treds water in feathers
buoying forth hot cash for a fanged womb
— a room, that damned container
of star-prep, where looking-glasses look back
at a bottle-bodied lady in a sodden crochet dress,
(the glass is making little circles on the table)
time to get outta here — they have little teeth, extra hidden under their tongues
to cut her and carrier bag body
all plastic, thin like the child thinks the sky.
Even her eyes be-holden
they stretch out sags at the seams
(and so on and so on spill over spill over). The lotus a solid house the sound of the sea…
Thin hunted, Oom upon the bank
Sows lights and glass messages
anything for clothes in a lucky, unlucky dress:
a soft white echo of a chain mail suit
calcified verities shelled out for a cup
under the re-formed washroom moon
Text by Hannah Regel
She was hidden, I know that much.
In the beginning time the institutions that housed her shimmered; fine dining and tiny muscles to shuck. Pearl encrusted lobster picks. Her casing was the clatter of cutlery. Bright white table cloths in the shape of an hour; curves of whalebone covering her rushing sands; roseate hue cheeks and enamel shined skin etc. Her obedience to these graces built a shape for her, shell-like.
At dinner, under tall ceilings, the sentience of ancient creatures coated her digestive tract and oesophagus, soft glowing and gold like knowledge. Hors d’oeuvre for the well kept in a hotel called sanity:
Numbered rooms suitcases individually wrapped hand-soaps napkin rings
A world measured in the ordered divides we name politeness. Internal and tied up.
Place wandered, rings expanded: envelopes meant intrigue. She misunderstood. She wrote on the outsides. She was given an inch and she made a body.
Her emboldened sights became sculptures, large and civic, and in their permanence undid her.
For the city, she cast the flesh of women in what can withstand the rain. She queried what an edge was and opened up her shell, letting the water in. Lobster picks on the ceiling, broken crockery, pearls dislodged. History flooded and was changed.
In horror or punishment the institutions shifted form. Corridors drew the perimeters of a landscape called Edge of The World. They called her what they call all women who get to know. She was mad and her shell did not shimmer but stank. Chasity and doors are what she’d been given, as if a room sufficed as a cork for the girl-brain. But she had her own limits, our salty rebel: veins filled with molluscs, two eyes condensed to one, skin misgiving. Her thirty-two teeth became a single bargaining tool for sisterhood. She left the hotel and took to the sea, emboldened by the vastness.
In the depths of her outlawed mind she turned her cage into a suit of armour; swamped the shell that housed her and spun it into bone. Madness wasn’t a name she could take. She wrote on the outside of envelopes. A life of containers misread.
It was there she stayed. Submerged. Drawing in tongues from the depths. Shaken from the history of her kin.
Text by Hannah Regel.