10 December

Which exhibitions will we remember from 2020? Today, art critic Louise Steiwer responds.

Rasmus Myrup, Salon des Refusés, 2020, installation view, Witch Hunt, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, 2020. Photo: David Stjernholm

Witch Hunt, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen. Curated by Alison Karasyk & Jeppe Ugelvig

Sometimes an exhibition really hits home, relating to everything you’ve been mulling over, both individually and as a community, all at once. 2020 provided an example in the form of Witch Hunt (Donald Trump’s favourite term) which takes the history of witch trials in the Nordic countries as the starting point for a presentation encompassing everything from the #MeToo movement, decolonisation, and climate issues to this autumn’s heated debate on who we pay homage to with statues, and who is forgotten when history is written. My favourite work in the exhibition – still on view at Charlottenborg – was Rasmus Myrup’s modern-day Bloksbjerg, the mountaintop where mythical figures and historical witches chilled out and sipped natural wine, just as if they were at an opening – something we’ve sorely missed since March.

Ursula Reuter Christiansen, To The Blue Hell, installation view, Bizarro, 2020. Photo: John Skoog.

Ursula Reuter Christiansen, To the Blue Hell, Bizarro, Copenhagen

In a backyard in central Copenhagen, in a storage room at the foot of a steep and narrow staircase, lies the city’s latest artist-run exhibition space, Bizarro, which quietly opened just as the rest of the country shut down. In Bizarro’s third exhibition, Ursula Reuters Christiansen’s To The Blue Hell, the descent was both literal and symbolic. At the bottom of the stairs, visitors were met by a cyan-blue parallel world in which tiny figures – based on Reuter Christiansen’s unpublished autobiographical tale of Annabell von Finkelstein – stood on the steps of various small stairs, on their respective ways to or from their own personal blue hells. Very relatable, given our current times.

Ghosthouse, performance still, Den Frie Udstillingsbygning. Foto: Malle Madsen.

Ghosthouse, Den Frie Centre of Contemporary ArtCopenhagen. Curated by Anna Weile Kjær

The freshest and most innovative exhibition format of the year must be Anna Weile Kjær’s transformation of Den Frie into a nocturnal performative amusement park. Viewers were strapped into carriages four at a time and taken on a ride inside a haunted house. Moving through installations and performances that constantly seemed to intertwine and reveal themselves and their own construction along the way, the trip finally culminated in Aske Høier Olsen’s account of a car crash. Between ghouls and clowns, kitsch and absurd murder scenes, a genuinely unheimlich energy arose, one that lingered in the body for several days. Eerie!

– Art historian Louise Steiwer is one of Kunstkritikk’s regular contributors. Based in Copenhagen, she is also one of the forces behind the artist-run exhibition space OK Corral in Frederiksberg.

For this year’s contributions to Kunstkritikk’s Advent Calendar, see here.

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