18 December

Which crisp see-through paintings stopped writer Nanna Friis in her tracks in 2020?

Marie Søndergaard Lolk, herbacious borders (detail), Vestjyllands Kunstpavillon, 2020. Photo: David Stjernholm.

Marie Søndergaard Lolk, installation view, herbaceous borders, Vestjyllands Kunstpavillon, Videbæk. Curated by Anna Margrethe Pedersen

Like a shock or a secret, Marie Søndergaard Lolk’s paintings spread out across a truly regular space in Videbæk this summer. The pavilion’s squeaky-clean, annex-like look – its hyper-institutional whiteness and greyness – percolated sanitarily into the works. Or the works steamed their way into the surroundings so that the exhibition’s creamily integrated totality almost sounded like a new slice of language. Encountering Søndergaard Lolk’s pictures is a crisp and brittle experience. A low-key muted beauty that is clearly there without splashing itself into our eyes – all of it hung with dry exquisite taste and a bit of grit for the head. Such transparent paintings; are they trying to fool us? Rather than fragility, renegotiations of art’s fetish for visibility were painted forth here. The whole thing looked like a vast dollop of anti-monumentality.

Amalie Gabel & Lena Mai Merle, Revenge is a Dish, Løvens Hule Gallery, website.

Løvens Hule Gallery, website, Thomas Bremerstent

When you get the feeling than an exhibition has thought carefully about what it could be beyond a set of walls containing things, it’s often be a nice place to be. Created by Oslo-based artist Thomas Bremerstent, Løvens Hule (The Lion’s Den) stages screen-based exhibitions, and in 2020 a total of eight have filled this animated white cube. It goes without saying that this art experience involves minimal physical engagement. But the minimal has proven successful at becoming conceptually sexy, and the micro-exhibitions presented here feel generous rather than introverted. Here, young and established artists alike (Vilje Vestenfor, Frederik Exner, Dirkjan van der Linde, and others) calibrate their works to the digital realm. Video (stills), sound, sculpture, and paintings are in the space as well as unpretentiously beautiful exhibition texts and a heavenly online atmosphere whose openness seems as relaxed as it is sincere.

Nanna Abell, Bang, 2020. Installation view, The Slits, Arcway Nightlands Connector Jennifee-See Alternate, Copenhagen. Photo: Jakob Emdal.

The Slits, Arcway Nightlands Connector Jennifee-See Alternate, Copenhagen. Curated by Anna Tydén

This autumn, a tiny place on Amager, so gently secluded and down-at-heels crumbling that it’s almost too perfect, got close to presenting a small blockbuster: intimate intersections between the works of Nanna Abell, Anne Mette Schultz, and Gianna Surangkanjanajai. A line consisting of Abell’s sculptures, romantically zany, all skulls and stones and shattered car windows, ploughed its way through the terrazzo. Another cool axis between Surangkanjanajai’s two mirrored expanses chopped up the room or spruced it up, while Schultz’s cast silk flowed down walls and windows, making them warmer. The whole thing made Arcway’s severe stylishness collapse somewhat, drizzling a bit of pop across the venue’s beautiful interior and generous exhibition programme.

– Nanna Friis is an art historian and one of Kunstkritikk’s writers. January will see the publication of Hvor kunst hører til, a Danish edition of Chris Kraus’s collection of essays Where Art Belongs from 2011, translated by Friis in collaboration with Emma Holten.

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