22 December

Kunstkritikk’s Danish editor looks back on a year in art that included mermaid zombies and a heartfelt glitch of a group exhibition.

Miles Greenberg, 8:10 (The Embrace), Enter Art Fair, Copenhagen 2020. Photo: Julie Nymann.

Miles Greenberg, 8:10 (The Embrace), part of the art programme ‘Thinking Feelings. A Space of Intimacy’, Enter Art Fair, Tunnelfabrikken, Copenhagen. Curated by Irene Campolmi

Inside the glass cube, two performers sat on a rock embracing. Wearing skin-coloured panties and made blind by white contact lenses, they reportedly sat like that all day, motionless like statues. Everything about the nature of a display case invites you to look at it, to look at them. And I did, walked around them and studied their naked black bodies frozen in an exoticising test of endurance. But amid this total exposure, something was also thrown back at me, reflected in their dead zombie eyes: my own gaze. With this move, the double mermaid occupied an ambiguous position, poised between object and subject, creation and interpretation. As Adorno said in Minima Moralia: “The splinter in your eye is the best magnifying glass.”

Hannah Heilmann, Høstsalme (Harvest Hymn), 2019; Gamborg / Magnussen, Sen Kål(Late Cabbage), 2020. Arkadisk Frederiksberg, Møstings Hus, 2020. Photo: David Stjernholm.

Arkadisk Frederiksberg, Møstings Hus, Frederiksberg. Arranged by Yvette Brackman, Robert Gassner, and Hannah Heilmann, with contributions by Hugo Hopping, Gamborg/Magnussen, and Søren Aagaard

At a time when visibility is increasingly about marketing, Arkadisk Frederiksberg was a portal into something else. In a former finance minister’s eighteenth-century summer residence, a range of architectures, economies, cabbages, and apples were made to ferment, causing any algorithms to derail or disappear in Søren Aagaard’s bucket of kombucha. Heilmann’s Laura Ashley dresses knelt welcome in the hallway, while Brackman’s Gheldh sauna with its built-in soundtrack called on the ultra-rich to remember the biblical practice of ​​tithing, or giving back to the community. A heartfelt glitch of a joint exhibition that only managed to cohere by the outermost hem of its dress.

Unboxing the Goodiepal Collection (detail), Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen 2020. Foto: Kunstkritikk.

Goodiepal, Unboxing the Goodiepal Collection, National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen

The unboxing of Goodiepal’s ceaselessly mutating collection continued until the exhibition’s very last days, at which point backdoor sales of synthesisers, time machines, and bicycles took over. Before that, the magical collection had been augmented with, among other things, nail artist Nadia Jensen’s fateful mink sculpture done entirely in nails, and museum guard Dorthe H. Jürgensen’s weaving from 1978. Goodiepal and the bananas showed us what an exhibition can be, how a conversation about art can be conducted, and – not least – that we actually have quite an  experimental national gallery in Denmark. After carrying out interventions at the museum for almost six years and visiting the museum every single day during the ten-week exhibition period, it must now feel as if Goodiepal is leaving home – or is he?

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

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