5 December

What were the most memorable art experiences of 2019? Today we hear from artist Mia Edelgart from Copenhagen.

High Life by Claire Denis.

High Life, 2018 (premiered in Denmark 2019). Directed by Claire Denis

Finally, a sci-fi movie created by a seventy-plus woman! This film is about the ethics of reproduction, social implosion, sex, and births while hurtling towards a black hole. In lieu of being executed, nine death-row prisoners have been sent out into space to obtain a new energy resource for earth. They are placed in a sterile spaceship that is gradually soiled by abject squirts of semen, breast milk, and blood. It’s worth watching for the opening scenes alone: a father dressed in an astronaut suit is fixing the outer hull of a spaceship in a quiet, star-filled universe; a baby alarm is installed inside his helmet; left alone inside the spaceship, a baby coos…

Bubble Metropolis, installation view, Vermilion Sands, Copenhagen. Photo: Kevin Malcolm.

Bubble Metropolis, Vermilion Sands and Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen

The sea as the metaphorical cellar of capitalism and colonialism, and the sea as a real place one could listen to. Awash in blue light, wearing earplugs and earmuffs, and sunk back into an inflatable  chair, my body was shaken by the deep tones of Calder Harben’s underwater sound recordings of noise pollution, among others. This was deftly accompanied by Amitai Romm’s embroidered cartoon of Freudian dream analysis in which night-time urination turns into a rapidly spreading ocean complete with ships. Such oceanic loss of control was taken further with the display of Allan Sekula & Noël Burch’s The Forgotten Space (2010), as well as The Otolith Group’s work on the mythological underwater community of Drexciya, made up of the unborn children of enslaved pregnant women.

Women for Rojava, GORKI Teater, Berlin. By Bilgin Ayata, Heja Netirk, Hito Steyerl, and Anina Jendreyko

This protest performance in response to the situation in Rojava is an example of influential people using their voices in solidarity with others. Through speeches and role play, the group points to the link between the EU refugee agreement with Turkey and the unwillingness to put pressure on President Erdogan. Hito Steyerl also stipulated that her works will not be displayed at national museums until the German state intervenes and generally changes its refugee policy. An important message, and one which was heard. But at the same time, it pointed out the problem that once a piece of art belongs to a public collection, it can also be used as an emblem of a nation’s progressive and inclusive culture.

– Mia Edelgart (b. 1984) is a visual artist living in Copenhagen. She is currently working on an exhibition for Astrid Noacks Atelier in Copenhagen in June 2020 alongside Ninna Poulsen, Deirdre Humphrys, and Tine Tvergaard. In addition, she is developing a project on wet nurses for the exhibition M/other, curated by Ida Bencke from the Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology, also due in 2020.

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