7 December

Kirsten Ortwed’s highlights from the year in art 2023 were all by artists she did not know beforehand.

Miriam Kongstad, Free-Fall, performance at Folkemødet Bornholm, 2023. Photo: Rune Schytte.

Miriam Kongstad, Free-Fall, New Carlsberg Foundation, Folkemødet, Allinge

Miriam Kongstad’s performance was an impressive and enriching experience. Fuelled by raw power and with striking choreography and sound, Kongstad delivered some of the best work I’ve seen in a long time. The entire performance is arranged around her own text, ‘Free-Fall,’ which she delivers in rhythmic interplay with the movements of her body. Again and again, she falls to her knees with a ferocity that ripples through the audience as she utters the words: “Out of my pocket, I pull a banana. The riper the better. The fall will hit harder.” She spares neither herself nor the outside world from these merciless falls: “I throw and I stumble, tumble between thrill and despair, and I turn myself into an icon of comic release.” The fallen angel rises again and again.

Marie Rud Rosenzweig, Hands and Knees, 2023. Photo: Malle Madsen.

Marie Rud Rosenzweig, Kipple, Kunstforeningen Gl. Strand, Copenhagen

A fascinating encounter with an oeuvre that drew me into what I would call the “spirit of painting.” The special thing about Rosenzweig’s paintings is that they radiate persistence and a painterly slowness where each individual painting is its own space. She is fascinated by the concept of “kipple,” a term that denotes seemingly useless everyday objects, for example, an empty lozenge box or a key to a stolen bicycle. Originating from Philip K. Dick’s sci-fi novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968), kipple was the focal point of the exhibition, but the individual pictures also s the artist moving in and out of history, and into the painting’s many layers where the references jump from everyday junk and bric-a-brac to powerful comic-book figures, creating poignant painterly dramas.

Simon Dybbroe Møller, Local Showers, 2023. Installation view, Full of Days, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, 2023. Photo: David Stjernholm.

Simon Dybbroe Møller, Local Showers (2023), Full of Days, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Curated by Julia Rodrigues and Francesca Astesani

“What the fuck?” I thought when I bumped into the shower cubicles at Charlottenborg’s major anniversary exhibition. “Finally, a sculpture I can relate to 1 to 1.” At that point I didn’t not know who the artist was, so I began studying the work with avid, geeky attention: it comprises six different shower cubicles placed close together so that they form a large block in the middle of the room. The dimensions are optimal, the shower hoses and heads look functional at first glance, but there are no signs of running water. The bottom of the sculpture is filled with rocks and stones of various sizes, suddenly reminding me of mountain rivers I have seen on hikes. A piece of torn leather with a zipper lies between the damp stones, immediately bringing me back down to earth. Was I looking at the global catastrophe here? Taking a step back, I bumped into a small sign on the floor: “temporarily out of order.” After this encouraging message, I found the artist’s name: Simon Dybbroe Møller.

– Kirsten Ortwed is a sculptor and recently moved back to Denmark after forty years abroad, primarily in Cologne. Lives in Copenhagen and on Bornholm.

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