Uffe Isolotto Headed for the Lagoon

In 2021, the Danish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale will feature social-realist drama, mythological references, and idyllic farmyard Romanticism. All courtesy of visual artist Uffe Isolotto.

Uffe Isolotto, New Ache Headache (detail), Tranen 2016. Photo: Sven Sprogøe.

There is something prophetic about artist Uffe Isolotto taking over the Danish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2021, just a few years after he changed his surname from “Holm” to its Italian translation, “Isolotto.”

In a Danish context, Isolotto is best known from the Copenhagen art scene, having contributed several innovative exhibitions and exhibition platforms over the last decade. He co-founded the leading artist-run space Toves Galleri (later Toves), 2010–2017. In addition to prominent solo shows at venues such as Overgaden and Tranen, one of the highlights of his career – and one which few have seen – is a digital graphic novel, Dana Plato’s Cave I-III (2014–15), a work staged in three different ways, on three different days and in three different places in the world, including an evocative, eerie, and genuinely scary exhibition (curated by artist Rasmus Myrup) that took place in a murky underground parking facility in Copenhagen. 

In recent years, Isolotto has also made his mark within the field of public art, including a sculptural installation for the Vendsyssel Theatre in Hjørring, executed in a distinctive and baroque camp style. Alongside fellow artist and partner Nanna Starck, Isolotto runs the prominent exhibition venue Age of Aquarius from their roof terrace.

The Danish Arts Foundation’s Committee for Visual Arts Project Funding appointed Isolotto on the basis of a new open-call procedure where proposals were welcomed from all interested Danish visual artists. From a total of 190 submissions, the committee shortlisted three artists who were asked to elaborate on their project proposals. Besides Isolotto, the finalists included Christian Falsnaes and the duo Kirsten Astrup & Maria Bordorff.

The chair of committee, Lisette Vind Ebbesen, said: “The shortlisted projects were all truly excellent, but we were particularly excited about Uffe Isolotto’s. Uffe Isolotto works with sculpture in refreshing and surprising ways, and in his proposal he even went on to challenge himself as an artist in truly impressive ways. In these times we live in, the connections that Uffe Isolotto establishes between physical and digital realities are relevant and poignant to everyone, and visitors can look forward to an exhibition that fills out the entire Danish Pavilion, offering myriad impressions ranging from the immediate and aesthetic to the poetic and conceptual”.

With the selection of Uffe Isolotto, the Danish Arts Foundation continues its concept of arranging solo shows in the Danish Pavilion, just as it has for the last four instalments of the biennale. Strikingly, all the artists featured belong to the same generation. Isolotto (b. 1976) follows Larissa Sansour (b. 1973), who exhibited in 2019. Kirstine Roepstorff (b. 1972) exhibited in the Danish Pavilion in 2017. In 2015 the artist chosen was Danh Vo (b. 1975), and in 2013 it was Jesper Just (b. 1974).

Isolotto prepared his proposal in collaboration with Jacob Lillemose, who was appointed curator of the exhibition in the Danish Pavilion. 

The 2018–2021 Committee for Visual Arts Project Funding comprises the following members: museum director Lisette Vind Ebbesen, gallery owner Charlotte Fogh, and artists Peter Land, Jane Jin Kaisen, and Søren Assenholt.

Uffe Isolotto, Bodies on Balconies, 2018. Public commission for Vendsyssels Teater, Hjørring. Photo: Uffe Isolotto.