While Overgaden’s public activities are temporarily paused due to the corona situation, we are preparing the first major solo exhibitions to re-open in a newly refurbished Overgaden on September 11. Here we reveal the second of the two exhibiting artists – Helene Nymann. In this Q&A she tells us what she spends her time on in her studio.
What are your current concerns in your artistic practice (themes, materials, processes, ideas?)
The concerns or rather questions that I am currently engaged in come from a longer period of research on human and non-human memory. I look at how memory has been applied and understood throughout history, and how we may use it to imagine the future. I am interested in neuroscience, ancient and indigenous memory-systems as well as embodied knowledge as a way to stimulate alternative ways of remembering. Currently, I am undertaking a practice based ph.d. affiliated with the Interacting Minds Centre at Aarhus University and Kunsthal Aarhus. For the exhibition at Overgaden, I will show a new video-work, sculptures, and a publication. I want to keep the specific content of this work a secret, but I can say that I am pretty obsessed with a particular sea-slug that is commonly used as a neuroscientific test-subject.
How do you prepare for the exhibition at Overgaden? What are your thoughts behind the exhibition?
I prepare by spending a whole lot of time in my studio, reading, writing, drawing sketches, making prototypes and being in constant dialogue with my collaborators. My thoughts do take their usual journeys through uncertainty, surprise, exhaustion until I arrive at a somewhat acceptance of what is. I am never really satisfied and always feel that I should/could have done better, so I recite that famous Samuel Beckett quote quite a lot; “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Which adjustments have you made in the current corona-lockdown?
Besides physical (social) distancing to friends and family, I have definitely been following the news much more regularly. Other than that the lockdown gave me more time to work in the studio and the stillness to do some writing. It has been mind-blowing to experience the entire globe shut down while our future shifts into unknow territory. Proving again our entanglement with one another and dependency on our vulnerable ecosystems. The ability to navigate uncertainty is something most visual artists are rather good at, so I feel we are much needed in imagining novel ways to protect this fragile earth.
(View the image series from Helene Nymann’s studio to the right of this page)