Who has not dreamt of stepping inside the drawings of the German romantics or Spanish surrealists and exploring the world of the image with the entire body?
Using advanced, contemporary digital technology it is now possible to experiment with this kind of journey – an undertaking that can be experienced in Danish digital artist Christoffer Birkkjær and Portuguese visual artist Duarte Filipe’s joint exhibition Even at Overgaden. The exhibition is the result of a collaboration bringing together different forms of visual expression – drawing and computer visuals – to investigate the borders between the digital and the analogue.
Previous to the exhibition the artists engaged in a long-term dialogue traversing national borders and media boundaries. One of their shared interests has been investigating how to build a bridge between classical drawing and digital code. During the process they developed a mutual working language based on and establishing different perspectives on properties like contrast and depth in each media. This dialogue has resulted in a set of shared rules, which constantly cross-fertilize each other in an equal exchange and provide a foundation for the code, drawing – and exhibition.
In Even the viewer encounters a large, abstract drawing by Duarte Filipe, which forms the central motif of the exhibition. The drawing is located on a white wall in the first room, playing on traditional understandings and expectations of a museal art space. Through Christoffer Birkkjær’s custom-made shader code – familiar from video effects and computer games – computer rendering releases the drawing from its two-dimensional surface, creating an all-encompassing visual experience and exploration behind the curtains leading into the second room of the exhibition. Here the drawing is projected around and into the room, transforming the abstract motif into a sensory landscape of horizons and rivers, mountains and valleys. The installation functions as a changeable realm, making the abstract concrete and reanimating it again and again. The incessant flow of images produces constant shifts in time and place, so the exhibition is never the same twice.
The exhibition aims to generate synergy between the digital and the analogue, provide insight into overlooked details through bodily ex- perience, and create a new composite space between two media. At the same time it also addresses the very premise of the art experience by challenging the viewer to consider the terms of interaction between the two visual forms. Since neither the analogue nor digital could exist without each other Even, as its title implies, encourages the viewer to focus equally on both.
Christoffer Birkkjær (b. 1986) is trained as a photographer and has a BA from the School of Visual Communication in Haderslev, Denmark. His previous work with interactive installations includes productions at the Nobel Museum in Dubai, and in Denmark at Experimentarium in Hellerup and Skovgaard Museum in Viborg.
Duarte Filipe (b. 1984) is a graduate of Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and has exhibited in Lisbon, Düsseldorf, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen.