Riding Towards Emptiness is a filmic, performative, and installational narrative created in close collaboration with actor Rosalinde Mynster.
The formative communities of youth, pure ideals, and shattered ambitions are central themes in the Danish artist Iselin Forslund Toubro’s first major solo show entitled Riding Towards Emptiness. The exhibition is a filmic, performative, and installational narrative created in close collaboration with actor Rosalinde Mynster.
Riding Towards Emptiness is centred on the thirty-two-minute film En trup og en dans om drømme (A Troupe and a Dance about Dreams). In it, Toubro examines—through theatrical, absurd, and caricatured acting—the relationships, roles, and power hierarchies emerging amidst a group of young friends who, together, have created a biodynamic pop-up restaurant in town. The homogeneous group of friends promote the hip culinary culture of the time while also observing a special set of dogmatic rules for their close-knit community. They are free, independent, idealistic, and experimental. However, one day, external factors appear to put their social dogmas to the test.
The film’s rhythmic tempo and narrative drama is underpinned by the music delivered by a couple of the characters in the group—played by the musicians themselves (Jakob Emil Lamdahl Pedersen and Adam Kjær Nielsen)—either as acoustic melodies or song. Toubro has sourced her inspiration in the medieval troubadour, an itinerant figure who would entertain the bourgeoisie with intellectual and socio-critical songs and ballads—often with a humorous twist. The troubadour was an artistic and free-thinking agent with the gift of the gab. Likewise, Toubro’s young friends are clear about their ideals, but their unshakeable codices are challenged when the city’s authorities puncture the idyll and the friends resort to entrenching themselves in nature. In this new setting, the group is faced with another challenge. Will they, with their self-invented moral compass, feel liberated and free in the realm of nature? Or will the sense of boundlessness drive them into moral decline?
In continuation of the film, Toubro has created a sculptural and scenographic installation, reusing the physical materials from the troupe’s mobile restaurant van in two new configurations: a long foldable system wall functioning as a room divider for the film and as storage space for much of the troupe’s tools and props and a long production table resembling an old-fashioned manual textile production unit with sewing machines, piles of fabric, and hand-drawn templates of abstract tool shapes. In the centre, a car radio is playing the troupe’s own radio channel. The elements appear as vitalised stage sets and props from the film, promoting the sense of the exhibition as total theatre. During the exhibition period, the film’s characters will occasionally through performative acts activate the installation.
Based on the theory that modern man’s upholding his self is dictated by the outside world rather than an inner being, Toubro spikes her own generation’s hipster and performance culture in Riding into Emptiness. She explores how people’s basic need for meaning and authenticity takes form and how the vital meaning of dreams is abandoned in favour of the realities of life.
Riding Towards Emptiness is one of two parallel exhibitions created under the auspices of the Overgaden INTRO program. INTRO is developed with support from Aage og Johanne Louis-Hansen Fond and offers a special and resourceful one-year program intended to support newly-educated young visual artists in Denmark in their sustainable artistic development and international exchange. INTRO is a long-term development process, tailored by Overgaden to the individual artistic practice, including financial travel and production support as well as artistic, administrative, and technical advice from leading Danish and international experts in the field of art. The one-year process culminates in a major solo show held at Overgaden.
Iselin Forslund Toubro (b.1990) studied at the Emily Carr University of Film, Art and Design, Vancouver, Canada and the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, Sweden, graduating from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine in 2019. Toubro works at the crossroads between art film, performance, and installation—often in large-scale productions involving actors, musicians, and others. In recent years, she has taken part in the exhibitions A Play, A Tale, the Round Tower (2019), Planning Life, Adult Gallery (2016), and No Games Without Rivals, the Pavilion at Kunsthal Charlottenborg (2016) and screened her films at CPH:DOX, and the Bozar Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels.
Idea and manuscript: Iselin Forslund. Toubro og Rosalinde Mynster
Photographer: Catherine Pattinama Coleman
Assistant photographer: Kristian Jørgensen
Costume design: Fransiska Forslund Toubro
Music: Jakob Emil Lamdahl Pedersen, Adam Kjær Nielsen
Sound design: Emil Voxen
Sound directors: Nina Liv Bendstrup, Emil Voxen
Production manager: Kristina Thuring-Møller
Recording manager: Camilla Juul.
Actors: Rosalind Mynster, Ellaha Lack, Louise Bonde, Lea Gregersen, Thomas Persson, Jakob Emil Lamdahl Pedersen, Adam Kjær Nielsen, Sara Boberg, Karen-Lise Mynster.