A heavy-metal hymn oozing contemporary doomsday apocalypse with a twist.
In his first major solo show – Lilith Grotto – Kim Richard Adler Mejdahl, cross-disciplinary artist and musician, presents seven new works of video, sculpture, installation, and interactive animation. With equal parts of dark humour, poetry, and absurd horror, Mejdahl transforms the entire ground floor of Overgaden into a disconcerting, gothic world of magic mirrors; an underworld where Christian codes are scrutinised and related to the innate brutality of nature and where the role of audience members as co-producers is central.
Entitled Lilith Grotto Mejdahl sets the tone by combining several conflicting religious references, playing on both life and death. Lilith, a name reputedly deriving from the flower lily, was a Jewish biblical figure later demonized by the Christian church. In many cultures, the grotto is a holy place, worshipped as a natural altar. It is a female metaphor and the ultimate symbol of the uterus. In Western funeral rites the lily flower is associated with human mortality, by functioning as a symbol of spiritual rebirth. Finally, ‘Lilith Grotto’ was the name of one of the largest Satanic churches in the USA during the 1960s.
Staged as a dark and convoluted cave, Lilith Grotto combines images of volcanic apocalyptic scenarios, witchy rituals, and the destruction of Christian symbols with musical instruments, animated fantasy creatures, and a poetic music video (Hour of Moth) in which the artist, in a sensual voice, invokes the transforming powers of light to mirror the desire of moths.
The exhibition incorporates several musical elements, inviting visitors to use their voices and bodies to create pictorial motifs, sounds, and songs. The visual expression of the works Doomsdaydrummer and Orallyn is defined directly by auditive audience interaction while the sculptural installation Psalm Machine is a cocoon-like string instrument played by inserting small balls into the instrument. Mejdahl wants to make the audience musical co-creators of the sound and afterlife of the exhibition. Hence, all sound generated by the audience is recorded and subsequently carefully put together by the artist and released as a new major collective musical piece.
Contrasting the omnipresent contemporary discourse on climate crisis and Anthropocene guilt, Lilith Grotto can be viewed as a piece of eco-gothic horror where the notion of embracing the monstrous essence of nature is praised as the key to a sustainable communal future. The eco-gothic philosophy examines the construction of the complex gothic body as inhuman, non-human, trans-human, post-human, or hybrid, asking how it can be more meaningfully interpreted as a starting point for new environmental and species-related identities. In continuation of this, Lilith Grotto plays with the idea that we are teetering on the threshold of a new and radically changed understanding of nature; an understanding where humans, powerless in the face of the untameable and menacing nature, discovers a redeeming possibility of entering into a new, collective covenant that allows us to unite with the maternal monstrosity of nature.
Lilith Grotto 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.
Kim Richard Adler Mejdahl studied at the Funen Art Academy and graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2019. Mejdahl has shown at venues including Kunsthal Charlottenborg, OK Corral, and Villa Kultur and screened his video works at venues such as CPH PIX, the Seoul International New Media Festival (KR), the CBS Digital Art Space (DK), the VOID International Animation Film Festival (DK), the Flat Earth Film Festival (IS), and the Animation Volda Festival (NO), and others. Moreover, Mejdahl releases electronic music under the alias Kim Kim, creating musical album releases, audio-visual concerts, and producing music for film productions. In 2018, he received the Spring Exhibition Solo Award for his video works ODE and No Ozone. The former was acquired by the National Gallery of Denmark for their collection.