In his first solo exhibition in Denmark, the Danish-Turkish artist Deniz Eroglu focuses – with equal portions of humour and aesthetic beauty – on giving a voice to people who are rarely heard in public in Denmark, and hardly ever in Danish art institutions.
The title Milk & Honey refers to a Danish TV programme on Turkish immigrant workers called The Land of Milk and Honey, which was broadcast on Danish state television in 1989. The artist watched the programme when he was eight, and remembers it having a negative impact on his relationship to his Turkish background. Eroglu has described the sadness and disappointment he felt when he realised that a lot of people in Denmark didn’t care much for the people who had stayed in the country after originally being invited to come here as temporary migrant workers.
The title of the exhibition also alludes to the dream of Denmark as a land of plenty, flowing with milk and honey. For generations many immigrants and refugees have come to Denmark with high hopes that have had to be adjusted in the face of a culture that was perhaps less friendly and welcoming than they had anticipated. The works in the exhibition therefore go beyond Deniz Eroglu’s personal family history, and can be read as a portrait of Danish society and the Danes’ treatment of ‘outsiders’ – people like Eroglu’s father, who came to Denmark in the late 1970s.
In the exhibition, Deniz Eroglu reflects intelligently and pensively on his mixed background in sculptures and installations. Previously he has worked primarily with film and video, but Milk & Honey is a total installation with singing kebabs, a computer game starring Eroglu’s father in the lead role, piles of honey coins, and a river of milk.
During the exhibition there will be a programme of events, including an artist talk and film screening showing how Turks have been portrayed throughout film history.
Honey Coins, 2016. Detail
Mountain Elegy, 2012. 16mm