Astrid Myntekær


29. Mar 18. May 2014

I still dream of Orgonon, I wake up crying
You’re making rain, and you’re just in reach, when you and sleep escape me
What made it special made it dangerous, so I bury it and forget
You’re like my yo-yo that glowed in the dark

– Kate Bush, Cloudbusting

In the 1930s, the controversial Austrian psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich described the phenomenon of ‘orgone’, a cosmic force, which according to Reich permeates the universe and can be compared to what Christianity refers to as god. In all his work, Reich was convinced that the orgone energy had the potential to heal people and influence the physical world via homemade machines and instruments that could channel its power. One example was a so-called ‘cloudbuster’, which Reich set up outside his home and laboratory to remove clouds from the sky.

Based on Reich’s idea that we can attract and concentrate cosmic energies using devices we build ourselves, in her first solo exhibition Astrid Myntekær has transformed the first floor of Overgaden into an evocative total installation of copper, glass, light, electricity and magnetic fluid. Here the viewer is enveloped by a mystical, equivocal space where light and sound affect the emotions and senses.

Central to Myntekær’s art is her interest in and detailed work with materials – often found, low-tech materials – she develops into symbolic sculptural forms. Copper, which throughout history has been known for its healing properties, is bent, carved, wound and folded into a deflector of light and conductor of electricity – a simultaneously vital and lethal force. Resin is mixed with crystals and metal shavings to make ‘orgonite’ to protect against radiation, and glass vessels are connected to disco-ball motors to create hallucinatory light formations in the exhibition space.

In her work, Astrid Myntekær refers not only to the radical pioneers of psychology and New Age philosophy, but also to do-it-yourself icons of art history like Brion Gysin, whose homemade ‘dreamachines’ produced visual stimuli behind the closed eyes of the viewer. The capacity of subcultures to subsume the individual in their own theatrical world, like the raves of the techno scene or the dark, melancholic world of Goth culture, are further sources of inspiration. Astrid Myntekær calls the spaces she makes ‘shelters’, which provide people with the opportunity to create their own reality – places where the rational conclusions and concepts of everyday life fail in a wordless yet ambiguous, self-invented universe.

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