In his first major solo exhibition, Peter Voss-Knude presents the results of a cross-disciplinary project in an eclectic mix of musical and visual expressive forms. Peter & the Danish Defence transforms Overgaden Institute of Contemporary Art into an ongoing artwork juxtaposing pop music, political activism and contemporary art that offers the audience unique insight into the reality and experiences of Danish soldiers.
In 2014, with the permission of the Danish Armed Forces, Peter Voss-Knude gained privileged and confidential access to the lives of soldiers at the barracks of the Guard Hussar Regiment in Slagelse. This marked the beginning of an unconventional artistic and musical collaboration, in which the moving and compelling stories of the soldiers were interpreted on a pop album written and composed by Voss-Knude. The exhibition at Overgaden marks the official release of the second part of this highly original double album, created in collaboration with the Danish Armed Forces – the first and only of its kind in the world.
The use of pop music as a medium and source to comprehend and communicate such complex subject matter is an attempt to create an accessible framework to foster mutual understanding. The basis of Voss-Knude’s work is to challenge the prejudices soldiers usually face, as well as the prejudices soldiers have about civilian society: prejudices that hinder any real exchange of views or understanding of differing realities.
The exhibition also includes a 2x12m installation of charcoal drawings based directly on Voss-Knude’s long-term, in-depth dialogue with the participating soldiers, as well as a range of media including sound, textiles, documentation and research material. Voss-Knude’s exhibition represents a fascinating and unusual take on the nuances of masculinity that emerge in the brotherhood between men who enter battle side by side. For Voss-Knude the relationship between the soldier and civilian, and the efforts of both to understand each other, are essential to our ability to communicate about being a soldier in a warzone – and about Denmark as a country at war.
Peter & the Danish Defence represents Voss-Knude’s attempt to understand and portray a closely knit community of soldiers, and to understand how they see the adrenalin-pumped, transient euphoria of close combat, as well as how they react in life-threatening situations.
Peter Voss-Knude (b. 1987) is an artist and singer with a BA in Fine Art & Art History from Goldsmiths, University of London. He has been an activist in the Russian artist group VOINA, and spent a year trying to become a special constable with The Metropolitan Police. Recently he has had a solo exhibition at Counter Space in Switzerland, and has also given concerts at Ideal Bar and the Royal Danish Arsenal Museum in Copenhagen.
The album Peter & the Danish Defence can be streamed from various sites from June 12th, 2017.