In 2013 Overgaden launched the exhibition series REVISIT in order to delve into the history of the art institute itself. Since then, once a year we have revisited key exhibitions from a contemporary perspective to explore some of the artistic experiments and new departures that have taken place at Overgaden over the years.
This year the series culminates with a large-scale presentation of the work of Hanne Nielsen and Birgit Johnsen. The artist duo are among the leading exponents of video art in Denmark, and with this version of REVISIT Overgaden provides an opportunity to explore their long-standing and uncompromising investigation of the medium of video.
The background for the exhibition is the video installation Territorielle udsagn (‘Territorial Statements’), which was exhibited at Overgaden in 2002 and drew a lot of attention when it was made due to its experimental use of video. In the work, six women describe an episode in their lives where they felt their boundaries were transgressed, an episode they recount four separate times over several days. During the course of the work small changes in the women’s tone, choice of words and thoughts are registered – one even ends up reviewing her story and changing her mind during the process – just as the lighting, camera angle and framing vary from session to session. Via formal and narrative shifts the work engages the viewer in a dialogue on the criteria we use to judge the authenticity of what we see, as well as the role the medium and our expectations of it play in our determination of veracity.
Its critical dispute with reality and the medium of video has made Territorielle udsagn a cardinal point in the work of Nielsen and Johnsen. So when Overgaden brings the REVISIT series to a close with an exhibition based on this work here in 2018, the focus is specifically on how the artists create narratives. Divided into four sections, the exhibition follows key trajectories in their work under the titles ‘Technological Meditations’, ‘Montages of Reality’, ‘The Punctured Climax’ and ‘The Dissolution of the Fourth Wall’. Each section presents a selection of new and older works charting continuity and developments within each respective area of focus, while also providing a survey of the thematic scope of their work in which identity, gender and global politics are recurrent topics.
For the exhibition Hanne Nielsen and Birgit Johnsen have created Modern Escape, a new installation unfolding at the intersection of a constant media news stream and the private sphere. Orchestrated as a landscape of moving images, sound, light and moving objects, a changing environment of fragments that have to be pieced together is created as the viewer navigate the work’s complex layers of events and interwoven time and space.
The exhibition is curated by Anna Holm.
Hanne Nielsen (b. 1959) and Birgit Johnsen (b. 1958) graduated from the Jutland Art Academy in 1991 and 1990 respectively. They have collaborated since 1993, and have exhibited widely in Denmark and abroad as well as participated in numerous film festivals around the world. More recent solo exhibitions include Drifting at Sørlandets Kunstmuseum in Norway (2017), Protect / Release at Röda Sten Kunsthall in Sweden (2017), and Inclusion / Exclusion at ARoS Aarhus Art Museum in Denmark (2014). In 2016 the duo received the Carl Nielsen and Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen Award, Denmark’s most substantial honorary grant for artists, and in 2017 the prestigious Eckersberg Medal.
Installation view, 2018.
Outside is Present, 2017. Video.
Installation view, 2018.
Beskuerposition, 2018/2008. Site-specific video installation. Detail.
Grenåvej, 1995. Video installation.
Modern Escape, 2018. Video installation.