With the exhibition format REVISIT, Overgaden delves into its own history to explore key, influential exhibitions that have formed not only Overgaden, but also art history in Denmark. A decade ago Seimi Nørregaard created the exhibition The Walls Have Ears, and to mark the occasion Overgaden has invited the artist to once again create a performance installation for the first floor gallery.
With The Walls Have Ears in 2006 Nørregaard surprised the audience at Overgaden by creating a stage set in the gallery, a set design that like a performer they could enter and go behind. The traditional boundary between the stage and the audience was erased, and through their sheer presence Overgaden’s visitors became actual players in the work. Every day brought new forms of interaction with the audience, making it impossible to experience the same work twice. The Walls Have Ears thus developed through its relationship to the visitor. Since then, Nørregaard has continued to work at the intersection of performance, poetry and installation. In her alternation between the familiar and the abstraction of poetry, she creates works that she herself describes as ‘spatial poems’ in which the audience are encouraged to participate through their own associations.
Like The Walls Have Ears, her new exhibition HIDE is set in surroundings where everyday objects conjure up the domesticity of home. White sheets hang from washing lines in a forest-like scenography. Like lines drawn in the air, they form swaying walls that both expose and conceal. We are hiding, but who from? A recurrent element of Nørregaard’s installations is the role of a performer in opening up the work to the audience. In HIDE the performer plays a stereotypical mother figure who dwells in the installation. MOTHER instructs, worries, makes people feel safe, needs to know everything, and knows when we are lying. She forgets herself and sacrifices herself. The presence of MOTHER is like a heavy sigh in the enveloping scenography that consists of a jumble of familiar domestic objects. The audience are entangled in a sensory chaos of objects and textiles like the mesh of collective memory. What is it we are hiding?
With HIDE Nørregaard explores and exposes what we try to hide and sweep under the carpet. The audience crawl and grope their way through an exploration of what has been censored and discarded. With its openness and poetry HIDE activates the imagination and invites the audience inside the creative space of the stage set, where it is in interaction with the visitor’s personal experiences that the work comes into being.
Seimi Nørregaard (b. 1975) graduated from The Nordic School of Drama in 1998. Most recently she has created the performance installation HOME in collaboration with Boaz Barkan at Warehouse 9 (2016), Work Work at the Independent Performing Arts Festival and Metropolis Festival (2015), Falling into the Undergrowth, a solo performance at the MELLEMRUM festival, and the in-house artist project Hello Hollow at Nikolaj Kunsthal’s Live Art for Kids programme (2014).
HIDE, 2016. Installation view