How do digital technologies affect our view of the production of meaning and images? In Jacob Dahl Jürgensen’s first solo exhibition in Denmark, both the works and the viewer are whirled into an unstable vortex of distortion, dissolution and creation.
As in a shipwreck, the order of the exhibition has foundered and has been frozen in a ‘half-finished’ limbo. A series of pictures has been taken apart and left leaning against the wall as though waiting to be put together or transported away, while a sculpture has been casually placed on the floor beside an empty plinth. Both the works and the context in which they are presented appear to be trapped in an indeterminate state between ‘having been’ and ‘becoming’.
With references to both archaeology and classical culture, Jürgensen points out the layers of digital visual culture. In film, collage and sculpture which have been subjected to various forms of digital processing, he thematises the ways in which the signs and images of culture are no longer anchored in a clear, material reality. One example is the work series entitled Artefacts (2011), in which fragments of jars and vases have been transformed, using a 3D printer, into hybrid objects made up of both the previously existing and the new.
In his works, Jürgensen allows analogue and digital forms to merge into, overlap or illuminate each other in an exploration of how meaning is constantly shifting and mutating in the contemporary media landscape. The video work Un Voyage (2011) places these developments in a historical context through a personal anecdote about the Danish watchmaking company Jules Jürgensen, founded by the artist’s ancestor, whose reputable products ended up as cheap Rolex copies after circulating in the global economy.
In a critical manner, Jacob Dahl Jürgensen investigates the exhibition format, the art object and the role of the visual artist, and thereby open up a discussion of contemporary culture and the ways in which technological development affects such concepts as identity, reality and representation.