Jette Hye Jin Mortensen


22. Jun 17. Aug 2013

What is collective trauma, and how can it be faced? Jette Hye Jin Mortensen addresses trauma in an untraditional way, investigating the dynamics between the individual and the collective, the emotional and the scientific in her installation The Apology. Based on her own experiences of being born in South Korea and growing up in Denmark, she transforms Overgaden into a healing space.

In 2010 in the House of Commons the English Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a formal apology for England’s role in forcibly sending more than 100,000 poverty-stricken English children to the British colonies. Many of these Home Children ended up living in slave-like conditions as labourers. Others were abused, neglected – or forgotten. For Jette Hye Jin Mortensen, the apology to surviving Home Children and their families had a personally healing effect, at the same time as marking the starting point for a closer examination of the elements of collective trauma. How does society acknowledge trauma? How do we come to terms with it? And how can the forced emigration from England be compared to our current adoption sys- tem – as an yet unacknowledged trauma?

Jette Hye Jin Mortensen removes trauma from the political landscape to focus the gaze on her own cells. If we are all part of the same life form, collective change can also begin within a single cell of a single human body. In a comparative study, she dissolves our hierarchies and concepts of trauma. Buddhist philosophy merges with quantum mechanics, warm feelings and astrophysics. Science goes hand in hand with karma.

The three rooms in the exhibition contain traces of the process Jette Hye Jin Mortensen has experienced on her own body. A chaotic media archive of frustration and release is followed by a transitional space housing traces of the artist’s deepest secrets: DNA, brain scans and a moving, personal letter. Finally, the many different forms find release in a ritualised healing room, where a film of fluorescent fluids, ritual paraphernalia and images of cells runs in a long, mutated sequence. During this, the viewer is subject to the elements the artist has used to influence her own cells: soft fabric in a calming indigo blue, meditative physical forms, shining copper, and ambient sound.

Jette Hye Jin Mortensen’s art often focuses on themes of identity and collective creative processes. In the interaction between her own life and that of others, the personal dissolves in a collective sphere. The artist’s own experiences, repressions, thoughts, fears and knowledge have similarly been bent, twisted and poeticised into the larger story that has found its shape in and path to Overgaden.


Music: Eyvind Gulbrandsen

Video: Producer – Claudia Saginario; cinematographer – Catherine Pattinama Coleman; editor – Linda Man

Thank you: Tijana Miskovic, Louise Hansen, Eyvind Gulbrandsen, Filmgear, Ribka Pattinama Coleman, Timme Hovind, Danny Bertz Sørensen, Mikkel Friis-Møller, Line Lyhne, Maja Lee Langvad, Kim Stoker, Lasse Kjederqvist, Tammy Chu, Jim Loach, Lene Myong, Dorrit Saietz, Rikke Andreasen, Jim Karlsen.

The exhibition is supported / sponsored by: the Danish Arts Council’s Committee for Visual Arts, KVADRAT, Dynaudio, Interface.

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