02. Apr 29. May 2016

Climate crisis, financial crisis, crisis of confidence, welfare crisis, governmental crisis … Like the boy in Aesop’s fable crying ‘Help, the wolf is coming!’ so often that nobody believes him when the wolf does come, the continued crisis rhetoric of recent years has left an indelible mark on public debates.

Exacerbated by a spiralling spin culture and a sensationalist media machine, public debate seems to have entered a vicious circle with very real social effects – from political alienation to symbolic legislation. But to what extent are the threats we face real or imagined? What are the consequences of the language used by the media for our understanding of basic democratic values like openness, tolerance and dialogue? And can we change the world by changing the story we tell about it?

Such questions form the starting point for the exhibition Varulv! (‘Werewolf!’), which unfolds as a poetic portrayal of society at the intersection of art, language and politics. As a framework for the exhibition, the author Kasper Nørgaard Thomsen has written a reinterpretation of Sergei Prokofiev’s musical story Peter & the Wolf (1936) reflecting on the crisis of welfare society. Different artists have then been invited to respond to the text in new works that include sculptural satire on the Scandinavian nuclear family, musical analyses of political speeches, disturbing war collages, and video on new ideologies based on Surrealism.

The exhibition consists of two parts. The first section is conceived as a spatial narrative in three acts, moving with critical humour from idyll and prosperity, through cacophony and seduction, to impotence and resignation. From a range of perspectives, the works in Varulv! probe the nature of crisis to locate some of the dominant political, social and psychological issues and mechanisms characterising the times we live in. There are, however, no clear-cut conclusions and the last word is not out. Because if, as the German linguist Victor Klemperer claims, words can be like tiny doses of arsenic, then maybe we can use them as an antidote as well.

The second part of the exhibition therefore sets the stage for reflection and dialogue on the issues and themes raised to identify new forms of language, narrative and possibilities for action. Central here is a programme of events that, alongside performances, readings and concerts, includes presentations by and debates with key experts and political debaters.

Participating artists: Ann Louise Andersen (DK), Aurora Sander (NO), Francisco Montoya Cázarez (MX), Lise Harlev (DK), Marie Kølbæk Iversen (DK), Henrik Plenge Jakobsen (DK), Konvoj (DK), Peter Land (DK), Mikkel Ploug (DK), Cia Rinne (FI), Johannes Sivertsen (DK), Iris Smeds (SE), Jasper Sebastian Stürup (DK), Christian Vind (DK).The exhibition is curated by Anna Holm.

The exhibition is supported by:


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