Kunsthal Aarhus presents this year’s MFA Degree Show, Afgang 19 – Coming Out, from DJK – The Jutland Art Academy, featuring new works by five graduating artists. Having its own art academy is a major boon for a city like Aarhus, and for Kunsthal Aarhus the MFA Degree Show offers a special opportunity to showcase what is going on within the young, professional art scene. This year’s artists work with analogue as well as digital media, and the exhibition presents art based on collage, glass sculptures, ceramics, photography, performance and video installations. Each in their own way, the individual works are manifestations of a special sensitivity to the formless, the language-less, and all those things that evade categorisation. The exhibition title articulates this sensibility, emphasising the insistent effort to create new images and open up multiple layers of meaning. The MFA Degree Show will be accompanied by a publication describing the processes behind the works, featuring sketches, notes, poetic texts and references. The artists have opted for an image-based portfolio rather than a more conventionally informative exhibition catalogue.
Artists: Mads Borre, Matilde Mørk, Maiken Stæhr, Freja Støttrup and Mark Tholander
Star Eyed Baby
Digital collage on acrylic, notice board, dyed cotton mesh
Taking his point of departure in the skylights at Kunsthal Aarhus, Mads Borre has created two digitally processed collage works. They blend abstraction with more illustrative images, forming a sequence that is simultaneously systemic and anti-systemic. Soft, tactile figures both mimic and ignore the hard lines of the grid structure in a dynamic coexistence of the rigid and organic – forming queer patterns of movement in an otherwise conformist world. The collages have a kinship with the organisational principles of a notice board, presenting loosely assembled images as analogue counterparts to a digital display. Still, the sense of immediate contact remains an illusion. A more intimate space is created by light, semi-transparent fabrics hanging from the ceiling.
Løber dit spor i sølv?
Performers: Makiko Aoyama, Sophie Arstall, Gilles Polet, Camilla Stage, Emma-Cecilia Ajanki, Robert Logrell
‘Listening better is a responsibility. Wanting to understand is an act of violence’. These are the concluding words of one of Matilde Mørk’s texts, and the sentence is central to her installation. Choosing the lung snail as a protagonist, she has created a performative and sorrow-full environment where wordless communication is cultivated in dance – but also in drool transformed into a slimy type of writing that turns into silver when it solidifies. A documentary video shows the performers’ slow, occasionally electric movements as they circle each other, suggesting a neurological-systemic connection. Contained within snail shells of glass, their speech bubbles of smoke remain as muted, yet fully-formed statements.
The moon will teach you nothing
Models: Markus Konstantin, Lucas Bergan
In her scenographically arranged installation, Maiken Stæhr lets sterile, glossy surfaces act as the foundations of a performative work. The deep blue tiles prompt thoughts of spas and baths; spaces where bodies are treated and assessed. Dripping water from the ceiling warns us of leaks above, and a fan sets the stagnant air in motion. The totality is an absurd scenario exploring the relationship between cause and effect, object and subject. An abandoned stage set, occasionally brought to life by two models wearing draped, sculpted porcelain pieces that obstruct their movements.
Digitally processed photograph
By directing her camera towards herself and her loved ones, Freja Støttrup has created a personal portrait series that, simply put, can be said to be about relationships – not just with others, but also those relationships you have with yourself and your self image. Hence, self-portraits are a recurring genre in Støttrup’s oeuvre, reflecting how the artist considers her work with photography part of an art therapy practice. The face is covered, and the body appears only partially, creating a sense of distance to the subjects portrayed in these otherwise very positive images.
They built the widened coral reef
In his video work, Mark Tholander reflects on the idea of life as a long walk along a straight line. We are presented with a number of situations where different characters each exist in their own closed film sets. Not only that: objects – even the foreground and background – appear to slip past each other like parallel narratives that never meet. For example, one scene shows a restaurant owner accompanying his house pianist through a seemingly infinite industrial kitchen where chefs cut and chop, sending vegetables flying. Only when something disruptive enters the narrative from outside, like a parasite, does disorientation arise, prompting new tracks to follow.
Curator and external supervisor: Maria Bordorff
Maria Bordorff (1988) has an MA in Moderne Kultur og Kulturformidling from The University of Copenhagen and is an art critic and writer for Kunstkritikk. She has previously been a freelance curator and involved with the running of the exhibtion venue New Shelter Plan. She has formally been part of an artistic duo with artist Kirsten Astrup since the Autumn of 2018 and is currently working on a new film commisioned by Munchmuseet in Oslo.
During the exhibition period, the graduates will host a number of events to be announced on an ongoing basis.
Opening: 03.05.2019, 5–8 pm
Vilhelm Kiers Fond