Graduate artists 2021: Selina Rom Andersen, Mikkel Carlsen, Signe Cygan, Mikkel Drabik Jacobsen, Frederik Mølgaard Lautrup, Clara Jozefine Morks, Kasper Knudsen Muusholm, Stine Rosdahl-Petersen og Sabine Wedege.
This year’s MFA degree show from the Jutland Art Academy presents multiple voices that not only reflect the diversity of the nine graduates' practices.
The polyphony also serves to express a group of young people’s conditions in – and study of – life during a global pandemic.
Each in their different ways, the final-year works presented at Kunsthal Aarhus from 7 May to 6 June respond to the times in which they were created. Deliberately ambiguous, the title Present Tense references the fact that the works are suspended between several times. In English grammar, the ‘present tense’ can denote both present and future actions.
The exhibition interweaves elements from science fiction, art history, the artists’ own day and age and digital material, thereby expanding – or abolishing – the concept of time. This is expressed in a series of works inspired by fantasy and magical narratives, indicating a movement away from a reality that bears the unmistakable mark of isolation and an atmosphere of crisis. Overall, the gaze applied here is introverted and nostalgic, but it also points to a new artistic practice.
Present Tense is curated by Francesca Astesani and Julia Rodrigues, who together form the curator duo South into North. They describe the exhibition in these terms: ‘The overall experience of temporal continuity informs our understanding of the degree show: not as an event that marks the end of an education and the beginning of an artistic career, but as a rite de passage in the continuous flow of life as a creative artist both during and after one’s institutional education’.
While the state of the pandemic-stricken world has prevented this year’s nine graduates from physically sharing the process leading up to the degree show, they share the experience of being creative artists and people living in a complex time. A time that has shaken our collective foundations, but which has also, in strange and wondrous ways, paved the way for intimate, seismographic (re)discoveries of the possibilities of art, the relationship between individual and collective, human and nature
Selina Rom Andersen is an artist, author and poet who works in the field where reality and fiction intersect, drawing inspiration from internet phenomena such as fan fiction, furry porn, eBay wishlists and dating on DeviantArt.
For the degree show, Selina Rom Andersen presents a graphic novel bearing the title Modløse (Disheartened), a fairy tale about ‘being too young to be tired’.
Mikkel Carlsen Carlsen unpacks questions about humanity’s impact on the environment through works created in a wide range of media: from ceramics and construction materials to found plastic objects and dried plants.
For the degree show, Mikkel Carlsen has created an extensive installation, Hands forming a heart to say goodbye, which is a tribute to modernism’s belief in art’s ability to convey eternal truths – and, at the same time, a recognition of its collapse.
Signe Cygan works with various media such as photography, bookbinding and writing, mixing literary references with elements from everyday life to form a series of serenely meditative works shaped by slow processes.
For the degree show, Signe Cygan mixes literary references with objects from everyday life in the work Moon Slippers (for Dagny), which juxtaposes a range of elements that include analogue photography and silver-plated slippers.
Mikkel Drabik Jacobsen tests the limits of the idea of authorship by appropriating the creative efforts of others through sculptures, prints and publications or by using chance events as a starting point for creative expression.
At the degree show, Mikkel Drabik Jacobsen presents the conceptual and playful Scooter-Work, based on an inspirational collage from the artist’s first year at the academy. The work is accompanied by the text publication ‘Manual’ for a scooter work.
Frederik Mølgaard Lautrup is a painter in the true sense of the word in that he masters the techniques of the subject and uses his pictures to examine the philosophical problems inherent in representations.
For the degree show, Frederik Mølgaard Lautrup created a series of square paintings that depict various subject matter, thereby capturing the beauty of the rhythmic triviality of everyday life.
Clara Jozefine Morks uses photography and video to create performative narratives about love, absence and a yearning for intimacy.
At the degree show, Clara Jozefine Mork presents the video installation Crazy, which beckons the viewer into a dreamlike atmosphere that is at once welcoming and alienating in its imaginative portrayal of a fateful meeting between two people.
Kasper Knudsen Muusholm explores issues of identity and existential anxiety through video performances.
For the degree show, Kasper Knudsen Muusholm created the video installation DIT SPROG IKKE MIT (YOUR LANGUAGE NOT MINE), which uses speech bubbles to outline a family structure based on a psychological, poetic sketch of the dynamics of a society.
Stine Rosdahl-Petersen works primarily with sculptures and installations that take shape through ongoing interaction and conversations with the spatial and cultural details of their exhibition context.
At the degree show, Stine Rosdahl-Petersen presents Dansende måge/Moden jernskjorte (Dancing Seagull / Ripe Iron Shirt), which engages nature in a dialogue with the surrounding space. From a skylight hangs the roots of a tree surrounded by materials such as wool, plant fibres and silk thread, which are transformed through the exhibition period – by the human gaze as well as by the laws of nature.
Sabine Wedege incorporates sculpture, text, video and sound across her practice, creating works that are intuitively interesting as form and which carry heavy references to, among other things, esoteric thinking, environmental problems, iconography and art history.
For the graduation exhibition, Sabine Wedege presents three sculptures, Woman with an Incubus, Fortune Teller Machine and Still Life in Crop Circle, which all draw on art historical references while maintaining a clear starting point in the present through their themes and use of materials.