What do we understand by a flag?
A flag is a signal-giving piece of material. A loaded object and icon, which is often used as a symbol of politics, status, war, peace, territories, in connection with geopolitics and sports, but also the logo for various trademarks. All of the independent countries have flags, but there are also flags – such as the freestate Christiania's characteristic flag or (without comparison) the ISIS flag – which has iconic status, even though they do not represent nation states.
Flags produced by artists have a long and interesting history. There are many good reasons why flags are still relevant to the process and used within artistic and aesthetic practice. The symbol of the flag is used extensively in works during the last 100 years of art history. They are often covered with history and meaning, sometimes isolated like Jasper Johns flags (1954) or David Hammons African-American Flag (1990). Other times, the flag comments on a major political debate, for example, Eugène Delacroix, La Liberté guidant le peuple (1830), Poul Gernes proposal for an EC flag (1972), Daniel Buren's minimalistic Les Guirlandes (1982) on Documenta 7 in Kassel or Ai Weiwei's flag in connection with the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (2018).
Since 2017, Kunsthal Aarhus has invited an artist to produce a new flag every year that we raise over Kunsthal Aarhus. The flags are commissioned one year at a time. The first flag was created for Kunsthal Aarhus 100 Anniversary by the artist Bodil Nielsen.
In 2021, it is a great pleasure to be able to present Ditte Gantris flag, created in relation to the grand exhibition project Go Extreme, which opens 27 August 2021.
While flags often signal nationalism or a particular policy and location, the artist Ditte Gantriis has chosen to detach her work from these immediate symbolic values through an unconventional format and motif: The flag is vertical, fringed and adorned by a single flower.
The innocent flower that waves in the wind is a response to the flag as a symbol of demarcation and nationalism. The art flag represents the child, nature and what is not defined by its limit.
Gantriis sees the art flag as a condensation of her exhibition contribution to the grand exhibition GO EXTREME. For the exhibition, Ditte Gantriis has also designed another flag that remixes Go Extremes own logo. However, this official GO EXTREME flag will first be shown at the opening of the exhibition on 27 August this year.
The flag in Kunsthal Aarhus Skulpturpark, Rebreather: The wind as a drunk, was shaped like a windsock
In the flagpole at Kunsthal Aarhus flew a banner created by artist Henrik Plenge Jakobsen in 2019: Stripes and Stripes
The colour festlig teglrød (festive brick-red) adorned the outer walls in the years 1954 – 1969