The exhibition, curated by Claire Gould, formerly Curator at the Helsinki Art Museum, embraces both what is inside of us and outside, and addresses how things are not necessarily as they seem but shrouded in emotions, or by situations, materials and conditions.
FROM THE INSIDE OUT plays on the layers of perception, history of place and borders, challenging how we both present and perceive art. The selected artworks, and newly commissioned works by the seven contemporary artists, intersect with both the building and the surrounding park area. In-situ works playfully reappropriate materials sourced on site, abandoned by previous occupants of the property, or disrupt scales and understanding of material purpose. Intricately intertwined by the unique sense of place, the works also re-imagine the terrain, reacting site-specifically to the unique characteristics of the place. What constitutes the inside and outside, both physical and mental borders, and how we understand them, undergoes a subtle provocation redefined through the works incl. photography, performance, sculpture, installations, video and light works.
In most of her works, Bjerre questions the extent to which the globalized economy and social structures influence our actions including our consumer habits. Her sculptures and installations typically include industrially-produced materials, commodities and or references to symbolic products familiar to us, often complemented by art historical references.
Lisa’s Chickens (Farm Life) is an installation consisting of 100 roaming, cartoon-like balloon chickens. Each chicken is filled with helium and has a personalised name tag hidden on the sole of one of its feet. For this work, which has been produced many times in different countries, Bjerre selects the top 100 most popular baby girl names in the country and year in which they are exhibited. For this installation, the chickens are tagged with the 100 most popular baby girl names in Denmark from 2020. Giving them a name suggests the chickens have an identity and personality, disrupting our perception of their anonymity and methods of mass reproductivity.
The title Lisa’s Chickens references a children’s app, or game, where the player controls the farmer named Lisa in her daily labour at the farm (watering the plants, feeding the animals etc.).
Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Lullin + Ferrari, Zurich.
Julie Koldby (b.1993) works with sculpture, installation, printmaking, and moving image. Generally, her work revolves around the interference of matter and meaning; the effects of how meaning-making or knowledge is produced, and how matter matters. Simply put, she is intrigued by new ways of meaning-making as a response to movement and change and alternative ways of seeing. Koldby interweaves a range of materials and methods, historical refences, and sensory experiences that, in one way or the other, always are in transition. Perhaps this is why she often emphasizes that her works are experiments rather than (stable) work. Julie Koldby is currently studying at the Sculpture Department at Royal College of Art in London (2020-2022). She took her undergraduate in Fine Art from Malmö Art Academy in Sweden and Cooper Union School of Art in New York City (2016-2019).
T.A.D.A.A.A. (Tricks And Doodles Are Ambitious Amateurs) (2021)
T.A.D.A.A.A. is an ambiguous show. To say TADAAA implies that something is over. It also denotes the hope of brightening up a situation despite knowing that one has failed. It can be simple drawings that contain meaning, shape or just irregular shapes and thereby exhibit unintentional or failure-like qualities. Alternatively, T.A.D.A.A.A.-works call attention to the moment of something very exciting. Impossible sculptures. An exclamation of triumph.
As sculptural scenarios, T.A.D.A.A.A. intervenes across three rooms that in former years would have been occupied by three different patients at the mental hospital. The works are inspired by optical illusions and objects used by amateur scientists and magicians to test scientific phenomena or demonstrate tricks. Optical illusions are often simple models that represent the complexity of human perception and the world. T.A.D.A.A.A. challenges these collapsed logics, where the drama arises in the fragile and robust, light and colour, between sight and deception, or experiment and failure.
The installation includes videos, light, aluminium castings, aluminium drawings and wood/collage sculptures.
Laura Konttinen (b. 1987, Finland) is a Finnish visual artist based in Helsinki. In her works she mixes photography with collage and installation to create a unique visual language for nostalgia and memory.
Konttinen has a Master’s degree in Photography from Aalto University. Her work has been shown in various solo and group exhibitions in Finland and internationally, including at the Finnish Museum of Photography, Noorderlicht Photofestival in the Netherlands and Daegu Photo Biennale in South Korea.
In Konttinen’s words, “In my work, the photograph is not only a medium, but also a material and a subject. I am fascinated by the paradoxical relationship between photographs and nostalgia, and look for ways to infiltrate the way they operate. By taking apart the photograph I reveal its thinness and fragility, but also celebrate its ability to play with different realities. I create my images by constructing small maquettes for the camera by hand. Each work is assembled over several days using photographic prints, pages from vintage books, clay or even 3d printed polymer objects. Through carefully considered camera angles and lighting, the miniature constructions turn into sceneries from wondrous worlds.
When the Blackbirds Return
“The outdoor “When the Blackbirds Return” is a collection of images from my journey to a strange little town located somewhere in the realm of nostalgia. It all began when I found a photograph in my late grandmother’s album. The photo, taken in 1920, depicted a house in a small American town where my grandmother was born. I started to nurture an obsession to the house – I treasured it as a nostalgic second-hand memory, a mystery heavy with hidden meanings waiting to unfold. A hundred years later I decide to go look for the house and explore the ethereal mystique surrounding it.
In the town of Salem I find flourishing abandoned cemeteries, a great magical fire, and coincidentally, the very same blackbirds that appeared as messengers of death in a story once told by my grandmother. And finally, the journey ends at the house where everything started a century before.”
“The photo series “Islands” is a voyage into “islandness” – a universal state of being where the island acts as a carrier for imagination, stories and meanings. In art and cultural history the island has long been a stage for both mythology and self-reflection. It can be a paradise to escape to, or a personal battlefield where one has to face the limits of survival. Islands make us explorers, even if what we encounter is just our own yearning for something otherworldly, strange or comforting. The series explores the human wish to see nature as an image of ourselves, a reflection of our fears and dreams. My fascination with islands stems from having grown up on the island of Muuratsalo located in Lake Päijänne in Central Finland.”
Freja Niemann Lundrup
Recipient Carl Nielsen and Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen Foundation prize 2021
For this exhibition, Freja Niemann Lundrup is exhibiting both inside and outside of the former mental hospital, forming new dialogues between existing works. Works on display here range from delicate and fragile three-dimensional forms in stone, hanging sculptures, to heavy marble floor-based works.
Her sculptures take on a new life in this context, rather like new patients in the rooms, wandering the space, needing to be cured, even listened too.
As opposed to working with the human body as an aesthetical form, as seen in classical sculpture, Niemann Lundrup’s works revolve around the relationship between the exterior and the interior. They examine how, despite our existence as physical beings, in a physical world, most things go on in our minds.
Her works also address how we are born into systems and learn from knowledge gathered from ancestors and our social environment.
Both as individual works, but also in dialogue with each, they examine how our bodies are a complex combination of social, psychological and biological processes. They question how the physical body is affected by its environment, how experiences are absorbed into the body becoming memories remaining in our body’s physical make-up. Nothing leaves the body. Instead traces are left—whether in a human body, the body of matter, the earth, the stone, or the system.
These thoughts are translated into forms— of bodies, or body parts—as external forms expressing internal states that we must be content with, unravel, turn inside out, or give shape to.
Amalie Smith (b. 1985) graduated from the Writers’ School in 2009 and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2015. She has published seven fiction books and has exhibited at, among others, Statens Museum for Kunst (The National Art Gallery of Denmark), ARKEN and ARoS. She has received the Crown Prince Couple’s Stjernedrys awardd and the Danish National Art Foundations work grant, and her works are represented in National Art Gallery collection.
Amalie Smith works cross-media with text and images. Her works manifest themselves in objects, video and sound, just as the written word occupies a large place in the artist. She is preoccupied with the connection between idea and matter, the digital and the analogue, as well as the relationship between history and the present, which is expressed in diverse and alluring works that impressively present the artist’s thinking and ideas, just as they emphasize her position as one of the most interesting younger visual artists.
Filip Vest (DK, b. 1995) lives in Copenhagen and graduated from Malmö Art Academy in 2021. Through performances, installations, films and texts, he examines queer love, loneliness and desire in the 21st century. His works deal with how objects are turned into humans, and how humans are turned into objects – and how the spaces we live in affects us. The characters are always a kind of hybrid, somewhere between abstract and concrete, talking and silent, between animate and inanimate. Through mobile phones, walls and windows, they communicate and miscommunicate across species and time in a vast network of small and large things affecting each other.
Phantom Roots at Augustenborg_Project is a performance and installation experience that takes its starting point in a strange collection of pots found in the basement of the exhibition place; a former mental hospital. The work takes place through four rooms along with different spots in the park and involves a group of sculptures and architectural interventions along with a participatory performance in the form of an audio piece that introduces the visitors to the universe. The story revolves around a lonely janitor and a group of walking plants, ”the potted plant people”, that have come into being through a series of mysterious incidents and now inhabit the spaces as they reproduce themselves and make plan(t)s. The function of flower pots, to make plants mobile, are taken to an extreme as the plant people start walking and detach from the collective mind of the ground, but independence comes with a price… ”Phantom Roots” is awork about the relationship between humans and plants, about interdependency and loneliness, about growing, longing and being homesick.
Albin Werle (b.1987) makes games: interactive works of art where players imagine worlds, explore and change them together. The games combine theoretical and physical systems to construct machines that produce images, conversations and movements in ways that are impossible to calculate. The players use the games together, or by themselves as tools for contemplation. With this experimental game design practice, Werle continuosly explores and develops the traditions of folklore, magic, and play.
Masquerade (2021) at Augustenborg_Project is a game of conversation that takes place in a temporary structure in the garden between the castle and the old hospital. In the game, the players are secret lovers trying to find each other at a masked ball. Surrounded by shadows and silhouettes of humans with animal features, the players take turns to describe themselves in a coded language, guessing each other’s identities and breaking down the meaning of words.