I Have Grown Taller from Standing with Trees - Claudia Comte at Copenhagen Contemporary

I have grown taller from standing with trees

Claudia Comte

Copenhagen Contemporary 8 February - 1 September 2019

 
 

This is a stunning exhibition in the main hall of Copenhagen Contemporary with the huge space filled with Spruce trunks that are six metres high but stripped of their bark and set on a carpet with a digitally-printed grid that becomes increasingly distorted as you move through the work.

The first rows of tree trunks are upright and set on the grid implying a carefully managed forest rather than natural woodland but the grid might also suggest the grid of roots through which, from recent research, trees are now thought to communicate.

At the centre of the space is a large ceramic sculpture - the only dark form in the space - and beyond that the trunks are falling, either toppled by the ground appearing to collapse or with the apparent hollow created by the falling timber.

You are encouraged to climb on or over the trunks but watching people, it was clear that, as in a forest, the calm and the soft light means most slow down, talk quietly or sit and think - self absorbed. Light from windows and views out have been muted with white fabric that, as in a forest, undermines any sense of distance and direction.

The trees were around 100 years old when they were felled and the growth rings on the cut ends adds that dimension of time to the strong command of the corporeal space.

Claudia Comte at Copenhagen Contemporary

 

Copenhagen Contemporary - summer exhibitions 2

Lengua Llorona

Donna Huanca

22 March to 1 September 2019

Donna Huanca grew up in Chicago. Her parents are Bolivian and she studied in Houston, in Maine at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and Städelschule für Bildende Künste in Frankfurt and she now lives and works in Berlin. This is her first solo exhibition in Scandinavia.

The title, Lengua Llorona, means ‘crying tongue’.

There are sixteen oil paintings on a monumental scale, set away from the gallery walls and at angles to create secondary spaces as you move around the works, and smaller painted-steel sculptures - cut out in complex silhouettes - are set in front of or alongside the larger works. Colour bleeds on to the walls in places and areas of white sand across the floor are shaped and moulded with delicate ephemeral patterns, so this site-specific show occupies the space in an intriguing and very complex way.

Through the gallery there is the scent of Palo Santo - from a holy South American tree and used for cleansing rituals.

There will be a seres of eight performances in the exhibition space during the exhibition period with models decorated with paint and textiles as living paintings.

 
 

The exhibition has been curated by Aukje Lepoutre Ravn and performance dates are listed on the gallery site.

Copenhagen Contemporary

 
 

Seizure -
The Needle and the Larynx
Faint with Light

Marianna Simnett

Copenhagen Contemporary 8 February to 26 May 2019

This is the first solo exhibition in Scandinavia by the London based artist and is performance art without the artist present as Marianna Simnett is central to both works.

I found the Needle and the Larynx disturbing but that is a confession and not a criticism because a key role of the artist is to challenge our perceptions and easy complacency. The uneasiness was not because I am queasy about needles - I am not - but this is presented as the grimmest of a Grimme’s style fairy story told as a voice over about a young girl who threatens and punishes a surgeon because she wants him to make her voice deeper. The film is of Simnett herself having Botox injected into her larynx to stiffen the vocal chord so that the vocal range is restricted and the voice drops. It is actually that disjunction between the tale, performed like a black bed-time story, and the clinical calm of the injection process that seems shocking.

Faint with light is in a separate gallery - a darkened space where a bank of long light tubes set horizontally respond to the breathing pattern of the artist as she hyperventilates until she faints when the breathing becomes slow and calm and the light patterns subside. The effect is hypnotic and very powerful … the effect of hyperventilating is obvious both in the sound track and in the visual light patterns but here there is absolutely no story or narrative so no reasons are given … this is a highly dramatic act of sound combined with the most simple and abstract use of space and light that again sets up a challenging disjunction. Here it is perhaps not the act itself - of collapse and recovery - that is shocking but that this is on a never-ending loop. There is no respite.

Seizure at Copenhagen Contemporary

Copenhagen Contemporary

Copenhagen Contemporary is an independent institution for modern art.

From June 2016 they ran a pilot project in the warehouses on Papirøen - Paper Island - in the centre of the harbour just south of the opera house - where CC took over four of the halls and were there until the end of 2017 when the buildings were returned to the developers for demolition and for work to start on new apartment buildings on the site.

Now, with funding from the city and from private organisations, Copenhagen Contemporary have reopened in a larger space - some 7,000 m2 - in what was the welding hall of the shipyard of Burmeister & Wain.

The ship yards were closed back in the 1990s and for the last two decades the area has been taken over by small workshops and boat repair yards. A yacht repair company, the restaurant Amass and La Banchina - a popular cafe and bar - established new businesses out here and this summer they have been joined by the new food market - many of the stalls also relocating from Papirøen - and there will be more artists' studios and craft workshops opening as more of the buildings are adapted.

Copenhagen Contemporary has a lease here for 10 years and they have ambitious plans to establish a new space for the display of modern art in the city and particularly for large-scale installation and performance art. 

The city is gaining a major new venue on the lines of the galleries in Gateshead and the Turbine Hall at the Tate in London or the galleries at MoMA in New York and the programme here should compliment exhibitions of modern art at the established galleries in Copenhagen with Den Frie, GLStrand, the space of the Kunsthal in the former church of Sankt Nicolaj and the galleries of the Royal Academy at Charlottenborg - all in the centre of the city or close to the centre - and the gallery down the coast at Arken and, of course, Louisiana - north of the city with its amazing location on the shore of the Sound.

Work on the building for the gallery on Refshaleøen has kept many of the features from its industrial use with huge sliding doors, high exposed roof structures and high-set windows that flood the space with light and give views out to nearby workshops.

In the next phase of development, space on the upper level will be opened for CC Studio for their proposed education programme.

 

previous posts on danish design review

Copenhagen Contemporary

Copenhagen Contemporary
Refshalevej 173a
1432 København K

 
 
 

CC online / graphics

Copenhagen Contemporary has an online site with exemplary graphics with a minimalist layout that uses open space in the best possible way.

The CC logo is dynamic so responds to the screen size and to scrolling.

Typography and the deep orange colour are taken through publications and signage at the gallery.

Copenhagen Contemporary online

 
 

SONG 1 by Doug Aitken

A sound and video installation at Copenhagen Contemporary with six curved screens forming an almost enclosed circle so the 35 minute programme can be viewed from the inside or from the outside.

This uses the classic pop song "I only have eyes for you" interpreted by very different singers and musicians but what runs through the sequence is a persistent but very beautiful feeling of melancholy.

In some sections of the sequence, images are separate to each screen or in others they are repeated on alternate screens; some images are mirrored in pairs or they wash around the full circuit as a single scene like an amazing modern version of a fairground round-a-bout.

The original version of the song is a jazz standard from 1934 but listening to so many versions, recorded over so many decades, it seems truly timeless. Cultural references abound in the images and above all it seems to be a love song - not actually to a lover but to what is truly great about the United States and it's architecture and its graphics with universally recognised symbols from the 20th century about being American in modern America so there are scenes in diners and on free ways driving inter state or in all-night bus stations.

So this is not about the natural landscape of the States but about man-made settings - the built invironment imposed on the natural - generally larger but also smaller urban and anonymous man-made spaces. It's a view of metropolis that seems indescribably lonely and sad but here mesmerising and hauntingly beautiful.

at Copenhagen Contemporary, Refshalevej 173A through until 30 December 2018

Copenhagen Contemporary / Song 1

 
 

One Two Three Swing! by SUPERFLEX

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The first major installation for the opening show in the large main gallery space of Copenhagen Contemporary is by SUPERFLEX - the Copenhagen collective established in 1993 by Jakob Fenger, Bjørnstjerne Reuter Christiansen and Rasmus Nielsen.

This work was created in 2017 and was shown first in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern in London. The swings are each for three people and the metal tubular framework runs through the whole space at different angles and is even taken through to the outside to mark out and create spaces and routes through the hall. The repeated but separate movement of each swing is an expression of a common human experience from childhood but also shows the potential energy from the collective action of three people working together.

In the second hall the carpet there - reflected in a great silver pendulum - is woven with stripes in the colours of a Euro note.

at Copenhagen Contemporary, Refshalevej 173A until 30 December 2018

One Two Three Swing! /  SUPERFLEX at Tate Modern 

One Two Three Swing! / Copenhagen Contemporary

 
 

Copenhagen Contemporary

 

 

This independent art institute was established in 2015 and from June 2016 has occupied space in redundant warehouses on Papirøen - Paper Island - where paper for printing newspapers was stored. This will provide a venue for exhibiting art and installations and performance and light shows until the end of 2017 when work starts on new buildings here.

The gallery has a wine bar and a store and with evening opening and with the attraction of the food halls in the same warehouses this has become a very popular destination for tourists and for local people particularly since the completion last summer of the new bridge over the harbour.

There is a full programme of exhibitions and events through to the end of the year.

Artbar as a venue for meeting will continue through Cph Art Week from 26th August through to 2nd September.

Copenhagen Contemporary

A view from the Present 1-13

 

 

A series of thirteen concrete benches by the Norwegian artist Magnus Pettersen and the Danish furniture designer Lea Hein. Pigments in orange, torquoise, blue and purple have been used to add colour to the raw concrete. Time and the salt air and use will effect the surface and weather the rounded shapes. Set between the trees of the installation by Yoko Ono. the benches are well used and people sit here talking about the Wish Trees or wait for friends they are meeting before going on to the food halls on the island or simply sit and look out over the harbour.

continues at Copenhagen Contemporary until 31 December 2017

Wish Tree Garden by Yoko Ono

 

On the quayside at Copenhagen Contemporary on Papirøen - Paper Island - there is an installation by Yoko Ono. Trees - a mixture of lilacs, apples, cherry, magnolia and dogwood - have been planted in simple concrete tubs and visitors are invited to write a wish on a label and then tie it to one of the trees. These are collected at intervals and will be sent to the artist to be placed in the Peace Tower at Viðey in Kollafjörður Bay in Iceland.

Many visitors were not only adding their wishes to the trees but were spending time reading the tags fluttering gently in the sun. 

Some were simple wishes for good or better health for themselves or their family; many broadly want the best for the environment but presumably fear the worst - so someone wished “that the water never ends” - and some were more poignant, hinting at deep unhappiness, while others are surreally and beautifully naive so Mei wrote, “I wish when I grow up I could be a cake shop.”

continues at Copenhagen Contemporary until 31 December 2017