I 2017 er Aarhus blevet udvalgt til at være Europas kulturelle hovedstad, men allerede nu viser de første tegn sig på et år i kunsten og kulturens navn. Vi har talt med Nathan Coley (f. 1967), kunstneren bag et af de første 2017-projekter; The Same for Everyone.
Siden 2007 har en vigtig del af den skotske kunstner Nathan Coley’s praksis bestået af oplyste tekststykker, der sitrer af både cirkus-æstetik og en udefinerbar dysterhed. Skilte med sætninger som “A Place Beyond Belief,” “Heaven Is A Place Where Nothing Ever Happens” og “There Will Be No Miracles Here” har Coley opsat stedsspecifikt, så de både belyser nye aspekter og går i dialog med deres omgivelser. De funklende bogstaver er oftest opsat på enorme stilladskonstruktioner, som både giver dem en markant, nærværende og flygtig fremtoning.
Frem til d. 21. december vil Nathan Coley’s nye lysprojekt finde sig til rette ti forskellige steder rundt omkring i Midtjylland. Sætningen “The Same for Everyone” vil igennem hele 2017 hylde steder, der alle repræsenterer en form for fællesskab, men samtidig ligger der også en kritik af de ekskluderende mekanikker, som vores vestlige fællesskaber sætter i gang.
Herunder kan du læse vores samtale med Nathan Coley og høre meget mere om brugen af lysskilte, idéen bag The Same for Everyone, og om hvordan et håndmalet skilt på Friland satte gang i det omfattende projekt. Artiklen her vil løbende blive opdateret med nye billeder af lysinstallationerne, i takt med at de bliver offentliggjort rundt omkring i regionen.
You have been working with illuminated text pieces for years. How did it start and what are your thoughts on using them as your medium?
I was looking for a way to make manifest existing phrases and words that spoke of place, public space and us as individuals within that. The first work using the fairground lights was 'There Will Be No Miracles Here' in 2007. A very good start which all subsequent works are measured against. Importantly, all the phrases are 'ready-mades' which I take from the world around us. Titles from popular songs, the last line of a famous book, a half heard conversation in a taxi late at night - I'll use anything if I feel it's interesting, and importantly I'm never the author.
The fairground aesthetic is important. The sculptures do not use neon, as that has too long a history in art, and is of course directly related to advertising. The bulbs and scaffolding are a little bit more 1970's circus in style - a little seedy, and temporary, as if the gypsies have come to town.
Will you tell us about the idea behind "The Same for Everyone?"
I visited the Friland community in Syddjurs in November last year. I was looking for places and locations in Jutland that illustrated certain aspects of community and how groupings of people articulate themselves. This is a common theme to my work over the last ten years or so. The community there seems very open to visitors and is quite developed in its set up. I love the architecture - unofficial, self-build with no rules, yet, controlled and with rules of course. One of the plots had a poured concrete circular foundation and nothing else. It was a place full of potential, just waiting ... I imagined what the house would look like on the site, and took a photograph. Later when reviewing the image I noticed a hand-made cardboard sign tied to a temporary electrics box. Painted by hand was the phrase 'ens for alle'.
It's a great phrase I think. It can be read in many ways. Just when you think you understand what it stands for, it's meaning slips through your fingers. It could be positive, stating that we live in Utopia, that society is sound and fair, that we are all equal. It could also be seen as being ironic "The Same for Everyone? - yeh right, not if you are a Muslim migrant!". Finally it may actually be aspirational, that if we all work together and deal with these times of moral uncertainty, the future will all be ok. The meaning is in your head, not mine. In each location the phrase changes the place, and each place changes the meaning of the phrase.
How did you pick out the ten locations for the installations? What makes the different locations special and what binds them together?
The ten location map Jutland through the eyes of an outsider - an artist from Glasgow. They are all places I found interesting as they made visible groups of people - religious places, self-build communities, political buildings, re-claimed land etc.
Do you have a favorite location?
I can't see any one location in isolation. I see the work as being a rash of sculptures travelling across Jutland, meaning different things in all locations.
How do you hope that visitors will react to the work?
I hope the public will be both enraged and delighted.
Anything else you would like to add?
If anyone visits all ten works, and can prove it, I'll buy them dinner in a restaurant of their choice.
Rikke Luna (f. 1988) og Matias Albæk-Falk (f. 1988) er stiftere af idoart.dk, og driver derudover formidlingsbureauet I DO ART Agency samt forlaget I DO ART Books.