Press release, May 2019
Imagine a unique metropolis surrounded by triple ring walls with the impressive Ishtar Gate and inside the city’s glorious tower, the massive pyramid-like ziggurat and the Marduk temple, covered with lapis lazuli and adorned with large bronze horns radiating in the sun.
These magnificent buildings were the pride of the Babylonians, but also the source of the myth of human pride and fall, as the impressive and powerful walled city enhanced the prestige, and revealed the human vanity-motivated conquest for power and glory. This is why God intervened according to the legend and confused the languages, which caused the construction process of the Tower of Babel to cease. The myth has travelled for millennia and symbolized man’s arrogance and fall, debauchery and disobedience to God’s will. It’s such an indelible symbol that we’ve almost forgotten that Babel was an actual metropolis; a political and cultural centre of power, and not least one of the seven wonders of Antiquity.
Our exhibition Babylon pursues the fundamentally contradictory relations inherited in the metropolises of today. We at the gallery love our metropolises all over the world. We are fascinated of their beauty as well as ugliness, and of the human relations that goes with it. It is here in the cities we get to enjoy and experience the major current issues in a very real and interesting way; like air pollution, water shortages, sustainability, immigration, cultural differences, human vanity, arrogance and debauchery, etc.
The four artists in this exhibition are from different cities in the world, and each in their respective ways, show us how human relations and the city, that nurtured and inspired them, is woven into the very thought processes of their work. The developing socio-undercurrents we experience in the city produce mesmerizing and somewhat disturbing beautiful results in their respective artistic universes.
Combining mirrored Mylar material with cardboard signs bought over the course of a decade from the homeless population of LA, John Knuth offers us a glance at the ever-changing and ever-contradictory landscape of Los Angeles today, as the artist envisions it. He sees the homeless signs as touching self portraits of the people holding them. They are honest drawings with profound statements like ‘Anything helps’, ‘Please help’, ‘Hungry’, etc. Over the past several years homelessness in Los Angeles has exploded. This is, as the artist points out, ‘the new landscape of LA – not the palm trees’.
For Shinya Ishida collecting trash from containers, streets and backyards in a given city is a crucial part of his work process, in which discarded objects from different consumer cultures are merged together and combined in beautiful total installations, sculptural and pictorial works. Whereas his works undoubtedly embody an environmental statement, they also display an appreciation of the aesthetic potential that lies within the objects and materials, as the objects are transformed and combined in surprising ways creating references to Japanese religious symbols as well as popular culture.
Anna Bak is interested in stories that are based on the classical conflict between nature and culture as well as socio-cultural paradoxes, in particular post-industrial melancholy associated with the loss of harmony with nature or ‘original culture’. For Babylon she has produced a new line of sculptures that use the negative forms from packing protection. By filling the empty space, that was meant to hold a valuable and fragile item, with solid materials like plaster and wax, she comments on consumerism and aesthetic value vs. the capitalistic value.
Mette Vangsgaard is interested in the relationship between man and his surroundings. This interest takes the form of modern man’s encounter with nature and man’s everyday life in dense urban environments. Her works depict relations in social strata and deal with issues such as pollution and globalization. Situations are often created in her works, which seem to be a reflective space in terms of human tendencies.
We look forward to welcome you to our group exhibition Babylon.
Opening reception: Friday 24th May, from 4-8pm.
Exhibition period: May 24th - June 29th, 2019.
The exhibition is open through Copenhagen Art Week May 23-26, 2019. At our opening reception on Friday May 24th, at 4-8pm. as part of Copenhagen Art Week, Gallery Day&Night, we have organized a special double event with our neighbor gallery SPECTA (both events will be in Danish):
At 4pm at Marie Kirkegaard Gallery, the author Kaspar Colling Nielsen will read from his latest authorship, “Dengang Dinosaurerne var små”.
Next at 7.15 SPECTA will be hosting a talk with Karen Grøn, the director of Trapholt, about the realtionship between design and artwork. You find Specta in Peder Skrams Gade 13, only 116 m. from us, so we encourage everyone to commute back and forth between our two opening receptions.