Kunsthal Aarhus – DUMP!

  • Sarah Surgey
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  • 23rd August 2015
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    Nordophile is constantly searching for Nordic art centres/projects and festivals who work tirelessly to promote and showcase art, artists and their efforts to promote thought through their work. The collaborations that we have brought you all have a dedication to the art, fully. Sometimes unstructured, sometimes unrestrained but always fully committed. We encourage Nordophiles to combine their Nordic […]

    Nordophile is constantly searching for Nordic art centres/projects and festivals who work tirelessly to promote and showcase art, artists and their efforts to promote thought through their work. The collaborations that we have brought you all have a dedication to the art, fully. Sometimes unstructured, sometimes unrestrained but always fully committed. We encourage Nordophiles to combine their Nordic travels with some of these art exhibitions and festivals so you fully appreciate being in and part of the Nordics.

    Nordophile have come across Kunsthal Aarhus which is a contemporary art centre located at the heart of the city of Aarhus, Denmark: cutting edge art, landmark architecture, intimate atmosphere.


    Ny "løbebane"
    Ny “løbebane”


    The institution initiates, commissions, produces and presents art at an international level to local, regional, and international audiences. Kunsthal Aarhus creates art in a broad context, connected to other fields of human activity, other disciplines, and to a wider society as part of a sustainable approach.

    It provides a research-based participatory, collaborative and transdisciplinary platform for artistic experimentation and critical engagement. Kunsthal Aarhus strives to be an inclusive, transparent, dynamic and flexible institution that fosters the culture of appreciation and values diversity of contributions.


    Shaped Canvas Track

    Come and try Kunsthal Aarhus’ running track.

    Shaped Canvas Track is designed by the Dutch artist/designer duo Jeroen Bouweriks & Linda Beumer and was selected from a Call for Ideas in the summer of 2013. The selected project is inspired by the American minimalist icon Frank Stella and the Danish middle distance runner Wilson Kipketer, and in this way it combines art and sport.

    With its red rubber surface the track is perfect for a 50 metre sprint from the J.M. Mørks Gade street to Kunsthal Aarhus’ new entrance. The stripes of the track wrap around the old building becoming a hybrid between landscape architecture, sport, design and art.

    This fascinates City Architect from Aarhus Municipality, Stephen Willacy:
    “The selected team has created a very inspiring project. They have been able to create a temporary artwork, which guides the visitors with humour and clear design, but also respects the existing architecture.”

    The artists, Jeroen Bouweriks & Linda Beumer say:
    “We believe in the unexpected combination of disciplines, and that this can result in interesting dynamics. The idea of walking, running with a certain goal – in this case to the entrance – can become a game or a challenge. Why not facilitate this motion with an unusual track in a contemporary art context. It’s the mixture of these two worlds that can appeal to different kind of visitors.”

    Lars Nielsen, Chief Coach for the National Athletics team who has been a consultant on Shaped Canvas Track explains his interest in the project:
    “It combines sports and arts, and for me these are two elements with a lot in common. Both demand the same to get you to the top level, and that is commitment. You have to think in new ways, seek inspiration and make use of other people’s ideas.”

    The project marks the start of the new phase of the transformation of Kunsthal Aarhus, connecting the development of its new artistic profile with its architectural features:
”With this project we are rethinking the idea of the future art institution, and how to transform Kunsthal Aarhus into a more open and accessible institution that is connected to the wider world. Imagine if people will literally be able to run in and out of Kunsthal Aarhus and merge the experience of the art programme inside with the outside” – add Joasia Krysa, Artistic Director and Iben Hofstede, Administrative Director of Kunsthal Aarhus.

    Shaped Canvas Track can be experienced until 2017 and is the first commissioned art project in Kunsthal Aarhus’ new public programme “Museum Without Walls” (2015-2017) comprising of a series of new artworks developed specifically for urban context and participatory projects developed through social media.


    Current Exhibition

    DUMP! 26.June.2015-20 Sept.2015

    Collective Making series at Kunsthal Aarhus presents a new exhibition curated by Elaine Gan, Steven Lam and Sarah Lookofsky.

    DUMP! gathers together artists, scientists and organisms to explore multispecies collaboration that reshapes the ruins of modernity and resists industrialized progress. Contesting the celebratory logics of invention and making that dominate contemporary discourse, DUMP! creates an arena for waste, obsolescence, and decomposition, where practices of nurturing and collective cultivation may begin, turning composts to compositions.



    DUMP! upends the division between nature and culture, while refusing separations between art and science; the art institution and the natural history museum; and wonder and comprehension. By presenting creations of humans and nonhumans alike, DUMP! calls out for new ways of seeing, describing, making, and living in unruly entanglement within contaminated worlds.

    Inspired by Lucy Lippard, a self-described “compiler” of exhibitions, and taking its cue from garbage heaps – and the multispecies life that ferments and flourishes in them – the exhibition will continue to grow throughout its duration.

    The exhibition is sited in and between two locations: Kunsthal Aarhus and Søby Brunkulslejerne – a post-mining landscape of contamination, garbage, and unruly multispecies transformation. Both places will host projects, proposals, artifacts, and concepts compiled along two strands of overlapping inquiry that constitute the DNA and organizing principles of the show:



    Unmaking Making:
    There is a utopian and almost naive celebration of the creative maker in this era of crisis and extinction – a heroic figure invoked as alibi for economic recovery and sustainability by policymakers and governments. DUMP! proposes that the seduction of making, which also often goes unexamined in the field of art, dangerously reinforces a techno-positivist neoliberal logic of accumulation, which has accelerated the ruinous buildup that is threatening the very possibilities of collective life.


    Multispecies Collaboration:
    The ecological crisis facing the planet evokes an apocalypse that can be rationalized and mapped. DUMP! proposes that its key challenge is messy: nature and culture, humans and nonhumans can no longer be taken apart. Plants, fungi, animals, microbes challenge us to reconsider the unruly, rogue, invasive, and unspectacular compilers that hold things together, in effect playing across difference. DUMP! challenges the story of human domestication and mastery with murky, multispecies heaps.




    Aarhus University Research on the Anthropocene (AURA) and Kunsthal Aarhus host a weekend workshop with creative methods and experimental genres for living in contaminated landscapes, garbage dumps, and compost heaps of the Anthropocene. Led by Niels Bohr Professor Anna Tsing and Professor Nils Bubandt of Aarhus University, Department of Culture & Society, AURA research combines the arts, sciences, and humanities to ask: how might humans and nonhumans continue to inhabit a damaged planet? How might “we” collectively make and unmake livable relations?

    The workshop is organized in conjunction with an exhibition currently on view at Kunsthal Aarhus, curated by Elaine Gan (AURA), Steven Lam (Purchase College, NY), and Sarah Lookofsky (Museum of Modern Art, NY). Over a weekend, the workshop will gather seven different artists-scientists from the exhibition in a series of performances, tastings, presentations, and roundtables. A short story by Ursula K. Le Guin, The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction provides a rich conceptual framework. (Guests are invited to enjoy reading the short piece in advance.)


    elaine_gal (1)


    5 September, the workshop opens with a welcome at 10.30am, followed by a curatorial introduction to the exhibition. This will be followed by an AURA presentation on ongoing field research at the brown coal mining beds in Søby Brunkuslejerne. Around noon, Åsa Sonjasdotter (Sweden/Berlin) will lead a potato harvest and share insights on historical trajectories of potato varieties. In the afternoon, Cecilia Vicuña (Chile/NY) will talk about seed collecting and the beings of seeds in Chile and Denmark. This will be followed by Semiya 2015 town hall, an open celebration of seeds and stories. All guests are then invited to take a short break to eat Sonjasdotter’s potatoes harvested in the morning, along with some local beer brews. In late afternoon, Pawel Wojtasik (NY) will do a screening and open discussion on his experimental documentaries and works in progress.


    6 September, the workshop reconvenes at 13.00pm, with an open seminar by Etienne Turpin (Jakarta/Berlin) on postnatural histories. This will be followed by a short presentation by Amy Balkin, calling in from San Francisco, CA. At 15.00pm, roundtable discussion among all participants will be held. This roundtable will engage with Le Guin’s short story through three key themes: (a) the work of art and archives as carrier bags in a time of unprecedented environmental crises, (b) problems of scale and narrative, and (c) the representation of species temporalities and differential ontologies through various media (performance, poetry, film, writing). A tasting/cooking event by Spurs collective will be held in the early evening.




    Invitation to become involved

    Collect seeds in late summer
    Examine the particularities and origin of the seeds you find
    Contemplate and love the seeds, share your notes, drawings or photos of them

    Saturday, September 5th at 3 pm at Kunsthal Aarhus, citizens are encouraged to bring their seeds as contributions to a realization of “Semiya”, a 1971 work by the artist Cecilia Vicuña during her visit to Aarhus. Citizens (including scientists and artists) will observe, present and discuss the seeds. Dinner will be served.

    In 1971, Cecilia Vicuña proposed the work “Semiya” to Salvador Allende, the socialist Chilean president who died in the military coup that deposed him two years later. The proposal involved the collection of seeds throughout the country for a gathering and nationwide celebration of seeds. Allende smiled and said the country was not prepared, but perhaps would be by the year 2000. Since the work was never realized at the time, the artist is calling for participation for a realization of the work in 2015 in Denmark in conjunction with the exhibition DUMP! at Kunsthal Aarhus:

    “My idea is very simple: To encourage people to gather seeds as an act of love and contemplation. The collection may be performed during the late summer (August). On the 6th, we will join with and meet others who have been gathering seeds, to engage in a collective conversation. I will contribute with poetry readings and researchers will talk about the current situation of seeds in a global perspective, their loss of habitat and freedom due to the interference of transgenic crops that disturb or contaminate wild and native species. The event will feel like a town hall with people of all ages.




    Document your collection of seeds on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, Vine) and use the hashtag #semiya2015. All these seed posts, if they are assigned as public, will automatically gather on the website; https://tagboard.com/semiya2015/231493


    At Kunsthal Aarhus
    For the exhibition DUMP! at Kunsthal Aarhus, the artist created the work “Seed Quipu” containing both seeds, recently collected by the artist in Chile, and seeds collected in Aarhus. New seeds will join the installation following the event. Both “Seed Quipu” and the Danish enactment of “Semiya” are created in close collaboration the researchers Meredith Root-Bernstein and Marilena Campos of AURA (Aarhus University Research on The Anthropocene).




    About the artist:
    Cecilia Vicuña is a poet and multidisciplinary artist from Chile. Her work embodies the meeting point between art and poetry, text and textile, the body and the land. Her ritual performances/site specific installations bring together the oral traditions of the Andes, science and linguistics to meet the contemporary realities of ecological disaster. Vicuña’s art has been exhibited in New York at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art, at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Chile, and at the Institute of Contemporary Arts and the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London. Her most recent book is Spit Temple, 2013. Vicuña is a founding member of Artists for Democracy.

    Head to Kunsthalaarhus.dk for information on DUMP! and other exhibitions.

    Thank you to Kunsthal Aarhus for text and photos.