[Photos: Brian Kure]

When the tides change dead flatfish appear along the coast. They look decorative in their dry, organically conserved, state – no longer fish-fish, but rather as fish-like objects, whose record of life history has been reduced to merely a recognisable shape with a a slight smell of sea. They ask us: how we are to find meaning amongst remnants of all the lifeless, abandoned, crumbling stuff we encounter in our daily life? Perhaps there is no meaning to be found. But in the sediment of history (made from tragedies and catastrophes, as well as hope and revolutions) lie fragments which we can collect and place in new constellations.

The artist duo Simpathy has built an installation reflecting upon the transformation of Nexø Harbour – from fishing industry to (re)creative tourist attraction. The point of departure of their artistic collaboration is a site specific, atmospheric intervention, wherein the past, present and future of the local area is considered.

A power play unfolds inside the presented diorama. Seen from above, the surface of the sea is depicted in a frieze crawling along the concrete panels. A metal square hovers over the floor, both blocking and framing the central area of the room. Pools of water spread from drains as new forms of existence creep in from the underground. In an abstract imagery, the mechanism steps into action when well-defined life disappears and an alternative one is born in its place.

The installation is made up of various elements that have undergone poetic transformation from one material state to another, like the Phoenix rising from the ashes. Common objects that have lost their original function are inserted into new chains of connections and acquire an alternative aesthetic identity. The works exhibited are just as much the Patina of history and lived life as of metal, plastic, wood and other physical materials.

A central figure is the surrounding scene. Life on the island has changed rapidly over the last 30 years. Admittedly, Bornholm has been a holiday destination since the mid 20th century when the sailing routes were first improved, but in the last few decades tourism has rapidly grown. This has developed  by the establishment of faster routes from neighbouring countries, and in the aftermath of the collapse of fishing industry which caused a financial vacuum, making alternative sources of income necessary.

Simpathy walks us through nostalgic fields of forgotten memories and constructs scarecrows that are real and alive in their presence, built from the humane they find along the way. They seek out material that evades and hides in the shadows and crevices of society. They do this with a sensitivity and care that reflects their complex approach to the scary side of every day life. Their visual language, covered by dust and decay, authors a love letter to the forgotten; to the stuff that hides just below the surface.

Simpathy is a duo consisting of the artists Kaare Ruud (b.1993 (NO)) and Mikkel Carlsen (b. 1994 (DK)). They studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo and the Jutland Art Academy and have exhibited separately at Norsk Billedhoggerforening, Oslo (NO), Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo (NO), Kunsthal Aarhus, Aarhus (DK) and CANTINA, Aarhus (DK), amongst others. This will be the first official exhibition together as an artist duo.

The exhibition opens Friday 9th August at 15h and will thereafter be open Fridays (15-17h), Saturdays (12-15h) and Sundays (12-15h) until September 11th.

Landlyst is curated and organised by Sofie Amalie Andersen for the exhibition space Sol. The exhibition is supported by the Danish Art Foundation, the Obel Family Foundation, Ny Carlsberg Foundation and Møbelfabrikken in Nexø.

[Text: Sofie Amalie Andersen]

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