HYDRA by EVA STEEN CHRISTENSEN at ARKEN [from 20230505 to 20230919]

[Photo: David Stjernholm]

In early summer, ARKEN presents a solo show featuring Eva Steen Christensen (b. 1969), one of Denmark’s pre-eminent contemporary sculptors. Showcasing an array of the artist’s key works, the exhibition also incorporates two entirely new sculptures created especially for ARKE

Dreamlike sculptures

In the exhibition, we encounter a picket fence that twists and turns in playful curves reminiscent of a rollercoaster, a fountain cast out of pink concrete, and a large glittering, pink flower. These are dreamlike sculptures that exude sensuality. With mathematical accuracy and playful lightness, Eva Steen Christensen explores the layers of meaning and memories hidden in the materials. She takes a starting point in familiar things, architectural elements and images from art history. Familiar shapes, materials, and ideas are turned upside down, reworked and reassembled to challenge our perception of the world we think we know.

Interwoven connections

Eva Steen Christensen’s sculptures are in dialogue with the art and culture that surround us in the Western world. Several of the works point back to some of the most famous works in art history. With the sculpture Female Nude she takes a critical and feminist look at art history’s depictions of the naked female body. The large abstract torso in steel and textile invites us to crawl into it and get up close to its materials.

Local involvement in Ishøj

The work on Female Nude started close to ARKEN, in Ishøj By Center. In November 2022 the artist set up an open sewing workshop where people could donate their old clothes and other textiles. Anyone who wanted could help sew the strips of fabric together. Everything is now woven together around a large metal skeleton with the shape of an abstract body – a new ‘communal’ body. You can crawl into the sculpture and explore it. By virtue of the material, the sculpture carries a multitude of stories from all the people who helped making it.

Connected to the world

The exhibition borrows its title from the other new work, Hydra. The title refers to the many-headed, female sea monster of Greek mythology – as an image of power and transformation. The title also holds a reference to the Greek word for water, hydor, which is the life-giving substance that flows through our bodies and connects all living things. The works on display all touch upon our common connectedness to the world across time and place.

[Text: ARKEN]

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