Being There

10.10.17 - 25.2.18

The exhibition presented 10 international contemporary artists seeking to depict the human condition and way of living in an era, where the physical and digital worlds are growing ever closer together.

Our lives are increasingly influenced by digital technologies and as a result the perception and concept of body, machine, life,death, sociality, isolation, nature and time are changing and taking on new meanings. At the same time, the notion that there is a physical world that is real, and a digital world that is unreal, seems to be rapidly breaking down.

The artists in this exhibition engage in exploring how these changes affect the way we live with each other and ourselves, and how we navigate among the ruins of an old world and the building blocks for a new one.

In the exhibition’s nine scenarios, the physical and the digital intermingled. There seemed to be no clear distinction between where one ends and the other begins, reflecting the fact that our existence at present can best be described as permanently having a foot in both camps – a state of simultaneous presence and absence, as indicated by the title, Being There.

C.L. Davids Fond og Samling supported the exhibition.

10 artists – 9 scenarios

Sharp, prophetic, humorous, subtle and disturbing: Being There consisted of nine very different and expansive room installations, of which five had been made specifically for this exhibition, and two others had been recently acquired for the Louisiana Collection.

The works had been made by a number of prominent young players on the global art scene: Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin, Ian Cheng, Pamela Rosenkranz, Hannah Levy, Ed Atkins, Cécile B. Evans, Louisa Gagliardi, Dora Budor and Bunny Rogers. Read more about the artists below.

Bunny Rogers erected a self-initiated memorial to a dead high school student. She created an image of a collapsed reality between a physical and a virtual existence by linking a one-dimensional comic-strip universe with a number of objects in detailed craftsmanship. The work had been created for the exhibition.

LOUISA GAGLIARDI (Switzerland, 1989)
The installation Living Downstream created the illusion of a nocturnal scene featuring a number of paintings of lanterns and silent human figures. The artist paints on the computer, prints the paintings out, then applies several layers of materiality to them. The works had been created for the exhibition.

In Emissary Sunsets the Self we followed a being that navigates continuously and endlessly through an unknown, unpredictable world. It was a live simulation. What we saw came into existence as we watched; and what we saw never appeared exactly the same way again. In the artist’s own words it is like “a computer game that plays itself”.

DORA BUDOR (Croatia, 1985)
Year Without A Summer (Panton’s Diversion) combined rare readymade Verner Panton modules designed in the 1960s with falling ash that slowly covers the modules. The fall of the ash was triggered by a technology that registers the sounds of visitors in the space. The work had been created for the exhibition.

CÉCILE B. EVANS (USA/Belgium, 1983)
In the work Hyperlinks from 2014 we met a number of beings that only live in the computer: a Japanese hologram pop star, an agoraphobic YouTuber, an invisible woman and several other figures. The main character is the avatar Phil who bears an uncanny resemblance to a famous, recently deceased actor.

In Hannah Levy’s four works the body is coupled with the machine. The work Untitled shows a silicone cast of a set of iPhone earphones in close-up, which a pair of hands is caressing. The work almost assumes the character of a sexual instruction video, since the colour and form of the earphones as well as their treatment by the hands produce clear associations with the female sexual organ. Three of the works had been created for the exhibition.

ED ATKINS (UK, 1982)
In Ed Atkins’ installation Ribbons the body plays the central role – in an ode to carnality and mortality composed with the aid of glossy, digitally produced images. The protagonist in the work is called Dave – an avatar who seems to be imprisoned in a purgatory of repetition and boredom.

PAMELA ROSENKRANZ (Switzerland, 1979)
Anamazon (Into the Land) combined a grid of intense green and blue LED light that enveloped and over­whelmed the viewer along with sounds from the Amazon rainforest, played backwards on Amazon Echo speakers, as well as a large heap of earth, terra preta, originally a particularly fertile soil product from the Amazon basin. The work had been created for the exhibition.

Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin’s installation Lake Anticipation is a landscape in which sterile office references are linked with a natural-looking forested area. This forms the setting for a film in which we follow various groups in an abandoned Freemason temple where they almost unceasingly talk about and comment on what they (do not) experience.

Pamela Rosenkranz, Anamazon (Into the Land), 2017. Courtesy of the artist; Karma International, Zürich/Los Angeles; Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York; Sprüth Magers. Foto: Kim Hansen.

Louisiana Channel is a non-profit website that provides culture to the Internet, extending beyond the museum’s own events. The Louisiana team produces videos about art and culture on an ongoing basis. New videos are posted at the site every week.

Videos on the arts, featuring the artists.

Meet the artists on Channel including Hannah Levy, who primarily makes sculptures combining curving steel forms with cast silicone.