International world stars activate Copenhagen Contemporary’s alternative spaces with political texts and messages in the group show In Focus: Statements. Artworks created by Monica Bonvicini, Jeremy Deller, Sam Durant, Lise Harlev, Jenny Holzer, Kahlil Joseph, Zoe Leonard, Marilyn Minter, Adrian Piper, and David Shrigley go beyond the confines of the exhibition spaces and send visitors on a journey of exploration round the old welding hall.
In May, CC presents a new exhibition series entitled In Focus, which bursts the walls of the exhibition spaces, sending visitors on a treasure hunt for works selected according to specific themes.
The first exhibition addresses the theme of Statements, marking a year in which several significant political events take place such as Brexit and the American presidential election on 3 November. CC seeks a dialogue about democracy and activism with a number of international artists who work with textual images, incorporating political texts, language, and rhetoric in their works.
Since 2018 when CC moved in, the spacious halls in the historical B&W building, once housing Denmark’s biggest shipyard Burmeister & Wain, have been dedicated to contemporary art in large-scale and technically demanding formats. With this new exhibition concept, visitors are invited to explore the unique architecture of the welding hall and experience artworks installed outside the traditional exhibition framework: in stairwells, the reception area, on exterior walls, in small-scale rooms, or in the corridors.
In the public space, especially during elections, slogans and images confront us, seeking to influence our behaviour and thinking, just as media and advertising imagery has become an integral part of everyday life.
The artists who take part in the exhibition In Focus: Statements do not, through the diversity of their works, solely focus on language as a communicative tool, but also as a visual and sculptural medium for tabling political, social, and poetic statements. With language as a common point of reference and using different approaches, they convert ideas and concepts into physical works, recalling the forthcoming US presidential election, Brexit, moral and social issues, representation of minorities, abuse of women, loss of love, and other contemporary issues – in critical, poetic, provocative, and satirical ways.
In Focus: Statements points to how written statements can make us stop in our tracks, intrude on a context with an unexpected statement and thus facilitate reflection. The relationship between text and image is manifest in the works as a way to frame the world and may serve to highlight conventions, behavioural patterns, and taboos in society. They remind us that language is never neutral, but instrumental in forming us and our personal experiences on a daily basis.