The Current Display 6.9. – 25.10.2018

The Current Display ‘Where and Where To?’ | ‘Sumi Sumullu?’ on images of Greenland.

The Current Display ‘Where and Where To?’ | ‘Sumi Sumullu?’ on images of Greenland.

All are welcome to the opening of the eighth display at the Hospital Prison University Archive departing from the 1973 LP album Sumut by the Greenlandic rock group Sume. The project was developed in collaboration with the visual artist Eva la Cour, who presents material related to the filmmaker and photographer Jette Bang, who worked in Greenland in the late 1930s. The show will develop over the next two months, and will last until Thursday, October 25th.

In a new move the radio station has left the Hospital Prison University Archive, which is why I am writing this invitation (together with Eva) from Nuuk in Greenland, where we have been working for the last two weeks. We have produced radio about Sume and Jette Bang together with two sixth form college classes in Sisimiut.

I have invited Eva to collaborate as she has experience working in the far north and has been to Greenland before. For a number of years her practice – notably her work on the Svalbard archipelago – has been challenging the conventional representations of the Arctic by criticising the anthropological methods of fieldwork and tourism. Eva is also a good friend and I wanted to have the privilege of working with her.

The exhibition 'Where and Where To?' presents Sume's vinyl record together with it’s unfolding sleeve containing the album lyrics in Greenlandic and Danish, along with a poem that Aqqaluk Lynge titled 'Ode til Danaiderne' (Ode to the Daniads). Eva's work in the exhibition engages with some critical aspects of Jette Bang's work.

Jette Bang stayed in Greenland for a year and a half in 1938–39, and from her film footage the famous Greenlandic film 'Inuit' (1940/84) was created. 'Inuit' gives an insight into the ‘natural’ life of indigenous people in Greenland. A few years ago, some of Jette Bang's unused footage from Greenland turned up in the Film Archive of the National Museum in Copenhagen. They show early modernization in Greenland: shipping, mining, postal and tele-communication, schools and education, healthcare, etc. In the exhibition Eva is showing a treated 16 mm film shot by Jette Bang from the now closed coal mine in Quillisat, along with selected stills from 'Inuit'. This juxtaposition addresses the discussion of how life in Greenland is represented in the intersection of indigenous culture and modernisation, still a recurring issue today.

From my childhood I remember that Greenlandic rock music was played on national radio in Denmark in the mix of mainly English and Danish-language music. It intrigued me – since then Sume’s music has been something I would like to know more about. The fact that Sumut was the first rock record to be sung on Greenlandic is already a materialisation of the anti-imperialist and anti-colonial perspective that flows through the project. Some friends made me aware of the movie ‘Sume - The Sound of a Revolution’ created by Inuk Silis Høegh and Emile Hertling Péronard in 2014, which made me even more curios.

Eva and I have brought the exhibition to Greenland in an attempt to get a Greenlandic perspective on our investigation. The archive's way of working with artistic research is based on a critical method where both researcher and object are at stake. In science, both researchers and the object are most often fixed identities. In our research, both the researcher and the object are transformed in the investigation process. Our radio work with 1.a and 2.z and their teacher Ida Buhl from Sisimiut GUX has been overwhelmingly educational and at times problematic with Eva and I as radio hosts for the youngsters. After a week of radio conversations, the students took over the microphones and produced 3 programs where they interviewed us. The programs will be made available on the radio during the timespan of the exhibition.

This exhibition has been made possible due to the participation of 1.a, 1.z, Ida Buhl, Emile Hertling Péronard, Inuk Silis Høegh, Kirsten Thisted and Anne Mette Jørgensen.

The seventh display 3.5. – 28.6.2018

The Seventh Display ‘We Are and We Are Not!’ Presenting material from the Cultural Congress of Havana, 1968.

We Are and We Are Not! Presenting material from the Cultural Congress of Havana, 1968.

In January 1968 an unorthodox mass of progressive and revolutionary cultural workers – artists, scientists, athletes, writers, guerrilla and independence fighters – from all over the world gathered in Cuba for the Cultural Congress of Havana. Their aim was, in the words of Haitian poet René Depestre, ‘to determine on which concrete basis we will carry out common actions for the total decolonisation of the diverse cultures of the Third World’. Conceived as a meeting of Third World artists and intellectuals the idea was to find common solutions to their ongoing struggles against the inadmissible present of colonialism and imperialism. As a part of the public program of the Cultural Congress, the Third World Exhibition was presented in the Pabellón Cuba, a stunning half building-half garden constructed shortly after the triumph of the Revolution. The Third World Exhibition was conceived by a collective of young Cuban revolutionaries. As an anti-imperialist pop spectacle, it included live dioramas and detourned Tarzan films denouncing the colonial gaze, together with giant comic-strip murals, animated light boxes, sound-collages and mash-up films of the liberation struggles of the Third World. The experience was of a psychedelic show, a total mechanical theatre using all means necessary to strike back.

Here fifty years later, in the face of an equally inadmissible present of continued neocolonial plundering of the Global South, this project will use the Cultural Congress and the Third World Exhibition as an open vessel to look into culture as a decolonising weapon, and a way of connecting struggles through time and space. We want to talk about coloniality not only as a global relation between a North and a South, but also as social relations that unfold and permeate our everyday life in the global cities we inhabit.

The display in the Archive will present images of the construction of 1968 show together with six compendiums containing the transcripts of the Cultural Congress sessions, which the participants from over 70 countries took with them to disseminate and continue what had been initiated in Havana. For this project we will be producing radio in collaboration with the Radio Reading Group (a group of students from the Royal Academy of Fine Art, Copenhagen) as well as our friend Marie Northrop who will be working on contemporary colonial struggles in urban space and elsewhere.

We Are and We Are Not! was created together with the sociologist, writer and curator María Berríos, and builds on The Revolution Must Be a School of Unfettered Thought a project we initially presented at the 31st Bienal de São Paulo (2014). This invitation was written together with María and starting with this collaboration the Hospital Prison University Archive will be entering a new phase, in which the projects will be increasingly – but not exclusively – in English. This in an effort to open up our community and further involve the multilingual friends that have helped turn it into it a living organism.

Sixth display 4.1. – 22.2.2018

Sixth display with 'Art for Goods' og Joen Vedel January and February 2018

Sixth display on Art, Value and Money with 'Art for Goods' og Joen Vedel

The sixth display at the archive was made in collaboration with artist Joen Vedel who’s work persistently raises questions about the relationship between art, money and value. How can the symbolic capital of art be translated into real capital? What mechanisms are shaping such a transformation? What is the relationship between use value and exchange value in regards to art?

Joen’s graduation project from the Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen sought to redeem some of his symbolic capital through sponsorships from various construction companies and manufactories, so he could obtain materials to refurbish his father’s ramshackle house in the South Harbor area of Copenhagen. In the exhibition, Joen showed the building materials he had been able to get for free: windows, insulation, roofing, paint, etc.

It was painter Gordon Fazakerley – now deceased – who first told me of Art for Goods. He recounted how he had acquired a nice stroller for his first child in the early 1960s. The payment was a painting. I had never before heard of the association, which ran its own gallery first in Stormgade, later on in Bredgade in Copenhagen. It was founded in 1924 by painter Aage Berthelsen in order to ‘help the comrades and provide them – and ourselves – with goods for living and often something we would otherwise never have the opportunity to buy.' A couple of years ago I found a booklet from ‘Art for Goods’ among the boxes with books, which for a while were left in the basement of the Den Frie Udstillingsbygning; that is the booklet that will be on show for the next two months.

The exhibition’s focus will be art, money and value. Art for Goods is interesting as it treats art as real and negotiable exchange value: one-weeks-work making a painting for one-weeks-work sewing a suit, making a stroller or building a house. This contrasts with today’s completely abstract valuation of art. How can a Tal R painting cost over one million kroner? During the first period of the exhibition we will look at money in a very concrete way. We will do a visual analysis of the current Danish banknotes, and we will see if they burn.

During the second part of the exhibition we will look at different means of opposition to monetary power. We will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Storm of the Stock Exchange in 1918, and we will publish a beautifully crafted booklet containing annual accounts of a handful of the Copenhagen commercial galleries. For some time there has been some debate on the miserable wages of visual artists, but no one has looked at the cash flows in the industry as a whole. Hopefully we can shed light on this together with economists and others art-market experts. Our publication will be produced in collaboration with Kld Repro and will be available for purchase in the archive. Price by arrangement.

Fifth display 2.11. – 21.12.2017

Fourth display with Ecstatic Feminists and the porcelain painters from the Royal Porcelain Factory November and December 2017

Fifth display on Women’s Liberation with the Ecstatic Feminists and the porcelain painters from the Royal Porcelain Factory

The fifth display at the Hospital Prison University Archive was made in collaboration with the collective Ecstatic Feminists who have, over the last three years, been engaged in collaborative work processes around the home and body. They are still developing their 'home archive', which maps how categories like money, maternity, goods, time and identity are transformed while circulating through the home. Ecstatic Feminists consist of Marie Louise Krogh, Misja Thirslund Krenchel, Merete Enggaard Jakobsen, Anna Baagø, Hannah C. Lutz, Kirstine Nordentoft Mose, Anne Louise Fink and Thea Von der Maase.

I was 11 years old when my aunt showed me a beautiful blue fluted paper plate, which she had bought to support the striking porcelain painters at the Royal Porcelain Factory. It was that same plate that I, in turn, handed over to the Ecstatic Feminists half a year ago. The strike in 1976 was not only against the Royal Porcelain Factory but also against the trade unions, who refused to recognize the women porcelain workers’ right to strike. To finance the strike the porcelain workers produced blue fluted paper plates with a note on the back stating: 'Buy a piece of art for a tenner [£1] - and support our fight against the low-wage problem at the Royal Porcelain Factory’.

The focus of the exhibition will be feminist struggle and women’s fight for a voice. The project has taken off through an initial meeting of the Ecstatic Feminists with female porcelain painters (one active and three previously employed at the RPF) in the Feminists workspace on Monday October 30. Here an intergenerational discussion on the experiences of women's work at the factory and at home begun: what happens when you are developing a political voice? What happens when you start to use it? Where are the fault lines of the women's struggle today? What does inequality look like? And what kind of solidarity is possible?

Fourth display 7.9. – 30.10.2017

Fourth display with Frisk Flugt and Blød By September and October 2017

Fourth display on Urban Development with Frisk Flugt and Blød By

The fourth display in the archive consist of a series of collages by Frisk Flugt and the remains of the architectural journal Blød By - Blad om bolig-, miljø- og planlægningsproblemer [Soft City - journal on housing, environmental and planning issues] (1978–1982)

Hospital Prison University Archive's fourth project was developed in collaboration with Frisk Flugt (Tina Helen and Ask Katzeff), who over the last four years have published four editions of the magazine Frisk Flugt, a beautifully crafted zine that combines text and images as a integrated whole. Their starting point is the idea of escape as political and aesthetic resistance.

Last year I found a box with the first 19 issues of the Danish architectural journal Blød By - Blad om bolig-, miljø- og planlægningsproblemer [Soft City - journal on housing, environmental and planning issues] (1978–1982). I have invited Frisk Flugt to read and cut into Blød By to produce new collages and conflict zones based on its now historical material. The idea is that a new version of Frisk Flugt will be produced during the two months the exhibition lasts. The new magazine will be produced in collaboration with the local print shop KLD Repro.

The exhibition's focus is urban politics and draws on the question of what happened to the utopian idea of a soft city. The period when Blød By issues 1 to 9 were produced was a very conflicting time, especially here in the Copenhagen area of Nørrebro, with the Battle of the Adventure Playground in 1980 and the clearance of the squatted centre Allotria in 1982. At present it seems that the only utopian idea of the city is the neoliberal wonderland where social life is happily being capitalized through AirBnB, GoMore and so on. At the same time, police helicopters are hovering low over Nørrebro to keep an eye on the criminal class. Our intention is that the fourth display of the archives should be the starting point for a renewed critique of the fossilized city (in the radio and on the street).

Third display 11.5. – 29.6.2017

Third display with Wilhelm Reich and Tine Tvergaard May and June 2017

Wilhelm Reich and Tine Tvergaard

The third display in the archive consist of a agit-prop pamphlet by Dr. Wilhelm Reich (1897 - 1957) and a sculpture and some photographs by visual artist Tine Tvergaard.

Hospital Prison University Archive's third exhibition has been developed in collaboration with the visual artist and psychotherapist Tine Tvergaard. For several years Tine’s artistic practice has been working with gender, desire and sexuality and the critical relationships that these social conditions imply.

This third project revolves around a small agitprop pamphlet, which has been sitting on my desk for some years. It is a beautiful piece of printed matter entitled 'Sexual Knowledge and Struggle' written by the Austrian psychoanalyst and Marxist Wilhelm Reich. The pamphlet was published in Danish in 1933, the same year in which Wilhelm Reich stayed in Copenhagen for six months before being thrown out of the country. He came as a refugee from Germany, due to the coming to power of National Socialism that same year. The pamphlet is designed in such a way that from a distance the title reads as 'Sexual Struggle'. When I invited Tine to look at this booklet, she asked me to read the text out loud for her (she is recovering from a concussion and thus has difficulty reading). Our commented readings will be broadcasted on the radio.

This is an invitation to join us on an expedition through the ‘sexual revolution’, which according to Wilhelm Reich is necessary if we want a social revolution and vice versa. He found that these two revolutions are two aspects of the same struggle against bourgeois morality and capitalist economy. Wilhelm Reich's thoughts were taken up by the youth rebellion in the 1960s, when his ideas about free sex were put to the test. During the course of the project we will be examining the SexPol movement in the 1930s, Reich-inspired films, post-porn, third gender, Freudo-Marxism, Free psychoanalytic clinics, fascism's mass psychology and together investigate how the sexual-economic revolution can take shape. These conversations will be available on the archive's in-house radio station.

Second display 2.3. – 27.4.2017

Second display with Folmer Bendtsen and Thomas Bo Østergaard March and April 2017

Folmer Bendtsen and Thomas Bo Østergaard

The second display in the archive consists of a painting by visual artist Folmer Bendtsen (1907-93) and a woodcut by visual artist Thomas Bo Østergaard.

Some years ago, Thomas dropped by my flat and showed me a woodcut he had made in a workshop at the social centre YNKB. The motive was a person collapsed, face down, on the keyboard of a laptop computer. I liked the image, perhaps because it was Thomas' first woodcut and it was probably done as an experiment. Some days later Thomas came by again with the woodcut and said I could have it. There is only this one print.

Thomas and I have decided that we want to combine this print with an image of work and working life from the era of industrialization. After some consideration we chose the painter and graphic artist Folmer Bendtsen, who lived and worked in Nørrebro - the neighbourhood of the HPUA – for a large portion of the 20th century. Thomas has been in touch with Kristine, daughter of Folmer Bendtsen, and she has loaned us a painting that depicts working life in the big city just after World War II.

This second exhibition in the archive is an invitation to reflect on and challenge representations of work. But work in the broadest sense, also including life outside the factory. Bendtsen rarely portrayed people at work, but rather the workers on their way home from the factory and mothers and children playing in the backyards of the city. Thomas’ print shows work as it is experienced today: exhaustion after 15 hours spent on Facebook.

First display 5.1. – 25.2.2017

First display with Henri Michaux and Søren Andreasen January and February 2017

Henri Michaux and Søren Andreasen

The inaugural display in the archive consists of graphic works by the Belgian poet and artist Henri Michaux and by the Danish artist Søren Andreasen.

Some years ago Søren told me that he had bought a lithographic print by Henri Michaux, and that it was the first and only time he had ever bought a work of art. Since I myself am intrigued by Michaux, I often wondered what this print actually meant for Søren - also in relation to his own practice as graphic artist. So, I invited Søren to present his Michaux lithography along with a selection of his own linocuts.

The archive's first display is an invitation to consider and challenge the fundamental signs of life found in the artistic utterance: a scribble on a piece of paper, the hatching of a figure, an inscription on a surface.