Aleksandra Mir

Kunsten ned ad vaeggerne (Art down the walls)

Politiken, Copenhagen, March 1996
By Per Much

Update '96
Feb - March 1996
Dr. Tvaergade 6A, Copenhagen - Denmark

The exhibition Update with funky and young art opened friday with 1500 visitors in Turbinehallerne. The art slides down the walls, sneaks in on you, gets in your way, teases you and kisses you. And it wants you to exhibit your bottom.

Art gets in the way

There must be a Swede behind this. An irritated visitor curse over a system of red-white strings which forces people to take a detour through the court yard of the old power station in Adelgade in Copenhagen. Two guards with dogs make sure that people obey the string tyranny. In fact, the visitor is right. The woman behind the art piece Welcome—Social upbringing in a relaxed and frivolous atmosphere is not only Swedish, she is also Polish, Aleksandra Mir.

The exhibition Update which opened friday in Turbinehallerne with 1500 visitors broadcasts on all channel and everybody—even kids—are welcome. Only painting-to-go-with-the-couch are banned. A group of Denmark's most visionary, cross cultural artists—from visual art, installation art, the medias, fashion and music—have worked in four years to realize this anarchistic project. A month where music, art and draught beer form a synthesis.

The art is looking at you

Inside, the ceiling is high. There is a metal balcony five meters above the floor. Shop dummies with animal heads lean against the balcony railing and look at people. 'Art looks at art', Filip V. Jensen calls his work. We have tried to recreate some of all these crazy ideas that you normally see in an alternative space in an enlarged version and a fancy environment, says artist and organizer Jonas Maria Schul.

The art sits in a wheel chair

To the left of the entrance is a TV surrounded by six wheel chairs for the use of all. As the spirit rise, people with beers in their hands start to push each other around. If an old fashioned handicaped person should enter he/she would for once not attract any kind of attention.

The art kisses you

A dark-skinned woman in orange overall and cap leans against me. She first presses her one cheek against mine, then the other all the while she is making noisy chewing sounds—rather like they do it in France. On her back it says: French Kisses—an installation piece by Anne Karin Peret from France. An explanation on the back. That's something you can understand, my companion says appreciative.

The French kisses are one out of many foreign elements invited by the organizing artists.

Most of us travel a lot and we have invited people to come that we like. There hasn't been any commitees or any kind of selection. The criteria is that people do something that can work alongside the other art works—and that people feel like working together. On the other hand, we have turned down people who just wanted to nurse their carriers or do ordinary art works.

The art drinks beer

An impressing construction of laths holds together a bar that winds in and out like a roller coaster. It is made by Sjakket, a social project for young people in Copenhagen area, Nordvest and Norrebro. Heeeeeey, the young people of Sjakket shouts with beers in their hands when Jonas in his speech gives them an extra thanks for their contribution.

The art baby-sits your children

Three young Swedish installation artists are hiding in a purple transformation box. When you insert a bottle in one side the bow works for a minute. Then suddenly a bra comes out of the other to the great delight of the many kids. The kids also flocked round a table where you can produce american style pot holders. It's like Louisiana in the old days, says my companien who grew up in a home that was very culturally aware. I nod perceptively though my family only turned the Simca to go North when we were going to the Dyrehavsbakken.

There are also lots of kids in the other of the big halls, the one reserved for music. On an island in the middle of the room a dj desk is suspended—lit up by two glaring white operation lights. Accross the walls are impressive light formations. And a fountain on the first floor is lit up by flash lights. Kids and good people are lying about on big, soft pillows relaxing to the sound of ambient, the soft version of techno. Not even Speed Horny Virgins, a bunch of avengers in cowls that sets in with trash music, splatter movies on the wall and el guitar/meat ax solo can scare the kids out of the room.

The art wants to see your bottom

Young, well dressed Copenhagen hipsters have lined up for the toilets at the bottom of the music hall. But even here, the art follows its' audience which, in return, becomes part of the art.

Suzette Gemzoe walks around with a polaroid camera asking if she can photograph women's bottoms only wearing briefs. When she have succeeded with a few images, she returns to the exhibition hall where she hangs them on a wall. Before the night is over she has convinced 39 to participate. Danish women are ass conscious. Every one of them had an excuse for their bottoms. Either they are too fat, too thin, have marks or celulities or their briefs are too ugly—says Suzette Gemzoe who is a student at the art academy and who among other things have done 'Bathing in my sealskin bikini' where she dressed in sealskin swims in five degrees water among seals in Hirtshals. But when they have said yes they are normally happy afterwards. Most people wants to part of an art work.