27th & 28 April 2019
Michelle Eistrup is a visual artist, arts producer and instigator of artistic collaboration who lives in Copenhagen, Denmark. Michelle's art incorporates themes of identity, corporeality, faith, memory and post-colonialism, where her transnational background (Danish, Jamaican, American) is sometimes a point of departure. Currently, Eistrup is working on a film, Natango Zuzu (All Suns Forever). This piece will reunite artefacts of African culture and spirituality to stories and people in southern United States, and to the Kingdom of Kongo/Angola. The connection of these objects aims to both unite different environments and make the hidden meanings latent more visible. During her residency in LIA, Michelle will document some of their Nkisis'sfor the film, and work on developing a new print, that will participate in the Goethe sponsorship and program.
18 August 2018 - 7 January 2019.
In the Deep Underground and Up Above, SPACED 3:north by southeast, Group Exhibition
Art Gallery Of Western Australia, Perth.
Spaced 3: north by southeast will comprise 11 residency-based projects that will take place in regional, remote and outer-urban locations in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Western Australia. Nordic artists will undertake their residencies in Western Australia, whilst Australian artists will be placed in the Nordic region. These residencies are positioned as the means to develop new works that will be created by each artist in response to their engagement with the social, environmental and historical contexts of the host communities.
Spaced 3: north by southeast will explore the significant cultural, social and environmental parallels between the Nordic countries and Australia.
Residency locations will be situated in regional, remote or outer-urban centres. Underlying this curatorial choice is the idea that even smaller communities with a strong sense of their unique identity are deeply affected by global economic, environmental and social forces. Due to this, they face challenges that are in some respects shared by other, seemingly unrelated communities across the world. The ultimate aim being to explore local issues in a global context through cross-cultural exchanges mediated by art.
This core program will be complemented by the spaced 3: Education and Community Access program presented by Act-Belong-Commit, symposia, and an extensive post-event publication.
Participating artists: Robyn Backen (NSW), Michelle Eistrup (Denmark), Gustav Hellberg (Sweden), Deborah Kelly (NSW), Danius Kesminas (VIC), Tor Lindstrand (Sweden), Heidi Lunabba (Finland), Dan McCabe (WA), Linda Persson (Sweden), Keg de Souza (NSW), Sam Smith (NSW).
Nordic partners: Baltic Art Center (Gotland, Sweden), FABRIKKEN for Kunst & Design (Copenhagen, Denmark), Kirsten Kjaers Museum (Thylejren, Denmark), Mustarinda (Hyrynsalmi, Finland), Nes Artist Residency (Skagaströnd, Iceland), Rejmyre Art LAB (Rejmyre, Sweden).
West Australian partners: ArtGeo Complex (Busselton), Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council (Ravensthorpe), Shire of Leonora (Leonora), Wangaree Community Centre/DADAA (Lancelin), Warlayirti Artists (Balgo).
BAT: Bridging Art +Text publication
Read Article on KUNSTEN NU https://kunsten.nu/journal/danskerne-er-ligeglade/
BAT is a 3 volume publication edited by Michelle Eistrup and Annemari B Clausen,
produced by Anders Juhl & published in collaboration with The Karen Blixen Museum.
The overriding themes are: Spirituality, Black Identity and Aesthetics, Art &
Independence and Spaces for Art & Literature.
Contributers: Artists Christopher Cozier, Gillion Grantsaan, Ebony Patterson, Sasha Huber, Jeannette Ehlers, Charl
Landvreugd, Yo-Yo Gonthier, James Muriuki, Curators and Writers Carlos Moore,
Françoise Vergès, Britt Kramvig, Nicholas Laughlin, C. Daniel Dawson, Robert Farris
Thompson and many more.
BAT: Bridging Art +Text publication at BOOK ART FAIRS
September Fotobok Gbg 18
October Hamburger Bahnhof
19–21 October 2018
Art Book Fair Berlin
Hamburger Bahnhof –
Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin
November Kunsthalle Zurich.
Rensing Center, Rensing, South Carolina www.rensingcenter.org
Spinnerei, LIA Leipzig, April 2018. https://liap.eu/index.php/de/
Residency at Spinnerei, LIA Leipzig, April 2018. https://liap.eu/index.php/de/
Supported by the Danish Arts Council
Spaced 3, North by South, Residency Part 2, Deep in the Underground and Up Above, Busselton Australia. Jan to March 2018. http://three.spaced.org.au/spaced-3-north-by-southeast/
Supported by the Danish Arts Council , ARTGEO, BUSSELTON and SPACED 3.
Pitch Molded Animability was recorded in Senegal and Trinidad, explores the idea of living on the edge of the urban, in the grey area between wild and tame, either in the peripheral areas of the city, or quite openly in the midst of the people. It explores connecting diverse landscapes together through portals of soundscapes. In the new work the donkeys are attached to the elements earth and water. Earth is represented in slowly flowing form of Trinidad's Pitch Lake, and water will be buoyant like memories.
GENEROUS SUPPORT and FUNDING comes from:
The National Danish Arts Council and the International Danish Arts Council
This Particular Masquerade by M.Eistrup
FOUR lambdaprint prints, 2x 300 x 4.1 x 24.1 cm and 2 x 600 x 4.1 x 24.1 cm.
INSTALLED as prints or in Wenge lightboxes.
First Exhibited at AMNESIA, Haugaur Museum, Vestfold, Trømso, Norway, (2013) Curator of Exhibit:Grethe Hald.
Exhibited at FORGOTTEN, Possesion: Art, Power and Black Womanhood, Curated by Dr. Temi Odomosu,
New Shelter Plan Artspace, Cph, DK.(2014)
Generous SUPPORT and FUNDING comes from:
The National Danish Arts Council and the International Danish Arts Counci http://www.kunst.dk/english/ towards the production of This Particular Masquerade, Unmasked and towards residency at Alice Yard in Trinidad.
How can I see you when you do not see me?
How can you imagine that I want to loose my color, my culture to your norms of validity, which means
being like you. How can you forget where you were and why I am here. How can you just not touch on
this part of your history, caress it and just for a moment let the pain seep in. Everything I tough, caress, and
validate around me in this foreign land denies my existence and yet it is there
Extract of Amnesia Sound_M.Eistrup Production: Anders Juhl
In 2005, the national museums of Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland curated an exhibition “The Congo and the North”,based on 40,000 objects. Rais Boneza comments the following in ’Rethinking Nordic Colonialism (2006):
“It is stupefying that the Nordic countries have decided to exhibit “their” trophies, taken brutally from the people of the Congo without concern or any consultation with the Democratic Republic of Congo” ”We remember that under itsabusive colonization by Belgium, the population of the Congo, then estimated to 20 million people, decreased to the half. It was during that period that Nordic missionaries, members of the armed forces, seafarers and other adventurers took part in the pillage of the country”.
Boneza demonstrate that these national institutions stepped seriously away from reflecting on the history in this exhibit where they overlooked how the objects were initially acquired. Can their mistake be an grave example of a national Amnesia, which forms the basis of the atmosphere that we who come from a different background/history daily reside and move in?
My work is a response to what I perceive as a woman both of black ancestry and parentage who lives in a Nordic culture where a selective view of world history is the rule - and where real knowledge about Scandinavia’s relation to black people during the colonial period is the exception. Nowadays, it seems there is a great focus on Nordic charity for developing countries, and here again, the countries involved overlook the economic advantages being acquired through their relationships with these parts of the world.
Amnesia by Grethe Hald
Exerpt from catalog
'Commemorative exhibitions jog our memories. Historical societies keep the past alive in their publications,and history lives on in cinema and theatre'.
'Amnesia: this Greek word for forgetfulness is also used for a condition that embraces nuances of exposure and concealment.Amnesia is suffered first and foremost by those who lose their memory, but indirectly the family and friends of someone afflicted with dementia are harshly affected. The causes of memory loss can be many and complex. Disease, accidents, and trauma may play a part, but it may also be linked to repression, the brain inducing temporaryamnesia to keep out unwanted impulses for a period of healing.
Amnesia brings together eight leading Nordic artists who offer their highly individual takes on the many-faceted condition of forgetfulness. Some are pre-existing works, others have been created or further developed for this exhibition. The artists have been free to interpret the open title in any way they wish. As are the public to interpret the works.
See AMNESIA Catalog
Possession by Temi Odumosu
1 the state of having, owning, or controlling something
2 an item of legal property; something belonging to a person, group or
political entity (i.e the government)
3 the state of being controlled by (or under the influence of) a demon,
spirit, idea or intense emotion
“If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's
fantasies for me and eaten alive.” - Audre Lorde
“There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you” - Maya Angelou
This exhibition showcases the work of 12 international Black women artists, whose work explores multiple concepts of being and belonging.Through deeply personal expressions these artists reflect on Black womanhood as a dynamic archive of knowledge, formed of flesh, spirit and memory. In mixed media practices and against the backdrop of their own biographies, they offer rare and beautiful insights into what it means to travel with this identity through public and private spaces, to dare to speak
where voices are often subdued or silenced, and to honour ancestral inheritances as creators of art. Whilst clearly confronting the enduring legacies of slavery and colonialismexperienced in their own lives, these artists also poetically demonstrate the
healing and transformative power of sharing ones own story with a community of witnesses.
Too Long Are Our Memories + Borders by Michelle Eistrup and James Muriuki(Kenya).
Single Channel Video: 9 mins, Exhibition Format: Projection + Screen. Light Box 12 meters x 15 cm x 15 cm installation adjusted to the space.
First Exhibited at NotAboutKarenBlixen, Karen Blixen Museum, (2010) Curator of Exhibit: Michelle Eistrup + Brooke Minto (U.S.A.)
Exhibited at Naturama, Svendborg, Fyn, (2012). Curator of Exhibit: Thomas Bjørneboe Berg
Exhibited at IKM, Oslo, Norway(2012).Organizer: Grethe Hald(Norway)
Funded by the MY WORLD IMAGES 2010 and DCCD, INTERNATIONAL ARTS COUNCIL and NATIONAL ARTS COUNCIL towards the production and travel of Too Long Are Our Memories, Not About Karen Blixen, and Copenhagen’s Municipality of Art and Culture Fund.
STATENS VÆRKSTEDER FOR KUNST OG HÅNDVÆRK I GAMMEL DOK towards the production of Wild as the Wind, and Too Long are Our Memories.
In the video, Too Long Are Our Memories, an old black doll sits in a mantle, her eyes are nearly gone, a white and brown deer slope in between the fantasy and the imaginary, a girl picks coffee and a seer stands with a mirror reflecting the woody white wintery landscape around him. A voice of memories from another time slips in and out of the passages: ‘The Kenyans could not plant coffee, they could not plant sisal…’. Dudley Thompson, the lawyer who assembled the primary defence team of Kenyatta, recollects and describes the tension between the British colonizers and Kenyans. Old pictures on a wall refer to the past, the Kenyan Railway, royalty, Mombasa, versus the workers, the builders, who died to construct that lunatic line.
The piece is a meditation on the interaction and shifts that exist between these realities and questions our historical perspectives in connection to those times. There is redemption as well, we see three black workers reclaiming their train, dancing in and out of its remains to the symbolic music of freedom: jazz and ska. The souls of colonial maids and workers are suspended over the train and walk through different time dimensions arriving today as immigrants in the cold North, finding balance on the sharp cliff edges of this past. Too Long Are Our Memories speeds, splices and interweaves many visual layers and sounds, thereby creating imaginary spaces - or worlds - where the paths of dislocation and migration lead humans in search of a future.
Borders is a light-box installation that explores the reality and metaphor imagined in both time and space. “Through memories, connections, looped borders, hedges, pathways, habitats are intertwined. In these light boxes we show different notions of land, division and border, open or hidden. Borders reflect on the relation between spaces from the outer to the inner and the areas in between them. In general, borders indicate a division, a difference. Geographical borders exist in reality, while there are invisible borders between concepts such as multi-culture and monoculture, progress and tradition, present and past…“ – says Michelle Eistrup.
About James Muruiki
James Muriuki works as a photographer, graphic designer and was a curator at the Rahimtulla Museum of Modern Art (RaMoMA), Nairobi, where he worked since it’s opening in 2001. In 2010, he, together with Miriam Syowia Kyambi and Dr. Kivubiro Tabawebbula founded 3Collect, an artist’s collective engaging the curatorial practice, under which he works besides other individual curatorial engagements.
He says, “Over time, I have taken interest in exploration of gaps and spaces that are left by using photography and other art media. I endeavor to use photography as a medium of practicing art, either alone or collaboratively, rather than as a photographer. This has extended from photographic experiments to using photo-based medium and new digital media with a personal attitude and aesthetic. The art is a personal journey that has kept proving dynamic and yet static in many ways within my environment.”
Recently James Muriuki was awarded 2nd prize in 4th Photoafrica contest, which took place within 8th African Film Festival of Tarifa. He had a retrospective at Goethe Institute in Nairobi, is part of the Walther Collection in Ulm, Germany and he has exhibited in Snap Judgments: New Positions in Contemporary African Photography, curated by Okwui Enwezor. James lives and works in Nairobi and his work has been exhibited and collected in Kenya, South Africa, USA, Denmark, Spain, and Germany among other countries.
NotAboutKarenBlixen evolved as a long-term collaborative project between three Kenyan artists, three Danish artists, and a German artist, working in various media. For the participating artists, the NotAboutKarenBlixen project offered a unique opportunity to create works of art, which incorporate impulses from Denmark and Kenya.The artists started their projects in Denmark at the Danish Art Workshops in snow-covered Denmark in February, working in cross-national pairs. Their collaboration was continued in Nairobi in June in what was, for the Danish participants, an unexpectedly cold Kenyan winter. Works created by these ‘art-duos’ have been exhibited at the RaMoMA Museum of Modern Art in Nairobi in July 2010 and at the Karen Blixen Museum Sept – Nov. 2010. The entire project was curated by curator and artist Michelle Eistrup(Dk/Jamaica) and Brooke Minto(USA)
“We hope through collaboration to extend ourselves and to relearn, re-evaluate the past in a present context. The collaboration is also based on medium and experimentation. The artists had to learn the other’s artistic language, an essential tool for gaining knowledge and understanding of the other”– explains Michelle Eistrup. The title, NotAboutKarenBlixen, signals that this exhibition is not directly about Karen Blixen. The exhibition uses the name of Karen Blixen to inspire both artists and audience to reflect on present and future relations between Europe and Africa. It illuminates current and historic issues through contemporary art media and performance. Thus the work and legacy of Karen Blixen becomes a catalyst for a bridging Danish and Kenyan culture, or, as Michelle Eistrup puts it: “We wish to contribute to a wider understanding of Kenya’s and Denmark´s postcolonial heritage through the artistic process and modern media in art, such as photography, video, sound installation and performance”.
WILD AS THE WIND by Michelle Eistrup
6 Prints x 300 x 79,4 cm , 2010 +2014 + 1 Single Channel Video, Wild as the Wind, Green Curtain.
Generous SUPPORT and FUNDING comes from:
KULTURSTYRELSEN INTERNATIONAL AND NATIONAL DANISH ART FOUNDATION, towards the production of WILD AS THE WIND, NEW PRINTS, PINGYAO China.
Wild as the Wind by M.Eistrup
Single Channel Video 8 mins.
Exhibited at Pingyao Film Festival, 2014 The Danish National Museum of Arts, Children's Exhibition,Statens Museum For Kunst, 2011, and Galleri Image 2010.
HORSE POWER by Mark Le Fanu
Art begins with the depiction of animals. The caves of Lascaux and Chauvet are decorated with images not of hunters, but of the beasts which the caves’ primitive inhabitants hunted, lived with and dreamt about. The mystery of living in the world with creatures besides ourselves (creatures with whom we communicate, but not by language) has been a more or less fundamental motif in art since art began.
And among all the beasts – the lions and gryphons and eagles and elephants and oxen – perhaps none so important, so iconic as the horse. From the friezes of the Parthenon, through the statues of mounted warriors and victors that have given grandeur and meaning to public spaces since the renaissance, down to those amazing romantic canvases of artists such as Rubens, Géricault and Delacroix, the horse, in art, has transfixed man’s collective imagination. There seems to be something uniquely stirring about the way that, while harness-able to human need, the animal retains in a deeper sense its mystery, pride and inviolability.
These are some of the attributes observable in Michelle Eistrup’s images of wild horses taken over a two year period on the Danish island of Læsø. She approaches the recording task not as a professional wild-life photographer intent on some captioned magazine article (excellent as such photo-features sometimes are), but as a free-floating artist, alert to the mythic quality of the animal she is photographing, yet in a loose and unforced way that avoids the tricks of postmodernist games-playing. There is a gentle humour at work throughout these images, one might even call it a humanism – though humans are conspicuously absent. The animals are left to their own devices, to graze or gambol, to nuzzle and be nuzzled; or merely to scratch their itchy parts against the branches of the island’s seaside forests.
Still, the artist’s proper concern with form is discernible in several ways, above all in the subtle play of contrasts that weave in and out of Eistrup’s photographs: snow with sand, darkness with light, stillness with movement, repose with wakefulness. Taken by themselves the pictures are extraordinarily beautiful; they have an unforced brilliancy - sober and unshowy without being tiresomely “minimalist”.
Once you have paused in front of these static images, a further treat lies in store for the gallery visitor behind the thick black curtains that divide the central exhibition space in two. Eistrup is as good at video-photography as she is at traditional stills work, reminding us that at a certain stage in the history of art there emerged the possibility of our contemplating not just the frozen image of exotic animals (the original cave paintings, as it were) but their movement too. It was, after all, the experimental photographs of Eadward Muybridge – one of the principal aims of which was to discover the lineaments of a horse’s galloping motion – that paved the way for the modern art form of cinema. Eistrup’s horses are closer to the riderless beasts of Tarkovsky and Fellini than they are to the more familiar mounts of the Hollywood Western – though the Western too, of course, has lovely images of horses on the roam; horses in landscape, free and untrammeled.
Installations are now so much a part of gallery art that one tends to take them for granted. But Eistrup’s installation here is exemplary, combining as it does experimentalism of form (it is not a “movie” or narrative) with a pleasingly uncomplicated readability. The effect communicated is one of delicate intelligence, the hallmark of this artist’s work. Eistrup’s images have the integrity of someone who watches closely over a substantial period of time; who effaces herself in front of the object, rather than trying to force upon it an outside interpretation. Such selfless attention to process is rare in contemporary art, where (at least until recently) “gesture” and “concept” have tended to rule supreme.
NOTABOUTKARENBLIXEN Picture: NotAboutKarenBlixen 2010 Lambda dibon 120 x 83 cm.
From NAKB Performance, Mombasa, Kenya. Participants in Foto: James Muruiki, Gillion Grantsaan, Miriam Syowia Kyambi, Michelle Eistrup and Simora.Instigated by Gillion Grantsaan with NAKB group Courtesy of Oder, Curator, Michelle Eistrup.Too Long Are Our Memories + Borders by Michelle Eistrup and James Muruiki(Kenya)
NotAboutKarenBlixen co-curated with Brooke Minto
KAREN BLIXEN MUSEUM, Rungstedlund, Denmark, My World Images Festival 2010
Gillion Grantsaan (DK) in cooperation with Ato Malinda (Kenya); Søren Assenholt (DK)in cooperation with Miriam Syowia Kyambi (Kenya); Michelle Eistrup (DK),in cooperation with James Muruiki (Kenya) Stefan Saffer (Germany)
Lesley-Ann Brown (DK) is associated with the project as performance writer.
Gillion Grantsaan (DK) in cooperation with Ato Malinda (Kenya);Michelle Eistrup (DK),in cooperation with James Muruiki (Kenya)
NotAboutKarenBlixen is a long-term collaborative project between three Kenyan artists, three Danish artists, and a German artist working in various media. For the participating artists, the NotAboutKarenBlixen project has offered a unique opportunity to create works of art which incorporate impulses from Denmark and Kenya. • Working in pairs, the artists started their projects in Denmark at the Danish Art Workshops in snow-covered Denmark in February. The work was continued in Nairobi in June in what was, for the Danish participants, unexpectedly cold Kenyan winter weather. Parts of the projects created by these ‘art-duos’ have been exhibited at the RaMoMa Museum of Modern Art in Nairobi in July 2010.
• The participating artists represent considerable international experience, with exhibition activities in USA, England, Continental Europe and partsof Asia and Africa. • “We hope through collaboration to extend ourselves and to relearn, reevaluate the past in a present context. The collaboration is alsobased on medium and experimentation. The artists had to learn the other’s language, an essential tool for gaining knowledge and understanding of the other.”– explains curator and artist Michelle Eistrup. • The title, NotAboutKarenBlixen, signals that this exhibition is not directly about Karen Blixen. Not-AboutKarenBlixen uses the name of Karen Blixen to inspire reflection on present and future relations between Europe and Africa. It illuminates current and historic issues through contemporary art media and performance. The artists use the collaboration in pairs to explore Karen Blixen´s legacy and its significance in a postcolonial context. • Placing the exhibition project at Rungstedlund in the exhibition rooms and in the front yard of the house where Karen Blixen was born adds a special quality to the project. It links Rungstedlund to the farm at Ngong Hills in Kenya. This year – 125 years after Karen Blixen was born – the focus of the museum is on Africa. • We hope to contribute to a wider understanding of Kenya’s and Denmark´s postcolonial heritage through the artistic process and modern media in art, such as photography, video, sound installation and performance.
APPETIZER by Housing Spirits
2001 Take OFF20:01, The Museum of Modern Art Aarhus, Dk.
2000 Momentum, Nordic Biennual for artists, Moss, Norway. 2000. Crossing Boundaries, International Docu.filmfestival, Cph, 2000.
1999 Blick, video show, The Museum of Modern Art, STHM, Sv. Private Parts, The State Museum of Modern Art, Cph, 1999.
MAMI WATA by Housing Spirits
2001 Take OFF20:01, Museum of Modern Art Aarhus, Dk.
2000 Exit graduateshow, Kunstforeningen Gl.strand, Cph.
2000 Momentum, Biennal for Young artists, Moss, N. 2000.
2000 Selected Works, Shoot, Video/Film Festival, Kyikarmyndir,
Living Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland.
2000 Stand Art Performance Festival, Gotenborg, Sv.
2000 Shoot, video/film program, Malmø Kunsthal, Sv.