Grand Salon & Please Wait Here ‘Carte Blanche’ 2017
Grand Salon and Please Wait Here were two works created specifically for the exhibition ‘Carte Blanche - 9 Danish artists at the French embassy in Copenhagen’. In the yellow double salons of the embassy were, in the room on the right, Grand Salon - a large scale photograph depicting (a miniature model) of the salon itself after undergoing something of a transformation, the room flooded and penetrated by plants, a blasted hole and scorched walls. In the salon on the left stood Please Wait here blending in with the existing furniture - a baroque chair - burnt and broken with plants growing out of it, like a remnant of the fictive or potential catastrophe depicted in the photo on the opposite wall.
Please Wait Here 2017
Please Wait Here 2017 Chair, living plants, variable dimensions
Interview from the catalogue of ‘Carte Blanche’ by Natalia Gutman
1) Your photograph depicts the actual space it is displayed in, but something dramatic has happened - can you describe the scenario?
It’s unclear what exactly has happened, but one might imagine that a good deal of time has passed. There has been a fire. Murky water has flooded the space, plants have crept through the windows and walls have crumbled. There is no human presence to tell the story. It is all up to our imagination..
2) The details in the photograph are hyper real, and at the same time it is a surreal scenario – could you explain how you create this effect?
I build everything in miniature and then I photograph it. So you look at a highly detailed photograph, which you believe in, but then there is this shift in scale and a clumsiness that the miniature gives the objects, which reveals that it’s not real. I hope people can sense this disruption, while also being seduced by it. Almost everything is handmade. From the carved legs of the chairs, to cling foil wrapped wire that appears as glass ornaments in the chandelier. It’s quite a labour intensive way of producing a photograph. I use original materials wherever possible, for example, to fill a miniature sofa, I have split an old couch to get the filling. This in itself is something I enjoy, and I think you sense it in the work. I also hope people will take the time to engage, and immerse them selves in the image. The simple fact that time and effort has gone into making it, counters the speed that images are often produced with these days – I like this slow and meticulous process.
3) You have burnt off a painting, flooded the room and blasted a wall – the memento mori is inescapable?
The desire to preserve and immortalize things can be obsessive. It’s human to want to leave a mark on this world, but its delusional. Nothing, however solid and impressive it may appear, is permanent. High or low we are all a part of the same cycle. We have become so used to seeing disasters hit those who have the least, but what about this kind of environment. Maybe at some point none of us are going to be here, and a new and better species will evolve – who knows.
4) Your other work is a piece entitled Please wait here – could you describe the character of the chair?
The embassy environment has an air of opulence and times long passed, that makes it difficult to relate to. Everything is beautiful but stagnant somehow. The chair is a kind of response to that.
The chair is in a state of extreme decay. At first glance it appears to be one of the chairs from the embassy, but on closer inspection, you will find subtle differences such as the shape, which is not quite right, and the upholstery which is not woven in the same pattern. The details give it away as an imposter, an outsider, leaving you to question its belonging and neglect.