Jens Haaning — Recent Danish History and other Works



Jens Haaning
Recent Danish History and other Works

Past: April 6 → May 7, 2011

The exhibition revolves around of a serie of 8 postcards title: “Recent Danish History” made for the first Copenhagen’s quadrennial. This event brought for the first time significant part of the international artistic community in the capital of Denmark. This work was partially adressed to these people, after the artist tried to remember what he thought to be the most outstanding events in the last eight years. The resulting choice is of course subjective, as every form of history (or narrative) is, but it is likely that historians will retain most of the same events selected by this particular witness — participation in military conflicts outside Denmark, profound evolution of the Danish society, divided between it’s openness to the world (for which the inauguration of the bridge linking Denmark to Sweden could be a symbol) and the opposite temptation of isolation and withdrawal into oneself (distrust to multiculturalism or alternatives experiences as in Christiana). Each of these pictures was bought to the local press agency and the captions were kept or written with the help of professionnal journalists. 65 000 copies of the postcards were printed and distributed in public places all over Copenhagen (bars, restaurants, spas…), on the same model than publicity postcards for mobile phones or music, intended for young adults and adolescents.

Echoing these events, three otherworks brought by the artist function as pieces of evidence of the world simultaneously real and fictional ofthese historic events : Baghdad Time, a clock indicating the local time in Irak, Windscreen Wiper from Public Bus, Found on the 22nd of January in front of Nørrebrogade 17, a windscreen wiper ripped out of a bus, near a demonstration spot, and finally En Gennemsnitlig Dansk Årsindkomst “An Average Danish Year Income” : 279 banknotes for a total of 278 500 DKK (about 33 600 pounds or 53 200 US dollars). The spectacular aspect of this piece relies on it’s ambiguous nature — at the same time a very concrete gathering of real banknotes and a materialisation of an abstraction. As a statistic, the average income by habitant is something that does not exists and that is never presented in this form, which inevitably sparks off the doubt on the veracity of the work.

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The artist

  • Jens Haaning