The exhibition Aarhus Rapport – Avantgarde as network (or, the politics of the ultralocal) takes as its point of departure the book Århus Rapport 1961-1969, edited by Kristen Bjørnkjær, Mogens Gissel and William Louis Sørensen. The book was published in 1969 by Århus Kunstforening af 1847 (Aarhus Art Society of 1847, who founded what is now called Kunsthal Aarhus). Documenting experimental art in Aarhus in the Sixties, it is a catalogue of performances, happenings, poetry readings, new music, public art works and exhibitions that took place all over the city: at concert venues, the School of Architecture, the former Museum of Prehistory, in parks, as well as in galleries and artists’ associations. The book gives evidence of extraordinary and international activity at a time during which Aarhus was arguably the central focus for contemporary art in Denmark.
The ‘politics of the ultralocal’ in the exhibition’s title refers to a time when contemporary art – or the avantgarde – was networked in a different way than through the digital networks of today. The book Århus Rapport documents artistic activity – often self-organized - in the locale. Hence, it is a manifestation of the active writing of art history from a de-centred position, reporting not only from Aarhus, but from Beder, Odder and Silkeborg too, about actors who are now nationally and internationally renowned, and others of whom are more marginal in Danish art history. It was Salvador Dalí who attributed to Michel de Montaigne the formula “Aller à l’ universel par l’ultralocal”; only from the ultralocal can one arrive at the universal.
Aarhus Rapport – Avantgarde as network (or, the politics of the ultralocal) is a historical exhibition, but it is also more than that. Through newly commissioned works, a group of contemporary artists respond to the original Århus Rapport and its spirit of unruly experimentation. In this way the book appears in the exhibition as an archive, but also as a pretext or a script containing certain suggestions and investigations of methods, motifs, formal vocabularies, social energies, historical narratives – through which the present may be retrieved and the future approached.
In this spirit, the exhibition offers historical documentation and art works, newly commissioned projects, screenings, re-enactments of music performances and happenings from the Sixties.
Artists include, among others, Eric Andersen, Antipyrine, Dave Hullfish Bailey, Glenn Christian, Johannes Christoffersen, Sture Johannesson, Kirsten Justesen, Jakob Jakobsen, Museum of Ordure, Poul Pedersen, Lea Porsager, C.F. Reuterswärd, William Louis Sørensen and Show-Bix & (Morten Søndergaard, Mogens Jacobsen, Martin Luckmann, Sebastian Frese Bülow).
The project has been initiated by Lars Bang Larsen and Joasia Krysa, and further developed with the curatorial collective consisting of Geoff Cox, Marianne Huang, Anne Kølbæk Iversen, Mathias Kokholm, Jacob Lund, Lea Porsager, and Morten Søndergaard.
The exhibition also includes an associated Århus Rapport archival film programme compiled by Mathias Ruthner, Kasper Lauritzen, Klaus Marthinus, and an opening symposium convened by Marianne Ping Huang. A new commissioned essay by Lars Bang Larsen accompanies the exhibition and can be found online at http://kunsthalaarhus.dk/research/
Kunsthal Aarhus is proud to present the concluding exhibition in its SYSTEMICS SERIES, the artistic programme for 2013-2014.
The project is supported by the Danish Arts Foundation, The Obel Family Foundation, Aarhus University, Aarhus Kommunes Kulturudviklingspulje, and the Goethe-Institut Dänemark.