Press release, December 2019
Shirin Neshat – Women Without Men
8 February until 9 August 2020, ARoS Focus Gallery, level 5
In 2008, ARoS hosted the world premiere of Shirin Neshat’s large-scale five-part film work Women Without Men. ARoS subsequently acquired the work with financial support from the New Carlsberg Foundation. During recent years, the video work has been shown by screening its constituent films separately, but for the first time since 2008, the museum unites all the films in one large video installation.
In her art, Shirin Neshat takes inspiration from her Islamic cultural background, but the themes are universal and essentially unchanging. The video work is centred on the magic-realistic novel sharing its title with the exhibition, Women Without Men, by the Iranian writer Shahrnush Parsipur.
During five parallel sequences, Shirin Neshat’s video work portrays the lives of five Iranian women in the year 1953, which was a fateful year in recent Iranian history when a state coup restored the Shah to power. The five women have lent their names to each of the five films: Mahdokht, Zarin, Munis, Faezah, and Farokh Legha.
Shirin Neshat Women without Men, 2004-2008 Courtesy the artist and ARoS
Mythologies - The Beginning and End of Civilizations
4 April until 18 October 2020, level 5
4 April until 6 September 2020, level 1
Mythological narratives possess immense powers which can be both edifying and devastating. The exhibition Mythologies – The Beginning and End of Civilizations, showing in two gallery spaces at ARoS, attempts to expose the narratives that, through various historical epochs, have sustained society and had a governing influence on communities as well as on war and destruction. This embodies the duality of mythology.
ARoS seeks, with this exhibition, to persuade the audience to respond to the mythologies that define and create the framework of the society which we are all part of and contribute to. The fact that myths and narratives are the fabric that still manages to unite us all is one of the principal assertions of the exhibition. By highlighting a number of specific historical points of interest, Mythologies – The Beginning and End of Civilizations will uncover periods where old narratives are discarded and new ones emerge, often via radical ruptures. In this way, the exhibition bridges the past and the present while also shining a light on social changes that have changed the emphasis on those mythologies and narratives that have been cardinal to sustaining social constructions.
Mythologies – The Beginning and End of Civilizations starts with the early Greek mythologies where the divine assumes human form. From this, the exhibition moves on to the struggle for Christian mythology launched by the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, ending with the revolutionary idiom of neoclassicism where, rather than religion, mythology is now swathed in politics and classical mythology becomes the mirror of revolution.
The exhibition also addresses recent mythologies such as the tales told by nation states of their past, legitimising the rights of populations to certain areas, the fascist mythology of its own existence as well as our own welfare state which has replaced the mythological communities of former times.
Artists at level 5, mythologies in retrospect:
Nicolai Abraham Abildgaard, Peter Nicolai Arbo, Antonio Bellucci, Ferdinand Bol, Francois Boucher,
Ludovico Carracci, Nicolas Chaperon, Pieter Claesz, Nicolas Colombel, Lucas Cranach, Francis Danby, Carlo Dolci, Joseph Dufour, Albrect Dürer, C.W. Eckersberg, Ferraù Fenzoni, Felice Ficherelli, Henry Fuseli, Heinrich von Füger, Elmgreen & Dragset, Paul Gernes, Giampietrino (Giovanni Pietro Rizzoli), Erik Henningsen, Damien Hirst, Abraham Janssens, Louis-Jean-François Lagrenée, Jani Leinonen, Jakob van Loo, C.A. Lorentzen, Wilhelm Marstrand, William T. Maud, Fritz Melbye, Helene Nymann, Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, Nicolas Regnier, Peter Paul Rubens, Leni Riefenstahl, Frederik von Scholten, L.A. Schou, Hendrik van Steenwijck the Elder, Jacob Isaacsz. van Swanenburgh, Bertel Thorvaldsen, Horace Vernet, Master I.W, M.E. Winge, and Jan Brueghel the Elder.
Artists at level 1, contemporary mythologies:
Anselm Kiefer, John Akomfrah, Marguerite Humeau, Shana Moulton, Robert Boyd, Christian Jankowski, Anika Schwarzlose, Raphaela Vogel, Kader Attia, Anri Sala, Pauline Curnier Jardin, Sam Durant.
Freeman & Lowe Colony Sound (R.1 MetroVision), 2019-2020 Marlborough, London Installation View Courtesy the Artists and Marlborough Gallery Photo: Luke Walker
Jonah Freeman og Justin Lowe – COLONY SOUND, 2019-2020
10 October 2020 until spring 2021, level 1
COLONY SOUND, 2019-2020 is the title of the latest scenographical total installation from the American artist duo Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe. Like their earlier works, COLONY SOUND, 2019-2020 is based on the theorist Herman Kahn’s theory on San San. The theory outlines how the cities between San Diego and San Francisco, California, in future, will coalesce into one huge city complex called San San.
With an all-encompassing architecture and scenography, Freeman and Lowe create a parallel world and a subculture which hypothetically might emerge in San San. They utilise the narratives linked to e.g. The Summer of Love, the American Air Force, or Silicon Valley. Their scenes are taken from rumours about bacteria labs and certain types of brainwashing during the Cold War, extravagant private air-raid shelters, or home-produced drugs in private kitchens.
Freeman and Lowe present a dystopian reading of American history. They lead the audience into a strange universe which, in the exhibition, consists of spaces called Metrovision, Radio Shield, San Sound, The Mansion, The Agonist Macrobiotic Office, and Mycotectube. Here, they invite visitors to doubt whether they have taken the wrong turn, whether they intrude on someone’s private sphere, or whether they have strayed into a secret research station.
Asger Jorn and Per Kirkeby – JORN / KIRKEBY
21 November 2020 until 5 April 2021, level 5
In the autumn of 2020, ARoS presents the exhibition JORN/KIRKEBY featuring two of Denmark’s most influential visual artists in post-war European art history, Asger Jorn (1914–1973) and Per Kirkeby (1938–2018).
The exhibition JORN/KIRKEBY takes inspiration form the artists’ painterly production. It will take form via a series of themes accentuating the two artists’ relationship with e.g. frivolous painting, classicism, eroticism, landscape, and self-representations.
Jorn and Kirkeby belonged to different generations and never met. Still, their art shared a number of common interests which ARoS wants to highlight by showing them together. The exhibition will emphasise a spiritual and theoretical kinship between the two artists where likenesses are not necessarily found in what is readily recognisable. Also, the exhibition focusses on the spectral ranges from Jorn’s powerful, untamed abstractions to Kirkeby’s thoughtful, intellectual, and controlled abstractions.
Objects of Wonder – from Pedestal to Interaction
Until 1 March 2020 at level 5
Douglas Gordon – In My Shadow
Until 16 February 2020 at level 1
Press photos may be downloaded free of charge from Dropbox when crediting the works.