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Showing unrepresented artists.

Free entry to all exhibitions.

 

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Free entry to all exhibitions.

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Rentemestervej 69b exhibition poster, courtesy of Vibevej, 2019.

OTP Review: Rentemestervej 69b

Shedding a conservative and incestuous art world skin.

 

A review of Copenhagen-based “studio fellowship”, and arts collective, Vibevej’s 2019 group show: Rentemestervej 69b (01/03/19 - 31/03/19).

Named after the street where the studio community first came together, they have been organising inter-disciplinary group exhibitions since 2016.

Exhibiting Artists:

Sara Ada, Thor Albin Kjær, Sikker August, Eigil Bakdal Jørgensen, Valdemar Bisgaard, Nils Buksted, Therese Bülow, Sally Dalsgård, Mikkel Drabik Jacobsen, Gustav Hooge, Magnus Hvidtfeltdt, Kristian Jonatan Krabbe, Tobias Just, Thor Kazuo, Sofus Keiding, Tristan Kold, Adrian Lopez Pena, Mikkel Lystbæk, Helena Müller, Theodor Nymark, Mille Qvist, Signe Ralkov, Miles Schuler, Sara Sinkjær, Svend Sømod, Alice Topsøe, Adam Varab, Filip Vest, Liisi Voll, Frederik Vium, Anna Walther, Mira Winding.

Curated By:

Sikker August, Eigil Bakdal Jørgensen, Tobias Just, Sofus Keiding, Tristan Kold.

Sara Sinkjær, 'Twoteenagegirlwhoressoinnocent', 2019. Photo: OTP.

A pair of latex dresses, pasted with bestial pornographic clippings and kawaii cutouts from “teenage girls magazines”, hang from rusted iron chains, meat-hooked to the ceiling.

 

Sara Sinkjær’s sculpture ‘Twoteenagegirlwhoressoinnocent’ might sound more akin to the nightmarish aesthetic of some gothic sex-dungeon-come-abbatoir, from a work of fictive horror, than to the stripped second-floor office space in which it hangs as part of Vibevej’s (Copenhagen-based “studio fellowship” and arts collective) exhibtion, Rentemestervej 69b.

 

However Sinkjær’s flayed sisters hang at the centre of a group show, with 50+ installations, for good reason. They locate this displayed body’s aesthetic precisely- like so many hangers in the fleshy joint of Danish contemporary art; there exists a conservative commercial climate in which the body is suspended. Tradition is revered. Sexual fantasies are fuelled in hiding - perversely used to forge the bonds of role and expectation.

 

Sinkjær frees two teenage girls but has to skin them in the process. More conversation between space and subject is desperately needed and this is exactly what Rentemestervej 69b provides. 

Sara Sinkjær, 'Twoteenagegirlwhoressoinnocent', 2019. Photo: OTP.

Copenhagen’s art world is incestuous. A handful of highly-esteemed commercial galleries dictate a uniformly white Danish taste, while only a handful of more progressive spaces, predominantly in Kølbyn (the city’s meatpacking district), promote a more internationally-minded and representative program.

 

A single institution (The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts) retains total authority in legitimising the practice and dictating the boundaries of the next generation of young Copenhagen-based artists.

 

A common complaint among Copenhageners who leave the capital, often migrating to Germany’s teeming cultural mega-city or to more remote parts of Denmark itself, is that eventually it feels claustrophobic to run into the same people at every opening and every party.

Tobias Just, 'Balcony-wall-mural-painting-fresco', 2019. Photo: OTP.

Rentemestervej 69b deliberately stands to oppose this present reality. Whilst some works like Tobias Just’s ‘Balcony-wall-mural-painting-fresco’ evoke ideas of a recursive and reproductive inevitability in the arts, the exhibition as a whole takes great pains to expand its scope beyond the milieu of the Danish locality. The artists’s institutional attachments are relatively wide-ranging and extend beyond Copenhagen to Funen and Jutland as well as to Sweden and Germany.

 

The exhibition space dismisses any assumption that the traditional gallery environment is the only place where you might expect to see thoughtful, provocative art in the Danish capital.

 

What’s more, whilst Vibevej’s principal use of social media to publicise the exhibition is by no means surprising, it would be reductive to argue that this choice was simply one of circumstantial necessity. It is demonstrative of a growing apathy towards the pandered patrons and the network of gallerists, directors, assistants and interns who support their hierarchical prestige.

 

To me, Vibevej seem much more interested with ideas of open dialogue and universal ideals, than with elitist pretension and commercial activity. The artistic community, that emerged post-depression in New York  and gave rise to the eclipsing figures (De Kooning, Krasner, Rothko etc.etc..) that have dominated global popular understanding of modern art ever since, thrived on a singular basis; there was no market for art, so it was produced as an end in itself.

It is telling that the piles of price-lists and discrete ‘DKK’s that hover conspicuously in the corners of Copenhagen's commercial spaces, were noticeably absent at Rentemestervej 69b.

Miles Schuler, 'Bodies', 2019. Photo: OTP.

In some ways the exhibition’s biggest virtue, its bold independence and subversive treatment of the pervasive and rigid strictures of the Danish contemporary art world, is an implicit curse screamed at the self.

 

In a ultimately communicative field, by refusing to engage in dominant discourse, you reduce your interactive potential. Fewer Sunday strollers with time on their hands, and space in their camera rolls, will make the trip to the student exhibition in a disused office space away from the city’s central gallery district.

 

There is none of the guarantee of immaculate white walls or Louisiana’s scenic backdrop of dramatic Swedish coastline. But the artists exhibiting at Rentemestervej 69b own this reality with fixed poise.

 

Sinkjær’s other sculpture ‘CONCRETE BOOTS’ stands by a kitchen window basking in bright sunlight - kneecapped but defiant. One of Miles Schuler’s conflicted and original pillared sculptural paintings stands in a corner by a doorframe - retreating in its position but unashamedly bold in its presence.

 

Rentemestervej 69b recognises its relatively marginal position, but in such a way that emphasises the beginning of alternative voices, rather than the beginning of a prolonged descent (or ascent) towards another performance of the same two hundred year-old monologue.

Sara Sinkjær, 'CONCRETE BOOTS', 2019. Photo: OTP.

At the time of writing, Rentemestervej 69b has closed, however you can follow the show’s curators for news about future Videvej projects:

Sikker August

Eigil Bakdal Jørgensen

Sofus Keiding

Tristan Kold

Tobias Just