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Notes from Herlev - Updates and Thoughts

Textile pearls to lose and to wear



Materiel: concrete, Tar Yarn

Size: 100 X 50 cm.

Concrete cast in textile. Artwork deals with appreciating and bearing grief at the same time: both privat and common for how we destroy the nature of the planet.

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Birthe Laursen Art Agency

Birthe Laursen Art Agency opens the exhibition My Garden on 29 July by visual artist Anja Franke in Gilleleje. The solo exhibition will present a number of new watercolors an d objects, all of which point back to the artist’s garden in Herlev.

Franke’s practice is based on the conceptual method, where she primarily examines feminist perspectives in nature and in the private sphere.

Since 2004, Franke’s home has functioned as a studio, laboratory and international exhibition platform (InstantHERLEV institute). The private cadastre can be seen as a metaphor and a micro-community that reflects one globalized state in continuation of the climate issues of which we are all a part. The garden itself is a resource in Franke’s artistic production, where material is extracted through the grave and observation. She examines the earth and what the earth transforms with the aim of creating new understandings of the state of the earth and our human relationship to it. Land as material holds a wide range of meanings and connotations around concepts such as ownership, nationality and territories into more abstract ideas about religion, perishability and organic processes. Likewise, Franke processes her material in the garden when she burns, molds and exposes it to the very environment from which it comes.

In continuation of her method, Franke has developed the concept of ‘austerity aesthetics’, which forms the basis for her work and practice. The concept revolves around the circular thinking that reflects on dilemmas arising from our consumption’s compromise of nature and change of our climate. The world is used, nature diluted as a practical resource, the principles of industrialization and growth are obsolete. We are facing a paradigm, a psychic social state that can be seen and must be felt.

Anja Franke

Year: 2020
Materials: Photography, mirror, concrete, ceramic (Leca) and printed matter
Dimensions: L: 2.5m H: 2m D: 50 cm

ON LOCATION is a site-specific work, a staging of places / locations in Herlev.
Outside at the exhibition site is set up 1 photo, on a wall constructed of Leca foundation blocks and mirrors. In addition, a printed matter, which represents a fictitious walk in Herlev with photo and dialogue between Anja Franke and Kaj Aage Drafenharden.
- I stage reality and fantasy, which are experienced within the same time period, when reality surpasses imagination. And explores the micro-local place, focusing on intimacy and the private narrative. A mental journey, into Herlev, as opposed to traveling the world, by Anja Franke

The sculpture ‘Earth Dog’, created over old faults, burned bricks from the local area, which can currently be experienced in front of the Nivaagaard Painting Collection. Citizens have been collecting bricks, and schoolchildren have been involved in an ongoing art course around the project.

‘Earth Dog’ revolves around Nivaa’s strong local story about the old producing brickwork, with the dog as a central figure in two intersecting personal stories: About the founder of Nivaagaard’s Painting Collection, Johannes Hage and his dog – and about the visual artist Anja Franke, who grew up with collected bricks in her backyard, and her dogs. The work is about the local, relationship, about losing, retrieving and returning home.

The main component of the work is old, defective bricks and bricks found in the forest, where children and adults from Nivaa digged the old materials from the soil around Nivaagaard Brick’s Ring Oven. Subsequently, the 5th classes from Nivaa School over the autumn have been involved in a continuous art course around the project ‘Earth Dog’ and have created, among other things, small clay-hunting dogs, which are also included in the sculpture.

Involving exhibition project focusing on change processes on a personal, micro-political level as well as on a global macro-political level. The background for the project is a 10 days hike in the mountains of Spain. I use the walk as a mental recognition method, where I move into the uncertain to map and search for new routes and to open up alternative thought patterns.

In Astrid Noack’s Atelier, which served as Astrid Noack’s modest workspace and private home in the period 1936-50, I set up a sewing room where audiences can transform old brought shirts into a walking dress identical to the one I wore during my mountain walk. By reactivating the room’s original workshop function and ‘decorating’ it with poetic pictorial elements such as watercolors of palms that I have memorized from my walk – palms slowly draining for blue color – the present and the past, the private and the public, the mental and the bodily. Through the creative transformation process, in which a used garment is slowly transformed into a new one, I point with an `Accuracy aesthetics` indirectly to the necessary change we all on the planet have to imagine if we and the globe are to survive in the long term. Like me, looking for answers to questions that do not have easy answers, audiences are encouraged to try new ways of working and to consider and discuss urgent topics such as value creation, climate, shared responsibility and alternative solutions.

In RUNNING OUT OF BLUE, my private narrative and everyday thoughts about art, everyday life, climate change and accuracy are thus combined with a larger global perspective on our common future on the planet. At the same time, the exhibition creates a common social space where the audience is mobilized as active with creators and co-interpreters. The audience can bring their own used shirts, which, as directed by me, can be stitched into their own ‘sustainable’ walking dress.

The exhibition is supported by the Danish Art Council.

Tip Top Herretøjsmagasin (Tip Top Men’s Clothing Shop), was my grandfather Carl Jensen’s business, located in Møllergade 6, Svendborg. Here, he sold men’s clothes from 1933-49. He died in 1949. My mother was 16 years old. Later she moved to Copenhagen and graduated as a tailor and designer. My mother Pia Franke Hedegaard passed away in 2006. In the aftermath of her death, I took a variety of materials from her workshop studio.

This new artwork consists of two parts, which were installed in Svendborg: SAK- kunstbygning (SAK art building) and the Louis Nielsen boutique on Møllergade 6. This part of the work consists of my mother’s curtains, with a print of my grandfather’s shop window Tip Top from Møllergade 6. The illustration above is from an ad in Svendborg’s local newspaper, circa 1943. The second part of the work is seen in the SAK Art Building, which here consists of the same image of my grandfather’s shop window, printed on Plexiglas. Behind the plexiglas lies on the floor textiles from my mother’s sister’s room. Out of fabrics I have drawn and sewn a new collection, to myself.

Essentially, the work is about loss, sadness and transformation.  It is about how I can better understand my mother’s grief when she lost her father or when I lost my mother. Care is a persistent feeling that creates great change when you are ready to seize it.

Title of work: TIP TOP

Shown at Svendborg: SAK- kunstbygning (SAK art building) and Louis Nielsen boutique Mølergade 6, Svendborg.

Materials: Plexiglas, textile, metal, and image-printed mirror.

Year: 2018.