Projects

Narratives of Desire

Kunsthallen Brandts, Odense, Jan 2006

Duration: 02.2006 - 05.2006
Location: Kunsthallen Brandts, Odense
Participants: 5
Visitors: people visiting the exhibition
Number of Events: 3
Additional Presentations: Arnhem Museum of Modern Art, Arnhem (02.06.2006 - 17.09.2006) Chabot Museum, Rotterdam (02.06.2011 - 17.09.2011)

Van Heeswijk was invited to take part in the 'Reality' series, a series of exhibitions curated by Maia Damianovic focusing on the current daily reality in different European cities undergoing rapid change, including Belgrade, Birmingham and Odense. In each city a local institution hosts the exhibition and commissions new work. The invitation letter Van Heeswijk received from Kunsthallen Brandts to take part in the exhibition 'Reality 10'55 Odense' read: 'I can inform you that Odense is a small city of 200,000 inhabitants with a very large ghetto-like area of immigrants and refugees. It is at the same time very idyllic because it is the city of fairytale poet Hans Christian Andersen.' This phrase made Van Heeswijk curious to find out about the relation between the two. Together with artist Marten Winters she re-read Hans Christian Andersen's stories, to see if they might have something to say about present conditions in Odense and Denmark, which at the time was in the throes of the 'Mohammed crisis', a series of cartoons about the prophet Mohammed that sparked anger around the world, along with the inept way the Danish government dealt with it.

In this light Hans Christian Andersen's story about the red shoes seemed especially relevant, as it depicts the difficult struggle between the desire for progress and the moral choices that come along with it. Winters and Van Heeswijk used the story as a starting point, looking for protagonists that reflected the changing reality of Odense. They portrayed storyteller Pia Sigmund, artist Ali Al-Harbi, hostess Huda Al-Kazwine and taxi driver Benny Busborg - how they express their desire for change, the moral choices they have to make and how they act upon them. These portraits were installed in different places in the Kunsthallen Brandts, along with an object representing the story, as well as a celebratory event, weaving a story of Odense's reality as it was experienced by the people through the exhibition. The presentations and celebratory events were later edited into the video portraits. All portraits came together as a group during the exhibition 'World Unlimited' at the Arnhem Museum of Modern Art, forming characters in a contemporary story of Odense's changing reality.

related blogposts

'Narratives of Desire' at Axel Lapp Projects

Feb 2008

'Narratives of Desire. Realities Odense' in Arnhem

Jun 2006


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