For this edition of Bulletin, we are proud to announce Amalie Jakobsen’s new solo exhibition “Carrying Capacity” at Politiken’s Forhal in Copenhagen. The exhibition presents four new large-format sculptures one of which a 5,4-meter tall monumental work “Suffocating Air” is placed in the central square of Copenhagen, Rådhuspladsen. In fact, it is the first time that a Politikens’ Forhal exhibition extends out from the exhibition space and into the square. Also, it is the first time in over 10 years that a sculpture occupies a position in the square at all due to extensive building work relating to the metro of Copenhagen.
The exhibition deals with the catastrophic state of our current climate and the future prospect of man’s survival through new protein sources and exploring new worlds to seek refuge. The four sculptures each serve as indicators for man’s conditions now and in the future.
In this edition of Bulletin we’ll give you an in-depth introduction to “Carrying Capacity” by Amalie Jakobsen through video, interview and photo documentation from the show.
“Carrying Capacity” will be on view at Politiken’s Forhal until 15 August 2020.
I hope you’ll enjoy reading this edition of Gether Contemporary BULLETIN.
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Q & A WITH AMALIE JAKOBSEN
SG: You’ve just opened your solo exhibition “Carrying Capacity” at Politiken Forhal. Can you talk us through the concept of the show, which also adds a new political and environmental thematic to your work?
AJ: With this exhibition ‘Carrying Capacity’ for Politikens Forhal I want to highlight an important topic, namely, human consumption of natural resources. It consists of three large-scale sculptures inside the Forhal and one 5,4 meters tall outdoor sculpture on City Hall Square (Rådhuspladsen) of Copenhagen. The title of the exhibition “Carrying Capacity” is an ecological term defining the maximum capacity of individuals or species a given ecosystem can provide for. It describes a balancing point before the collapse of an environment.
AJ: The exhibition concept can be defined as a ‘feedback loop’ system that combines four phenomena that are occurring due to climate change. The four phenomena are generally perceived independently of each other, but in this exhibition, they are juxtaposed and presented as related phenomena. They are: the extinction of diatoms (algae), the rise of asteroid mining, uninhabitable lands due to heat and new sources of protein.
These themes are present in each sculpture through a material that is painted onto the surfaces. For example, the first you encounter inside Politikens Forhal is the wavy sculpture “Heat Island” that looks like sand is moving over the exhibition floor. It is painted with soil from Jakobabad, Pakistan, which is one of the hottest cities in the world and is close to becoming uninhabitable for months of the year. To the right is a deep red sculpture “Protein”, which is painted with insect pigment made from carminic acid produced by insects. Other more important benefits from insects are as protein and fuel sources. According to a report by The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations insects can help reduce famine as insects can survive in harsh heat and other extreme weather conditions. At the back of the exhibition space is the black sculpture “Future Rock” that is painted with artificial meteor soil. The soil is produced by Deep Space Industries for NASA to develop the technology to mine asteroids and 3d print with the soil in outer space. Asteroid mining is the mining for precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum. Mining of asteroids is predicted to be a future resource of precious metals which we will need for various cooling systems and for the tech industry.
SG: The show consists of four large new sculptural works including one particularly monumental work placed outside the exhibition hall at City Hall Square of Copenhagen, Rådhuspladsen.
The work “Suffocating Air” stands 5,4 meters tall and marks the placement of the first sculptural work in the square for nearly 10 years following extensive construction work and the first work ever included in a Politiken’s Forhal show outside of the exhibition space. Can you tell us about the significance of this public work and why it was important to the extent your exhibition beyond the exhibition space?
AJ: The public sculpture “Suffocated Air” at City Hall Square draws attention to the air we breathe and what produces the oxygen. It is been painted with diatom (algae) power. Diatoms are central to the oxygen we breathe, as they are accountable for approx. 40% of the production of oxygen. Diatoms are at risk of extinction as the temperature rises, so does the temperature of the seas. Warmer water contains less oxygen and therefore fewer diatoms.
In the times of fake news, genuine content is more important than ever. Politiken represents one of the most trusted media outlets in Denmark and is a signifier for integral information to the public. With this as at the context for my exhibition I thought it is important to emphasize the relevance of climate change as a key issue. With Covid-19 having dramatically altered the cultural landscape, placing a sculpture in a public area where not only art enthusiasts can interact with the work, but rather any spectator whether intentional or accidental can engage with work, the work takes on a different role. The public space is ultimately a shared space and that definition has been forever changed. I wanted to explode the division between interior and exterior exhibition space to create a plural exhibition experience.
SG: You’ve recently completed a number of large scale public works. Can you tell us about the scalability of your works and how you compose and position your works to interrelate with their surroundings and the local public?
AJ: Space is for me more than volume, it is a complex of materials, multi-leveled realities, patterns, surfaces, bodies, forces and potential interactions to be experienced, examined and reflected upon.
For example, my early installations (2011 – 2015) were geometric forms in latex suspended by neodymium magnets. These installations were conceptually scalable and existed in their proportional relationship to the space they were installed in. By stretching lengths of latex horizontally, vertically, or diagonally at different scales and in varied configurations, I wanted to develop a series of installations that studied the phenomenological experience of space and volume.
Since then, my recent sculptures have had an intentional relationship with architecture and its surroundings. For example, the 6,3-meter tall sculpture in the central atrium of The immigration Centre in Næstved intersects with the various levels of the central atrium. It breaks with architecture to emphasize the structural framework that surrounds it and shapes the daily movements and patterns. In my art practice, I am occupied with the urban structures that define our behavior, and visual colour communication, which catches our attention through advertisements, signs, etc. I see it as the role of art to infiltrate these power structures. It interests me to see what happens when a particular colour and a specific form is introduced in a certain way; How is the room articulated? How are patterns of movement defined or altered? In what ways are the connections between those sculptures present shaped, enabled or prevented? Such questions inevitably have political, social and economic dimensions to them as they form how we act in society.
SG: Thank you