The Artists’ Autumn Exhibition 2017

Less than a month ago, I have been lucky enough to be selected for The Artists’ Autumn Exhibition (KE17) to show ‘Carnival’ animation (which I made in 2015) at Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art in Copenhagen.

I was really excited to be selected, but at the same time I was being worried, because it turned out to be network for danish artists (or probably now – Denmark based artists). The application was in danish too, but I had the guts to fill it out and just replied everything in English. Luckily, everything went well; for the first time I was listened and they followed my instructions how to make an installation (although I submitted as a video piece and suggested to make it as projection).


‘Carnival’ installation view at Den Frie. Image courtesy @kunstnernesefteraarsudstilling

For KE17 exhibition from less than 500 only 36 artists were selected to show their works. In total, over 2000 works were submitted.
Everything happened so fast that it is still hard to digest what have happened. It wasn’t just an exhibition what this network gave me (us), all selected artists had a chance to participate in group crits and I went for one.
I felt very nervous as I wasn’t sure in which language it will be delivered, but it was agreed that my presentation and critique will be done in English, so I immediately felt relieved. However, I wasn’t able to participate while others were discussing their works.
My critique was so different from what I usually used to have while I did my BA in UK or what we are having here, on this course. I signed up with artist Maiken Bent  as I thought her work is quite interesting and I really enjoyed her playfulness. I think before the critique started she was already looking at artwork and preparing the feedback. When my time came I delivered my presentation; talked about my inspiration and the idea behind, also explained what animation means to me. I was stunned when she said that it doesn’t matter what is behind the work, because in the end we have this and we are looking at what we have. It wasn’t rude at all and I understood what she meant about, but nobody ever sad anything like this to me :)). She also pointed out that my animation seems ‘timeless’ as it doesn’t show age, time, where and when it was made. She knew that it doesn’t look like it was made by danish artists or is showing danish party (and it wasn’t), so she suggested to give some authenticity in the future; if I am using chairs I should draw and use danish design chairs. I just nodded to that, because to me it seemed like unnecessary detail, which can’t really matter. She also said that animation looks like it is very old, but having such a modern presentation makes it very interesting to watch. She thought I should take more contemporary approach regards the drawing style. I immediately felt defensive as I made this animation 2 years ago and I wanted to make this party, which is presented as illustration. The idea was to use traditional media, but animation and projection gives a different feeling to it. Personally I was very happy with an outcome. Not when I made it, I was happy to see it alive at exhibition, and I was very pleased to see people standing in front of my work for 5, 10 or more minutes, talking about it, smiling and laughing. This experience made me enjoy and see the beauty of this very simple and repetitive animation. Although she said many good and positive things, but I only selected to mention that made feel vulnerable. I must admit, I feel very vulnerable about this type of work I make isn’t enough contemporary or doesn’t have authenticity. The feedback didn’t put me down, but I just couldn’t stop thinking how to improve my work or what can I do with it. Where do I stand? And what for?
This whole experience made me want not to use any backgrounds in my current project and explore more with installation, because it matters and it changes the whole presentation. It creates different experience.
Also, it made me think what is contemporary, because clearly I have no idea what I am doing :))