'Window shopper' presented works by artists who all engage fashion as part of their artistic practice. In the week leading up to CHART 2019, the exhibition took place in some of the most characteristic fashion stores across Copenhagen exploring the mutual fascination and admiration between art and fashion.
The exhibition, developed in collaboration with CHART and artist Esben Weile Kjær, builds on the project titled 'Modeskolen' initiated by Hannah Heilmann, Associate Professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.
Window shopper explores the envy which people in the art world feel towards people in the fashion world. It is about Art putting on a ballgown, dancing the night away, turning into a pumpkin, and uttering its critique of capitalism as a love poem.
Today large fashion houses such as Trussardi, Fiorucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton all want to make stores that look like gallery and museum exhibitions, all the while having apparently forgotten the fact that the white cube of the modern art exhibition was actually attempting to imitate department stores, desiring their ability to abstract objects from their surroundings, making them portals into the viewer/shopper’s personal projections and desires.
Window shopper revolves around the economic distribution and artistic space of possibility, which we as artists imagine exist in the glamorous world of fashion stores. How an object in a fashion store may well be a copy of something else and still postulate being unique. How art is always trying so hard to figure out how to approach and be in closer proximity to the lived lives of people, while fashion has not even considered that there could be a difference between life and art. Because garments are made to be filled, they are always lacking a body and immediately embrace it when the two finally meet – they accept the body’s contagion, absorb its fragrance, make-up and rejected cells. The clothes in display windows, on the other hand, are still just promises of potential, future versions of yourself.
Written by Hannah Heilmann and Anna & Esben Weile Kjær
Marie Lea Lund
Receiving Mode, 2019
Window displays have the purpose of grabbing our attention but paradoxically, shopping is aimed at merely defining a social identity. Apart from this material world, the piece Receiving Mode wants to give attention to the further inner worlds. The piece in the window of the Ganni store embodies an act of turning towards stillness with oneself and allowing for inner growth. It acts as a manifestation to expand the space within and to listen deeply to the soul’s purpose. Lund’s practice is centred around alternative systems of fashion and its potential intersection with the history and practice of holistic care systems and their relations to the body, mind and spirit.
Marie Lea Lund (b. 1991, Denmark) is an interdisciplinary artist and fashion designer. She had her first solo show Clothes for Healing in 2019 at SANDY BROWN, Berlin, and recently her work has been shown at Courrèges and Balenciaga.
Ganni, Store Regnegade 12, 1110 – Copenhagen K
Meadow Mix, 2019
Hannah Heilmann works in the cross-field between classic and performative disciplines where the hierarchy between props, costumes, social exchange and finished artworks breaks down. Clothing, and the fashion store, are currently central motives in her artistic practice, as is the connection between the private body, the web of cultural capitals and consumer economies, and the pre-traumatic condition of the climate crisis. Heilmann’s installation in the windows of the Holly Golightly store builds on her research on the phenomenon of ‘modest fashion’, which covers multiple arbitrary and yet overlapping trends in recent year’s fashion. Notions of power, function, romance, luxury and humility intersect in the meeting between Heilmann’s eclectic mix of video, ceramics, dresses and crumbling archival material, and the legendary, eccentrically playful and luxurious Holly Golightly store.
Hannah Heilmann (b. 1978, Denmark) was co-director in the artist groups TOVES (2010-17) and Ingen Frygt (2001-10), and has had a wide range of performances, solo and group shows in Denmark and internationally.
Artist talk with Hannah Heilmann at Holly Golightly, Tuesday 27 August, 16:00 – 17:00
Holly Golightly, Borgergade 17B, 1300 Copenhagen K
Anna & Esben Weile Kjær
In 1947 the Danish surrealist Wilhelm Freddie created a large window display in the oldest department store in Denmark, Magasin Du Nord, titled Susanne i badet. Anna & Esben Weile Kjær’s present day intervention in the same location is inspired precisely by the work of Freddie and other surrealists intervening in commercial spaces with surrealist figuration. Weile Kjær’s works focus on the capitalisation of fantasy aesthetics and surreal fictions in the popular culture of recent decades.
They appropriate strategies from event culture’s grand scenery and productions. The artworks are flat as scenography or advertising signs, but create silhouettes and situations, which come to life in the window displays’ small bubbles of fiction. The artworks are the products of a narrative of exchange, demand, fantasy, dreams and desire.
Artist Esben Weile Kjær (b. 1992, Denmark) and curator and art historian Anna Weile Kjær (b. 1989, Denmark) have previously collaborated on projects such as the 2018 edition of the biennale Alt_Cph.
Magasin Du Nord, Kongens Nytorv 13, 1095 Copenhagen K
Rose Rot, 2019
Costumes by Tove Freed, sound by Sean Colum.
New Noveta’s practice combines elements including sound, props and costume design and production, installation building and live body action. Their works are often site-specific and never repeated. For Rose Rot the duo will embody the window of Mads Nørgaard – Copenhagen, continuing their exploration of anxiety and social conformity through ritualistic gestures and semi-choreographed patterns of movement and acceleration. The scene installed in the window prior to the performance with its heavy, sagging curtains and carnivorous plants will be actioned upon New Noveta’s arrival.
Keira Fox (UK) and Ellen Freed (SE) have collaborated as New Noveta since 2012, and exhibited extensively internationally since.
Rose Rot performance by New Noveta at Mads Nørgaard – Copenhagen, Thursday 29 August at 15:00
Mads Nørgaard – Copenhagen, Amagertorv 13 – 15, 1160 Copenhagen K
Ursula Reuter Christiansen
Annabell and Beatrice, 2019
Clothes – and especially dresses and furs – have occupied Ursula Reuter Christiansen for as long as she can remember and through the years they have played a central part in her performances and video works. For her clothes is not just something you wear. Clothes are history and identity. This is precisely the reason why she made weekly visits to Birger Christensen during her time as a professor at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in the 1990’s. Mostly as a window shopper, and once as an actual shopper. The fur coat which is now part of the installation, was bought at Birger Christensen and for many years both the extravagant fur and its price were kept a secret for both the artist’s family and close friends. In 2019 Birger Christensen celebrates their 150 year anniversary and bringing them together with Reuter Christiansen highlights both the brand and the artist’s equally iconic statuses in the Danish cultural scene.
Ursula Reuter Christiansen (b. 1943, Germany) has been a central figure on the Danish art scene since the 1970’s and continues to inspire with the landmark feminist agenda in her works.
Birger Christensen, Østergade 38, 1100 Copenhagen K