G[r]AIN is a solidarity project conceived by internationally renowned artist Kirstine Roepstorff (b. 1972, lives in Fredericia, DK) in reaction to Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine.
When the war in Ukraine broke out, Roepstorff reached out to a number of fellow artists and cultural workers personally entangled in the dramatic international event, asking them to share with her their reflections and reactions in the form of a letter, a poem, or a piece of stream-of-consciousness writing. For every text received the artist erects columns made of grains of sand that, by binding together, represent a multitude of voices. In a procedural twist, as the project progresses, the physical accessibility to the space decreases, while the gallery morphs into a growing number of “speech pillars”.
To amplify the shrinking space between the columns, the artist has involved two performers to interpret and choreograph each text as scores that trigger specific gestures. Their movements - scratches, impositions, alterations - further alter Roepstorff´s installation by causing the façades and surfaces of the columns to crumble over time, aided by changes in heat and humidity. Additional restrictions imposed on performers by the artist – sand shoes and extended arms as two examples – impact their actions, casting them as the narrative tools of the project.
Embracing volatile materials – language, sand, gestures – G[r]AIN gives form to shapeless acts that imitate within a conceptual space how we as society constantly reinvent control mechanisms that prevent us to achieve independence and autonomy. In Roepstorff´s ever-changing environment, such perpetuating systems of domination are visualised by enacting ways to break free.
In the face of the current atrocities, every word written to Roepstorff and passed onto us in our role as witnesses and silent viewers seeks to resist division and strengthen those cultural ties that are at the core of a healthy and dynamic global arts community.
Special thanks to performers Matilde Mørk and Mirko Guido, and sand sculptor Bruno MacDonald.
Born in Copenhagen in 1972, Roepstorff has met with international acclaim, not least as the artist representing Denmark at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017. Relevant solo exhibitions include* Excave Museum* at Haus Konstruktiv, Zürich (2019), Edicius & Lilith at Trapholt - museum of modern art, craft and design, Kolding (2018), Dried Dew Drops: Wunderkammer of Formlessness at Kunstmuseum Basel (Gegenwart), Basel (2010). Her works are included in important museum collections such as MoMA (New York), The National Museum (Oslo) and SMK – The National Gallery of Denmark (Copenhagen).
The opening of the project coincides with Art Week 2022 – a festival bridging the art scenes in Aarhus and Copenhagen together.
G[r]AIN is part of Kunsthal Aarhus´ new artist residency, reflecting the socio-political zeitgeist by contextualizing real-world events through challenges that arts institutions face today.
The project is presented under the experimental platform Kunsthal Aarhus Forum, which seeks to engage arts professionals and the larger public in diverse formats and reflections defying simple or flat categorization.