Altså Stelae

"Like a stone or wooden slab", Copenhagen, Denmark - December 2017

A pop-up art exhibition featuring sculptures by artists Jeanette Hilig and Spacegirls (Cisse Bomholt and Elisabeth Gellein) in a newly renovated artist studio space. “Altså” is from the Danish language indirectly translated to “like”, “as in”, "therefore", “ergo" or used to accentuate the following word. “Stelae”, “stela”, or “stele” is used in mayan, Egyptian, Ancient Greek and Roman cultures to describe an upright sculpted stone, wooden slab, or an architectural surface of monumental size bearing a commemorative inscription or relief design. These loosely translatable and transitional terms as a metaphor for regional artists in a temporary exhibition experience conferring sculptural permanence.

Jeanette Hilig and Spacegirls create tactile abstractions through sculpture in conversation with architecture. Externally, Copenhagen’s inherit bauhaus inspired cityscape and the altering modernized developments influence society and in-turn the artists working amidst. The slightly altered interior structure of the interior studio space highlight the original construction with remaining exposed flooring, heating appliances, electrical piping, and freight entrance. The curatorial vision was to exhibit the aesthetic energy of conceptual installations in an industrial and minimal space with reflections of techniques found in visual culture. Internally, the raw interior also retains the original speckled black concrete and asphalt floors, factory style windows, and white-painted brick walls. Parallel windowing allows natural light to enter on either side of the ceilings roof. Large warehouse windows accent and loosely mirror the built wooden latticework structure creating a separate room.

Hilig’s four “extended painting” sculptures consisted of wood, plaster, and pigment lined a-screw in the main space. Challenging the traditional wall spectator nature, this experiential installation placement urges the visitor to performatively maneuver. Throughout the left-side of the room these pieces counteract the pillars that adopt the role of sculptures. Appearing as swiped, smeared, and spread concrete the plaster dyed with primarily muted pastel hues often exposing the base earth tones creating contrasting ideas of resilience and fragility. The artist acknowledges process, malleability, and properties of the medium by consciously revealing layers as well as allowing the built base wood planks to appear.

Also occupying the open space are site-specific works reminiscent of a celestial or planetary surface created by the artist duo Spacegirls whom are “working in the fields of art, architecture, and space exploration”. Leaning on the walls are two slabs with a grid pattern mimicking the raw architecture and its inconsistencies. These un-stabilizing slab works developed from the act of pouring concrete; they exemplify but conflict the firm, tall standing, shaft stelae form. Referencing the otherworldly, Spacegirls inhabit a separate room with two sole blue-hued circular orbs also composed of concrete. These forms displayed settled side up balancing on the inclined mound appearing to float or hover. Altså stelae exhibits sculptures by nordic female artists that create a parallel between the artistically intrinsic and contextually extrinsic forces.