Crossing the Line: Contemporary Art from Denmark
November 5–December 11, 2016
Jeannette Ehlers and Patricia Kaersenhout, Søren Thilo Funder, Jens Haaning, Maj Hasager, Tina Helen,
Stine Marie Jacobsen, Jane Jin Kaisen, and Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen
Critical Distance is pleased to present Crossing the Line, a timely and provocative survey of contemporary Danish art curated by Earl Miller. Recognizing the transnational nature of much recent art from Denmark, the exhibition asks: Can a nation define itself culturally by looking beyond its traditional borders?
Often boldly political, the work of the nine featured emerging and established artists considers cultural hegemonies, the nation state in a global framework, post-colonialism, nomadism, and the Syrian refugee crisis. Through performance, photography, video, sculpture, and sound, Jeannette Ehlers and Patricia Kaersenhout, Søren Thilo Funder, Jens Haaning, Maj Hasager, Tina Helen, Stine Marie Jacobsen, Jane Jin Kaisen, and Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen reveal migrant patterns and alter them in unexpected ways. Challenging traditional gender, racial, and national divides, the artists often reverse roles: women become men; black men become white; tourists become locals; locals become tourists. Ultimately, Crossing the Line examines the response of one country’s artists to questions of international import. For many Canadians, the exhibition will serve as an introduction to the vibrant contemporary art scene in Denmark. In turn, for several of the artists, Crossing the Line will be the first exhibition to feature their work in North America.
Crossing the Line will be accompanied by a catalogue with curatorial essay by Earl Miller and Q+As with all of the artists in the show, as well as full photo documentation of the exhibition. CDCC will also debut a limited edition print by Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen.
On view November 5–December 11, 2016
Opening reception, performance, and screening: Saturday, November 5th from 6–10 pm
Please join us for a very special opening reception with curator Earl Miller and artist Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen, who will be here from Denmark to perform Afghan Hound. Immediately following the performance, we will screen Maj Hasager’s one-hour video work, Decembers—a round table conversation (2012).
Schedule of opening night events
Reception in the gallery (Suite 302): 6–8:15 pm
Performance in Suite 101 (Small World theatre) by Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen: 8:30–8:50 pm
followed by screening of video by Maj Hasager: 9–10 pm
Entire evening is free to attend–come and stay for any or all of the events. Seating for the performance and screening is limited, so arrive early for best chance and selection.
Critical Distance Centre for Curators (CDCC)
Suite 302, Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street, Toronto, ON M6J 2W5
See Google map of location
About the Artists
Jeannette Ehlers creates cinematic universes that delve into ethnicity and identity inspired by her own Danish/Caribbean heritage. Selected exhibition venues include Museo Del Barrio, NY; Parisian Laundry, Mtl; Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul; and Dak’Art, Dakar.
Patricia Kaersenhout investigates her Surinamese heritage in relation to her upbringing in Western Europe. She has taught global art and social practice at de Kooning Academy and lectures at Decolonial Summer School in Middelburg.
Søren Thilo Funder employs cinematic narratives and video to generate new spaces for counter-memory. He has participated in international residencies, exhibitions, and biennials including Sydney, Istanbul, Moscow, and Liverpool.
Jens Haaning’s work addresses the issue of racism in Scandinavian society. He has exhibited extensively, including at Documenta XI, the Istanbul Biennial, ICA London; de Appel, the Gwangju Biennale, and Apexart.
Tina Helen engages with questions of urban politics and power structures. Past projects include workshops and outreach in Zagreb, Kabul, and Cairo. She is also a co-creator of visAvis, a magazine on asylum and migration.
Maj Hasager examines how identity, memory, and the construction of history and architecture are interpreted and represented culturally and spatially. She has exhibited widely and is programme director of Critical and Pedagogical Studies at Malmö Art Academy.
Stine Marie Jacobsen uses art to enable civic engagement within communities. She has participated in international residencies including in Bogotá and Berlin, a city where she also collaborates with Gangway, a street work organization.
Jane Jin Kaisen draws upon her experience as a transnational adoptee to engage charged histories and legacies of race, gender, class, and identity. She has exhibited widely including at Videonale, Kyoto Arts Center, and the DePaul Art Museum.
Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen takes a humorous yet critical approach to addressing her own art historical heritage and the place of women in art history in general. Selected exhibitions include the Venice Biennale, Performa09, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Busan Biennial.
Full bios and artist profiles to come soon.
About the Curator
Earl Miller is an independent curator and art writer based in Toronto. He has curated exhibitions for institutions such as Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs (NY), Yukon Art Centre (Whitehorse), Doris McCarthy Gallery (Toronto), and the Art Gallery of York University. He has written essays for venues including the National Museum of Fine Arts, Cluj-Napica (Romania) and the Art Gallery of Hamilton, as well as publications such as Art in America, Canadian Art, and Flash Art. Miller is a member of the International Association of Art Critics, through which he presented a paper at AICA-Korea’s International Congress in Seoul in 2014.
Critical Distance is grateful to the Danish Arts Foundation for their generous support for this exhibition.
Additional support is provided by Dunn House B&B in Parkdale: www.dunnhousebnb.com
image: Jeannette Ehlers and Patricia Kaersenhout, The Image of Me (video still), 2012
Please join us for the following exhibiton-related events. Click below for more info.
Drop in anytime from 12–5 pm on Sunday, November 27th for refreshments and casual conversation with art critic and exhibition curator Earl Miller, who will be at the space to answer questions about his research and curatorial process.
Date and time
Sunday, November 27, 2016 from 12—5 pm
Critical Distance Centre for Curators
180 Shaw Street, Suite 302
Artscape Youngplace, Toronto, ON M6J 2W5
See Google map of location
This panel discussion will consider the different methodologies employed by local independent curators seeking to facilitate cross-national and cross-continental art projects. Reflecting on the conditions and challenges posed by the existing Canadian art system in engaging with global contexts, panelists Earl Miller, Xenia Benivolski, and Yan Wu (joining us remotely from China, appropriately enough) will discuss curatorial practice as a vehicle for international exchange. Financial, social and cultural issues involved in working in a range of venues will be addressed as well.
Tuesday, December 13, 2016 from 5–7 pm
Studio 109 (1st floor)
180 Shaw Street, Toronto, ON M6J 2W5
click for Google map
Event is PWYC. Light refreshments will be served and all are welcome.
About the panelists
Earl Miller is an independent curator and art writer. He has curated exhibitions for institutions such as Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs (NY), Yukon Art Centre (Whitehorse), Doris McCarthy Gallery (Toronto), and the Art Gallery of York University. He has written essays for venues including the National Museum of Fine Arts, Cluj-Napica (Romania) and the Art Gallery of Hamilton, as well as publications such as Art in America, Canadian Art, and Flash Art. Miller is a member of the International Association of Art Critics, through which he presented a paper at AICA-Korea’s International Congress in Seoul in 2014.
Xenia Benivolski is a writer and artist living and working in Toronto.
Yan Wu is a Shanghai-born, Toronto-based curator who has collaborated with organizations including Gendai Gallery and Art Metropole (Toronto), Blackwood Gallery (Mississauga), Gallery 101 (Ottawa), and Modern Fuel (Kingston). In 2013, she co-curated the Canada Pavilion with Janine Marchessault at the 5th Bi-city Urbanism\Architecture Biennale in Shenzhen. Most recently, Wu curated a site-specific public art exhibition with Adrian Blackwell, James Carl, Nestor Kruger, and Yam Lau for the 2015 Shanghai Urban Space Art Season. Wu received her MVS in Curatorial Studies from the University of Toronto. As a translator, she recently completed the Chinese translation of Rosalind Krauss’s Passages in Modern Sculpture in collaboration with James Carl. Currently she is the Curator-in-Residence at the Art Museum at University of Toronto.