Curated by Joan Davidow
The wonder of order
by Heidi Hadassah Laura
Unstructured, the world presents itself to us as mystery and maze; unpredictable, enticing and uncontrollable. We are all born into this magical world and gradually learn to perceive it as orderly, patterned and knowable. We learn to apply structure and to order and control the world and our lives through structure. Establishing maximum order is a truly modern project: The sharp light of science and philosophy has probed ever deeper and further into the elemens that make up the world, asking ever more refined questions about its parts, its principles, its manner of assemblage.
The very word ‘structure’ came into use in the 15th century when architecture and art strove for new order, and as the world grew modern, we adopted the double vision of modernity: perceiving both the parts and patterns and the whole. We left the Wunderkammer of the old world, where beauty was in the very mysteriousness of the object, and have never stopped the painstaking work of analysing and taking the world apart into its constituent elements. Languages, materials, societies were all shown to posses structures that determine function and action. Homes and social life and books and dresses, the most basic daily stuff, are all structures.
“Structured” offers four different ways of reenchanting the concept of structure and exploring the wonder of order. When Anne Damgaard deconstructs dresses into graceful abstractions, she is not just inviting us to rediscover the beautiful weirdness of clothes – sculptures we wear on the body – but also transcending the very limitations of structure. Each work is composed of strictly geometrical forms, and yet attain an organic quality as light and shadow play with these forms. Just as language utilises an always limited inventory of sounds to produce infinite meaning and even reinvent language, the very strictness of structure here transforms itself into hitherto unseen wonders.
‘Dress’ is a format open to endless variation, and so is ‘home’. Zsofia Schweger strips down home to its most minimalist, yet immediately recognisable form. Devoid of life, we see the idea of home, anybody’s and nobody’s home. Home is a structure designed for life; take away that life, and the structure still resounds with it. The absence of life in Schweger’s calm, abstracted homes accentuates what home is all about. Strangely, the structures themselves seems to take on life; the furniture goes about its business in homes empty of humans.
Richard Tuschman recreates another abstracted form of home into lifelike yet sligthly apparitional scenes. The format ‘home’ has been shrunk into the tiny form of a dollhouse – an imitation of home – and populated with scenes imitating wellknown images of American art. Tuschman’s works inhabit a misty sphere of collective memory. Baroque Stillleben meets echoes of early photography meets default humans meets dollhouse home. Taking in the scenery, we may feel estranged by the very familiarity of these unreal collages.
Danish Arts Foundation
Johannes Jensen og Helle Mau Jensens Foundation
Elizabeth van Vleck