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STAY

STAY is a unique collaborative effort staged by The School of Sculpture Charlottenborg, Horsens Art Museum and the DISPLAY festival. In August of 2015 it gave rise to an exhibition at FÆNGSLET – The Prison Museum set up in the former Horsens State Penitentiary

Under the heading STAY, a total of eleven students from The School of Sculpture Charlottenborg presented their work at FÆNGSLET in Horsens from August to September of 2015. The exhibition was officially opened on Saturday 15 August during the 2015 DISPLAY festival, and ran at FÆNGSLET until Sunday 20 September.

The exhibition was realized thanks to the collaborative efforts of the DISPLAY festival, Horsens Art Museum, FÆNGSLET (The Prison Museum) and The School of Sculpture Charlottenborg. The sculptor and professor Martin Erik Andersen and curator Julie Horne Møller were main driving forces behind the project.

The eleven artists featured in the exhibition – Anna Moderato, Christine Overvad Hansen, Jens Hüls, Mathias & Mathias, Sebastian Hedevang, Bennedikte Bjerre, Dina Friemuth, Cecilie Skov, Anne Eckersberg and Sofie Kondrup – all created site-specific works which, each in their own distinctive way, entered into a dialogue with the unique setting offered by this former state penitentiary.

The STAY exhibition extended throughout a large area of FÆNGSLET: from a row of cells in the section previously reserved for biker gang members to the former gymnasium and onwards to the two prison yards.

A REPORT FROM THE OPENING OF STAY DURING THE DISPLAY FESTIVAL:

Many different approaches to art came into play as eleven students from the School of Sculpture transformed prison rooms and spaces into works, or interacted with the abandoned buildings that have now been transformed into a museum.

The larger rooms seemed to exert a particular fascination on the artists. The first thing to greet visitors was a fence: according to the artists, Mathias & Mathias, this work was inspired by the festival aesthetic where fences are a regular feature. Their work, Hegn, Horsens (Fence, Horsens) is more of an aesthetic marker than a functional fence, but our bodies recognise the symbolism, and we pass meekly through the narrow entrance. The question is whether this will continue to be true as the festival progresses and more alcohol is imbibed?

On the opening day itself, the former gymnasium was taken over by Bennedikte Bjerre, Dina Friemuth, Cecilie Skov, Anne Eckersberg and Sofie Kondrup: each artist had developed their own dogma or intervention scheme under the common heading Feng shui. Their works were unpacked and co-created on-site from one to six o’clock in the afternoon. They were then left on display for an hour, after which point they were taken down again and packed up.

Once the remains of the Feng shui works had gone, the gymnasium was taken over by Sebastian Hedevang and Jack Heard. Their installation Maumaus Finalist Exhibition staged an abandoned, but unused, picnic arrangement by means of red foam balls. 
Compared to the aforementioned works, the treatment of the two prison yards was very subtle.

The first of the yards was home to Jens Hüls’s work Emotional pain: a very brightly orange basketball basket, slightly enlarged and placed at an unnatural height. It served to emphasize the pared-back and decaying quality of the setting, but at the same time it symbolised the sense of lightness and joy associated with playing games – laced with something unattainable due to the basket’s elevated position.

In the next yard Anna Moderato created a racing track out of concrete. The title of the work is a quote: “to the prevalence of which rotatory motion is perhaps to be attributed the giddiness and false steps". The track was very narrow, but could be stepped upon with care. During the opening, Anna carried out a performance with a friend. The two protagonists were shown walking in separate directions; when their paths met, they exchanged an apple and an orange. They then went on to go their separate ways. An encounter full of beauty and of sadness. It brings to mind the closed-off, restraining prison space where all human encounters took place under strict control and supervision. However, the exchange may also prompt thoughts of the exchange of illegal drugs and other contraband; a daily occurrence in prisons.

Up in the hallway formerly reserved for biker gang members, three cells were taken over by Christine Overvad Hansen. With her installations Pendul-maskine Pin-upAmature (posture perfect) Synch and Fountain she addressed, processed and gave voice to the claustrophobic, dilapidated cell spaces.