While they are happening, we hear an awful lot about war and disasters. But what long-term mark do they make – and can we rewrite history ourselves? That is what the exhibition Tomorrow’s Ghosts takes a long, hard look at.
The opening of Tomorrow’s Ghosts at Kunsten on 30 March marks the start of a unique collaboration.
It is the first major exhibition in a Danish museum of work by the Palestinian artist/director Larissa Sansour and the Danish writer/director/screenwriter Søren Lind.
Often we hear all about wars and disasters in the news while they are happening or just after they have finished. This exhibition casts a spotlight on the long-term effects of grief, trauma and loss and on how trauma is passed on from one generation to the next. But the exhibition also offers hope, reminding us that there is great beauty in the world.
Sculptures and two video works will conjure up a world that is both near and far. Making use of concepts from both documentary and the world of art, the two films are sublimely beautiful.
“It will be very exciting for us to see these works exhibited together for the first time, since each of us has a different approach to the issues of inherited trauma, memory and cultural DNA, which have been key themes in our work in recent years. With a cinematic, sculptural and musical approach, the works explore ideas about heritage and belonging – and how to negotiate national and personal identity in the wake of tragedy,” says Larissa Sansour.
The exhibition features two video works and a number of sculptures. The short sci-fi film In Vitro (2019) is about two scientists who, in the wake of an eco-disaster, have sought shelter in an underground area. They discuss the effects of memory, exile and nostalgia. With generous support from the Augustinus Foundation, Kunsten has just acquired this work for its collection.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to see Sansour and Lind’s latest film As If No Misfortune Had Occurred in the Night (2022). It mixes European musical tradition - in the shape of Gustav Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder – with a traditional Palestinian song. In the film, the Palestinian soprano Nour Darwish sings a single aria in a wrecked, ramshackle chapel.
The videos will be accompanied by bronze ammunition sculptures from the Archaeology in Absentia series (2016/17). The shape of the sculptures was inspired by a Russian, Cold War atom bomb. Each is engraved with the coordinates for a number of porcelain plates buried in Israel and Palestine.
“Tomorrow’s Ghosts cross-pollinates several genres and cultural references. In a limbo of past, present and future, archival footage, science fiction, and Eastern and Western music, real and fictional geographies clash. The works convey fragility, but also a sense of resilience, in which death meets hope. The war in Europe makes this exhibition even more relevant. In a thought provoking, yet aesthetic way, it highlights how stories are written, experienced, inherited and even rewritten. The work makes a huge impact on us,” says Claire Gould, Chief Curator at Kunsten
The exhibition is supported by the Augustinus Foundation and the Obel Family Foundation.
Larissa Sansour & Søren Lind – Tomorrow’s Ghosts runs from 30 March to 20 August 2023.
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Photo: In Vitro (2019) Still image from film (2 channels, 28') © Larissa Sansour/Søren Lind