On a recent trip to Copenhagen, I stopped in at the Kunsthal Charlottenborg to see Camille Henrot’s exhibition, The Pale Fox. I was already taken with Henrot’s work – having seen and been a little thrilled by her film Grosse Fatigue in Venice at the Biennale last year – which also won her the Silver Lion.
The exhibition at Charlottenborg featured this film again – which I was happy to see in a more spacious and accommodating site than the crowded room in Venice in which I had first seen it.
For those who haven’t seen it, Grosse Fatigue is a novel approach to a videographic re-telling of the story of creation, which embraces and absorbs a myriad of cultural and anthropological perspectives. The images – largely drawn from her residency at the Smithsonian Institution – are set to a beat poem read by Akwetey Orraca-Tetteh, with music by Henrot’s partner, Joakim.
Alluding to the layering of historical narratives that a comprehensive creation story enfolds, the video imagery itself features constant layering and flipping between museological artefacts and graphic distillations of concepts.
Henrot’s work is thrilling because it pinpoints – with chaotic and loose precision – something of the strange, overlapping, and referential network of data, images, theory and narrative in which we find ourselves embedded.
The other room at Charlottenborg – an immersive oceanic blue which bathed the carpet and walls – was a three-dimensional installation counterpoint to the hydra of networks and connections alluded to in the film; collected and commissioned sculptures, images, objects, which speak to the strange attractions and conversations between distinct cultural tropes and ideas.
Henrot is an exciting artist whose oeuvre is surprisingly diverse – and stretches from ikebana (featured in her exhibition ‘Snake Grass’ here in Berlin at Schinkel Pavillon earlier this year) to sculpture, drawing to film. I find her perspective original and inspired.