Annette Holdensen at Overgaden

Artist: Annette Holdensen

Exhibition title: Wild, Warm, and Cautious

Curated by: Ida Schyum

Venue: Overgaden, Copenhagen, Denmark

Date: April 2 – May 22, 2022

Photography: Mikkel Kaldal / all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Overgaden, Copenhagen

Note: Exhibition handout is available here

Thirty-five years after her participation in O—Overgaden’s opening exhibition in 1987, visual artist and weaver Annette Holdensen returns to the kunsthalle with a retrospective exhibition of textile works and sculptural wickerwork. For half a century, Holdensen has paved the way for the place of needlework in Danish visual art, and now that contemporary art’s weaving and textile experiments are in full bloom, the field’s pioneers seem more important than ever to remember.

With various entrance points into Holdensen’s oeuvre, O—Overgaden presents large, spatial hangings in the two columned halls that focus on the artist’s unique work with sculptural wickerwork and weaving. Holdensen’s artistic practice has set textiles and the woven image free by breaking with the two-dimensional and experimenting with organic materials. This is clearly seen in the exhibition’s swarm of Holdensen’s boat forms that hang from the ceiling, covered with eel skin, feathers, fabric remnants, and metal; in the textile sculptures Heksefrakker (Witches’ Coats) from 1983, a series of large, woven sculptures inspired by the clothing worn by widows; and in the monoliths of wickerworks created in the wake of the Chernobyl tragedy. At O—Overgaden, the works stand as monuments to our perishability or as caring cocoons that can shield the body during a time of collapse.

The exhibition continues in O—Overgaden’s surrounding area when, over the course of two months, Kulturpiloterne from Urbanplanen’s public housing areas will build woven caves for Øselsgade’s playground, inspired by Holdensen’s techniques and shapes, creating new spaces and activities for young people. In connection with the exhibition, the Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology will also release a publication with, among other things, Holdensen’s texts, written throughout her long life, about work, gender, and craftsmanship.

The exhibition is supported by the Frantz Hoffmann Memorial Scholarship, the Obel Family Foundation, the William Demant Foundation, the Lemvigh-Müller Foundation, Ernst and Vibeke Husman’s Foundation, and the National Bank of Denmark’s Anniversary Foundation of 1968.

The exhibition is curated by Ida Schyum.

Annette Holdensen (b. 1934, DK) has participated in a multitude of exhibitions in Denmark and abroad, just as she has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Art and Design in 1972, 1979, and 1987, at Vejle Art Museum in 1974, and at Esbjerg Art Museum in 1988. Through her lifelong work Holdensen has engaged with the three-dimensionality of the woven image and moved the technique of weaving into the sculptural sphere. She has a caring approach to the world and to the materials around her, but always with experimentation at the forefront.