Christine Overvad Hansen at Gether Contemporary

Artist: Christine Overvad Hansen

Exhibition title: Punch Bowl Portal

Venue: Gether Contemporary, Copenhagen, Denmark

Date: November 23 – December 21, 2018

Photography: David Stjernholm / all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Gether Contemporary, Copenhagen

An elegant tub, filled with a clear, undefineable fluid, draws me into the exhibition. On the walls opposite each other hangs two round, slightly concave aluminum mirrors. Their uneven mirrorings capture me in space along with the sculptures. Further into the exhibition is a large serving spoon of white porcelain, the inside of which is coated with a layer of lead. It tempts me to pour from the tub and drink of the pol-ished cups, cast in nickel silver, which are placed around the space. I imagine the cold metal against my lips, guessing the taste of the tub’s content, the fluid’s influence on my body.

Nickel silver can with its very high content of nickel, like lead, penetrate through the skin and with prolonged contact, affect and poison the human body. Through daily contact, the metals will slowly ac-cumulate in the body and result in unintentional poisoning. Punch Bowl Portal revolves around poison-ing. The poisoning our surroundings, materials as well as humans can cause us. Just like in the tale of Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius (about 99-55 BC) and his beloved Lucilia, which Christine Over-vad Hansen subtilly hints to in the exhibition. In desire to reinforce Lucretius’s love, she gave him a love potion – but she did not produce it correctly and Lucillia’s potion instead made Lucretius insane. A mad-ness which drove him to suicide.

A number of faceless masks hang on the wall, only a slight opening where the mouth is suggests a recognizable feature. Like the other objects, the masks are cast in aluminum, lead and nickel silver and, as a bodily shell, they unredeemed seek to be part of a body. But their physical design has shifted from human proportions, and rather leaves me with a claustrophobic feeling, at the thought of being blinded by the narrow confines of the mask.

Each object in the exhibition, in turn, contains the narrative of a poisoned body and about unintended meetings between bodies and the foreign lives of metals. For like a mask, metals can also take resi-dence in our body and become part of our organism – become part of a larger circuit of cell formations, regenerations and exchanges with other materials inwhich we constantly exist. Punch Bowl Portal un-folds a story of material investigation, ranging from relational exchanges between bodies and objects to dwelling on poisoned relationships and the unintended evil that we can cause each other.

Body and sculpture as well as materials and performative gestures often fuse in Christine Overvad Hansen’s practice. Here the boundary of where the sculpture starts and where a body takes its place expels. Christine Overvad Hansen’s works are instead filled by a sensible presence and bodily commit-ment, where objects can become subjects and my body can become yours.

Text by Nanna Stjernholm

Christine Overvad Hansen (b.1988, Denmark) lives and works in Copenhagen. In 2016 she graduated from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. Her work has been shown in exhibitions at, amongst others, Horsens Kunstmuseum (DK), Künstlerhaus Dortmund (DE) and Parallel Vienna (AT). In 2016 she received Horsens Kunstmuseum’s Art Prize, and is also represented in their collection.