Artists: Ann Lislegaard, Arturs Virtmanis, Astrid Myntekær, Centre for Militant Futurology, Ferdinand Ahm Krag, Georg Jagunov, Honey Biba Beckerlee, Ivan Perard, Jakob Kudsk Steensen, Kristaps Epners, Lea Porsager, Ieva Balode, Marie Kølbæk Iversen, Mille Kalsmose, Sif Itona Westerberg, Victor Timofeev, Xeropolis
Exhibition title: Cosmic Existence
Venue: Den Frie Centre for Contemporary Art, Copenhagen, Denmark
Date: September 14 – October 27, 2019
Photography: David Stjernholm / all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and Den Frie Centre for Contemporary Art, Copenhagen
Shamanism, sound recordings from Saturn, neutrino particles and an earth ritual in the year 3019 are all phenomenon that are touched upon in the exhibition Cosmic Existence. Here the 17 artists are participating with works that in different ways are exploring the narrative about human life from a cosmic perspective.
The philosophical inspiration for the exhibition comes from Russian Cosmism, an avant-garde movement on the borderland between art, mysticism, science and activist speculation about the future. The father of Cosmism (and librarian at Moscow State Library) Nikolai Fedorov (b. 1829) considered the prime goal of humankind to be the achievement of universal immortality. This included an ethical duty to resurrect the dead, as well as the colonisation of outer space. This was a duty the Cosmists who came after him took seriously, and Fedorov’s mentee Konstantin Tsiolkovskij (b. 1857) is today seen a scientific pioneer of space travel.
However, Cosmic Existence, is not an exhibition about Russian Cosmism. Rather, the exhibition is inspired by the method of cosmism and its sense of unrestrained utopian speculation – especially its particular blend of hard-core science and spirituality. The cosmic perspective offers an expanded understanding of reality that can mirror our contemporary times. This approach is also closely connected to science fiction and its ability to think in radically alternative paradigms and expanded spheres of action. By linking contemporary art and science fiction the exhibition explores a wide range of scenarios for the future, giving us the opportunity to reinterpret the world anew.
The exhibition is accompanied by the publication Unexpected Encounters, a kaleidoscopic mix of theory, history, performative text, graphic novel, utopian speculation, and visual contributions by several of the artists participating in the exhibition. The publication is edited by post doc Kasper Opstrup and published by Antipyrine.
Ann Lislegaard, Arturs Virtmanis, Astrid Myntekær, Centre for Militant Futurology, Ferdinand Ahm Krag, Georg Jagunov, Honey Biba Beckerlee, Ivan Perard, Jakob Kudsk Steensen, Kristaps Epners, Lea Porsager, Ieva Balode, Marie Kølbæk Iversen, Mille Kalsmose, Sif Itona Westerberg, Victor Timofeev and Xeropolis.
A Transnational Collaboration
The exhibition Cosmic Existence is part of the transnational project Unexpected Encounters – Possible Futures, a collaboration between Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art in Copenhagen and the Latvian
Centre for Contemporary Art in Riga. It is a research and exhibition project that explores the relationship between science fiction, art and processes in society. Cosmic Existence in Copenhagen represents the first major manifestation of the project. The next iteration will be in Riga in December 2019.
The exhibition is supported by
The Danish Arts Foundation, Copenhagen Municipality, The Obel Family Foundation, The Danish Tennis Foundation, The William Demant Foundation, The Aage og Johanne Louis-Hansens Foundation, Lativa100 and The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia.