Hesselholdt & Mejlvang – The Beautiful Act of Patriotism
Hesselholdt & Mejlvang presents their art at Danish Cultural Institute opening in India
When visiting DCI in Delhi, guests will notice a special adornment of one of the rooms. Flags colored in different nuances of skin tones line the walls, reminiscent of the many different ethnicities creating the shared culture of the world. The flags are not a statement cooked up by DCI though, it is a work of art, called “A Beautiful Act of Patriotism”, made by artist duo Hesselholdt & Mejlvang.
Focusing on perceptions of race, nationality, oppression and the like, the two artists pose questions about established (Western) symbolic language. They work with a wide variety of objects, with monochrome or near mono-chrome exhibitions as one of their trademarks.
Here you can read a bit of Hesselholdt & Mejlvang’s artist statement:
“We live in dark times and our work is fundamentally an engagement with this condition and its complex mix of politics and aesthetics. Onthe one hand, it expresses our discontent with the situation by exposing what we perceive to be significant dangers and evils of contemporary culture, from war and xenophobia to ignorance and fear. On the other hand, our work is the creation of images and objects that function as the means to articulate an expanded understanding and advanced critique of these malignant forces. Our focus is the familiar and intimate context of everyday life in 21st century Western society where the mythologies of welfare state security and consumer freedom are the grand narratives. Contrary to the common perception that this context represents the epitome of cultural progress – the overcoming of problems and the achievement of stability – from our point of view it is exactly in this context that the darkness is looming large. Like a virus, it spreads extensively and infects our mindset and behaviours. The effects in themselves are violent but what is equally disturbing is that the darkness has become such an integral part of our habitual settings that we hardly notice it, let alone react to it. This “normalised darkness” and its many guises of innocence are thus primary concerns for us.”
Photos: Iben Bach Elmstrøm