January 10, 2010 - Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art, National Museum of Denmark - TUPILAKOSAURUS: Pia Arke’s Issue with Art, Ethnicity, and Colonialism, 1981-2006
January 10, 2010

TUPILAKOSAURUS: Pia Arke’s Issue with Art, Ethnicity, and Colonialism, 1981-2006

TUPILAKOSAURUS: Pia Arke's Issue with Art, Ethnicity, and Colonialism, 1981-2006
8 January – 14 February, 2010

Film screening and discussion 23 January, 2010, 2-5 pm in The National Museum of Denmark

Seminar 6 – 7 February, 2010, 12-5 pm in Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art

Curated by Kuratorisk Aktion (Frederikke Hansen & Tone Olaf Nielsen) in collaboration with the Pia Arke Society

info [​at​] kuratorisk-aktion.org

www.denfrie.dk

www.natmus.dk

TUPILAKOSAURUS: Pia Arke’s Issue with Art, Ethnicity, and Colonialism, 1981-2006
With the death of Greenlandic-Danish artist Pia Arke (1958-2007), the Nordic region lost one of its few, perhaps primary, postcolonial practitioners. For two decades, Arke developed an innovative form of artistic research, with which she examined the Danish-Greenlandic colonial history that she as the daughter of a Greenlandic mother and a Danish father herself was a product of. The Nordic region did not seem ready to confront this history in Arke’s lifetime, for which reason her work did not receive the recognition it deserves. With the exhibition TUPILAKOSAURUS: Pia Arke’s Issue with Art, Ethnicity, and Colonialism, 1981-2006, the Danish curators’ collective Kuratorisk Aktion seeks to remedy this.

Scrutinizing those who scrutinize Greenland
Arke engaged the Danish-Greenlandic colonial history in a number of ways. In some works she examined Western conceptions of Greenland, scrutinizing those who scrutinize Greenland. In other works she returned to the places in Greenland, where she had lived as a child, and recovered stories and destinies that have been left out of official history books. And in others still she settled accounts with European notions of so-called primitive art and Eskimoic originality. Mocking the explorer, the anthropologist, and the cartographer she followed unacknowledged traces and poles of belonging. In retrospect, Arke’s artistic production unfolds as a persistent examination of the driving forces behind Denmark’s colonization of Greenland and its contemporary repression and repercussions in both countries.

An alternative retrospective in two venues
The first comprehensive survey of Arke’s work, TUPILAKOSAURUS features more than 70 photographs, paintings, videos, installations, and social projects alongside material from Arke’s extensive archive. In line with her showdowns with art, ethnicity, and colonialism, the works are presented in the institutions of the two disciplines she examined. The greater part of her works are displayed in Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art, while a smaller selection is curated into the permanent collections of Inuit cultural artifacts in the National Museum of Denmark. After Copenhagen, the exhibition travels to Katuaq and Greenland’s National Museum & Archives in Nuuk (March 5 – April 4, 2010) and to BildMuseet in Umeå, Sweden (June 6 – September 26, 2010).

Nine theme sections
Arke’s works are curated into nine theme sections with headings derived from her own production, such as Arctic Hysteria, Ethno-Aesthetics, and Fishing out skulls and bones. With the sections, Kuratorisk Aktion hopes to disseminate Arke’s work in a manner that simultaneously circumscribes her artistic project and keeps her methodology and field of investigation open for others to pick up the threads.

Pia Arke’s books republished in trilingual editions
As an essential part of the exhibition, both Arke’s Danish-language books, Ethno-Aesthetics (1995) and Stories from Scoresbysund (2003), are being republished in new trilingual editions (English, Greenlandic and Danish), whereby they have become accessible once more for a Danish readership and for the first time for a Greenlandic and international public.

Exhibition events
The exhibition is accompanied by a number of events. On February 6 – 7, from 12-5 pm, Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art hosts the international seminar “An Archive of Affected Anthropology: Locating the Arke-Typical in the Aesthetic Research of Pia Arke, 1981-2006″ (advance registration no later than February 5 at kl@denfrie.dk, admission: DKK 45 (adults), DKK 25 (students/pensioners)). On March 7, from 12-4 pm, Katuaq in Nuuk will host the meeting “Following in Pia Arke’s Footsteps? A Community Meeting about Contemporary Art’s Contribution to the New Greenland” (free admission).

Information
For further info, please contact Kuratorisk Auktion (info@kuratorisk-aktion.org, +45 20 93 50 86), Press coordinator Kit Leunbach (kl@denfrie.dk, +45 33 33 95 03), or Communications Coordinator Jesper Thomas Møller (jesper.thomas.moeller@natmus.dk, +45 33 13 44 11). Press photos can be downloaded from www.denfrie.dk or www.natmus.dk

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