I am so glad to have had the chance to visit Aarhus during this year’s City of Culture Festival. It was such a good opportunity to see a great deal of site-specific artwork in a short space of time within a relatively small city.
The ambition of the work was impressive: in terms of the physical scale and spectacle of pieces like ‘Hesitation of Light’; the audacity of placing so much art outdoors along the coast – a difficult place for art because the seaside and coast are already replete with their own set of meanings; and in terms of using spaces like ‘O’ Space, which infused the immersive work shown there with the melancholy air of the old, redundant building in which it was housed. The way in which the artists involved in the Prokk project UP! realised their work also impressed me greatly: their thoughtful and subtle interventions shed new light on their city and enabled me, and I hope many others, to see Aarhus differently, and to know it better.
I am taking back much from my visit. As well as knowledge of many artists making site-specific work that I hadn’t come across before, I’ve come back with ideas for work that I might make and greater confidence that I might make more ambitious work. I’ve also come back with new friendships and acquaintances with artists working with concerns similar to my own – I hope we’ll be able to share thoughts and ideas.
I have already used material gathered from my visit in the city-based contemporary art practice course that I taught at Edinburgh University over the summer and I expect to bring more of this material into some teaching that I will be doing on a Edinburgh College of Art undergraduate elective in the autumn. I’m also hoping to go back to Aarhus in the early autumn to see UP! installed fully and to follow up some of the professional connections that I made in the summer.
Thanks A-N for your support. It has been really important to me.