2622 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles,
Honor Fraser is pleased to present Shipsearching, a new installation by artist Mie Olise Kjærgaard.
Part of Olise´s ongoing project, A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks, which explores the artist´s own family history and experiences on the Island of Mors in relationship to characters from the fictional writings of Aksel Sandemose, Shipsearching explores the intertwined nature of truth and fiction, history and memory, and the personal and the collective.
Manifesting as a large-scale wooden structure installation that viewers will be able to enter, Shipsearching at first appears to be an abandoned edifice waiting to be rediscovered. Upon entry, viewers will encounter a video projection depicting a fluttering sail—speaking to the intimate and poetic experience of being onboard a ship during a journey, or of traveling and moving between places. The nostalgia of a remembered past is fueled by unfulfilled desires as the sail flutters in one location, never really moving. Functioning as a physical space of transit, the installation asks questions about our understanding of time, reminding us of its vanishing quality and of our personal attempts to reconstitute it.
The Shipsearching project begun in 2009. The project has taken many forms, from painting to built structures, to sound work, to film and photography. All of these forms capture aspects of a multivalent narrative, in which Olise herself acts as character, author and investigator. The layers of A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks present an ambiguous whole; it asks what is fiction and what is reality, where Olise’s own story begins and where that of her character ends. One point of entry is through the story of Danish writer Aksel Sandemose.
Sandemose created Espen Arnakke to figure in a number of his most well known novels. Himself a writer, Arnakke was born in the fictional town of Jante on the small island of Mors, and fled the community to travel to Newfoundland. In Sandemose’s 1933 novel A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks, Arnakke utters the “Law of Jante.” The ten laws encapsulate in negative terms a narrow-minded attitude towards individuality and which, for Arnakke, characterize his native community on Mors.
1. Don´t think you´re anything special.
2. Don´t think you´re as good as us.
3. Don´t think you´re smarter than us.
4. Don´t convince yourself that you´re better than us.
5. Don´t think you know more than us.
6. Don´t think you are more important than us.
7. Don´t think you are good at anything.
8. Don´t laugh at us.
9. Don´t think anyone cares about you.
10. Don´t think you can teach us anything.
Sandemose’s own story is closely connected to that of his characters’. He was also born on Mors, and he also left the island on a boat to Newfoundland. Like Sandemose, Olise grew up on Mors. During her childhood her father built a ship that he named after Sandemose’s character Espen Arnakke. The ship left the family’s hands when Olise was a teenager and its whereabouts remained unknown to her until 2009, when Olise started an investigation to track down its former owners and its current whereabouts. With her project A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks, Olise has followed two lines of investigation, two different tracks going out from the same harbor, the character Espen Arnakke and the ship Espen Arnakke.