Photo credits: Niels Fabæk, Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalborg.
True to our grounded values, new expressions, constellations and spaces emerge from uniting the carpet material with established and upcoming artists from all over the world. From the very beginning of Ege Carpets, more than 80 years ago and in the spirit of founder Mads Eg Damgaard, the tension field between art and the commercial world has materialised in carpet installations expressing so much more than meets the eye. Quite simply, Damgaard was convinced that the industry and the artists needed one another.
The just opened Work it Out exhibition at Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg, Denmark, featuring 2 custom design carpets by renowned artists Mille Kalsmose and John Kørner and 1 nature imitating Epoca Moss carpet in the installation by Kenneth Balfelt Team // Johan August, is just another example of this.
Working life plays a significant role in modern society, for our culture, economy and identity. Terms like performance pressure, self-optimisation and adaptability have driven the social debate during the past decade and even creativity seems to be taken hostage by commercialisation and productivity. During the past year, Covid-19 has kick-started discussions relative to our working lives, zooming in on working from home, digital working life and the cohesive force in our society.
Featuring a vividly patterned carpet on floor and walls, guests are invited to get involved in the new installation by Mille Kalsmose, who has created her work specifically for Work it Out. A gentle meditative soundscape flows from the total installation’s bicoloured walls and the blood-red colour relates to the human body while the black grid recalls the digital network everyone has become part of.
The work directs focus at our dual existence in the physical and digital world, respectively. Viewers can take part by thinking about their life and which aspects of it they would repeat if given the opportunity. Reflections by the audience will, during the course of the exhibition, be held in the work’s physical archive housed in the two filing cabinets as well as being projected onto digital screens. Viewers step into a situation where they no longer just consider their own choices, but also those of others plus the contexts they enter. The work offers both a breathing space and a reflection zone, far removed from the pace of everyday life.
I use carpet on walls and floor to create an architectural space. When standing inside the installation, the grid of the carpet seems overwhelming, yet indicates a zone of reflection: How do you spend your time? What occupies your thoughts? And should you redirect your attention to somewhere else on the map?
The 2 large, semi-circular bronze filing cabinets can be seen as fairly permanent symbols of human reminiscence, memory and understanding in contrast to the fleeting quality and pace associated with screens. In her artistic practice, Kalsmose addresses communal activities, family relations and personal identity from a deeply personal conviction and experience, placing her experience in a more universal, person-to-person context. She uses historical narrative as an important tool to create meaning and cohesion, here drawing on ancient rituals and brand-new digital means to address some of the structures which bring about the excessive pace of our times, which can be difficult to keep up with.
In Kenneth Balfelt Team // Johan August’s new work, Meeting at Kunsten, meaningful meetings are the key issue – in terms of both setting and content. At the centre of the gallery space, they’ve created a meeting room with a difference: a functional meeting room in a relaxed setting. A calm environment has been created by bringing nature inside in a specially designed architectural expression, whose organic forms, nature sounds, plants and rocks resemble both a garden and a greenhouse for human growth. A plush, dark green Epoca Moss carpet creates a soft and comfy underlay while being an acoustic helper too.
In this quiet environment, users of the meeting-room – enterprises and public institutions, staff at Kunsten, visitors and others – may test out various formats for a meaningful meeting. The screens in the installation provide guidelines along with a published meeting guide.
Everyone is welcome to book the room and test the meeting format – or observe it from the outside when in use. Guests can also book a free meeting facilitator to guide them through the meeting format.
Who decides what constitutes news? Who produces the news? Art can be news, but can news be art? These are some of the questions raised by John Kørner in his new work created specifically for this exhibition. An artwork that performs a dual function of artistic installation and media news desk where visitors can be interviewed. Although the news desk is intended for journalists and media people – you’re welcome, when the artwork is ’empty’, to step inside the world of news journalists and start working. The workplace is yours.
’Breaking’ is such an interesting phenomenon. By transferring news bars from the digital media to the carpet featuring a motif of the Earth seen from the Moon, I take ownership of the news and what to communicate.
Kørner has addressed many kinds of socially relevant issues and approaches various segments of society as ’problems’, which he subjects to painterly analysis, often by using the colour ’Kørner yellow’. The artwork in this exhibition comprises an office with the headline Breaking written in bold on the wall. Media people can sit here and create narratives that we can read and listen to later. Is the exhibition breaking news? Can an exhibition about modern working life pull headlines? Will anyone rise to the bait? Kørner exposes power structures and stages problems via his art. The yellow and black universe encourages viewers and those working inside the artwork to be on their guard. Being constantly in a state of readiness; the next breaking news is just round the corner.
Can contemporary art help make us reflect on modern working life and perhaps even contribute to a rethinking of working life in the future? Can we solve the challenges and problems that seem to be part of modern working life? Might art and museums offer new perspectives? These are all exciting questions and maybe this article has helped you form an opinion about the topics. No matter what, I’m sure you’ll work it out.
Explore our carpet collections to make your floor stand out like a piece of art. If you feel inspired to create your own artistic custom design for your hospitality, office or other project, please do reach out to your local consultant – we can’t wait to hear from you!
Design inspiration delivered straight to you