Art, discussion and social networking

One of my great pleasures is the meetings of our local network – we meet face to face, have something to eat and exchange news and help each other with whatever we can.

This month we tried something new – Artist Iben Hviid is a member and kindly extended an open invitation to come to Nysted where she’d show us the newly erected  IN SITU art celebrating Nysted’s anniversary – the town was issued with a trading charter in 1409.  Nysted is a charming town, with a good harbour and a bathing beach.

Six modern artists were invited to contribute to IN SITU, accommodation was arranged and they were meant to spend 6 weeks getting to know the town, then erecting pieces of art which reflected Nysted and its people.

The first one ‘Pest’ was a wooden hut with graffiti on the walls, a torn easy chair and what was meant to look like vomit on the floor and walls. There were 3 holes in one wall, behind this were t.v.s showing various films. One scene was of nude people and a blow-up doll, and the easy chair could be moved so that even little children could see the film…. It represents the decay of Nysted and its people.

The next exhibit was a grey rendered wall made of chipboard. This was for the display of citizen’s  comments on how to improve their town and environment. It was completely devoid of comments …

The next one was a series of rigid plastic sheets, in various shades of grey, set up in off-set frames. This represented the shades of light cast through the fishing nets in the harbour and also how the view was altered by these same nets being hung up to dry.

The next exhibit was a series of glass pictures, displayed in the window shops. I really liked those, maybe because they are a more familiar concept.

Then a set of windows greyed out to emphasise the lovely doors – that one was good, although I did not really understand the idea.

The final one was a play hut, all crazy angles with big canvas sails, a tv, recording facilities, stairs up to the top of the erection and the walls were made like crazy paving so the kids could use it as a climbing frame. It was made in collaboration with the local school kids to illustrate that there is nothing for young people in Nysted.

After we had looked at the exhibits and Iben had explained (because I was rather critical as to  the artistic contents of some of the pieces) that the importance of art is to arouse wonder and discussion, we went to the beach where most of the group had a dip, then round to Iben’s house. We sat on the terrace and talked and ate till quite late, it was a super evening.

The artists have achieved their goal of arousing discussion and getting new thoughts in people’s heads. There has been heated discussion in the local papers, and now in the national media – none of it favourable.

But it was a super evening and I hope we can arrange many more for the group now that Iben has taken the first initiative. I recommend that other groups try the experiment of using a summer evening to go and experience something different.