Gudrun Hasle, Im hideng indart the ligt (2020). Installation view at Copenhagen Contemporary. Photo: David Stjernholm
Im hideng indart the ligt [EXTENDED]
On 10 October, Copenhagen Contemporary will be zooming in on imperfection when Gudrun Hasle takes over the art centre’s halls, her sincere and direct messages making us stop and reflect amid an existence governed by performance culture. Im hideng indart the ligt, it says on the exhibition wall in big yellow letters and these words are a precise embodiment of the duality of being able to hide in the light so long as the rays only illuminate the flawless sides – like when we post ‘polished’ images on the social media. Hasle leads the way by exposing her dyslexia and asking us to follow her example and be identified as the people we are, complete with our secret dreams, warts and all. Thus, Hasle is in direct line with the thinking underlying the current #MeToo wave, inspiring women to speak freely and honestly about difficult issues. Perhaps it is quite cool to be imperfect, after all.
Embroidered memories and truths
With the exhibition Im hideng indart the ligt, Gudrun Hasle explores how we live and are formed as human beings through the experiences and challenges doled out by life. The exhibition features a broad selection of Hasle’s textile works, inviting us to explore the many embroidered narratives often springing from Hasle’s own experiences. Wishing to be, at once, visible and hidden, Hasle makes us confront feelings of being inadequate and not always able to meet the expectations placed on us by society, others, and ourselves.
Embroidery as a craft presents a stark contrast to present-day calls for efficiency and is a nod to those women who were tied to their homes – those who fought for winds of change.
The body remembers
Over the years, Hasle has created a series of textile ’body maps’; a kind of 1:1 mapping of bodily memories. Blood vessels, organs, and embroidered sentences are sewn on to the bodies, attesting to human life. Through the embroidered works featuring bodies, Hasle reflects on the scars that, for better or worse, mark our bodies. Thus, the body becomes a means of expressing the experiences gained by living our lives. The exhibition includes several new body maps in which aging, uncertainty, and unstoppable crying mark a waning faith in the body and motherhood experiences are relayed through the encounter of nimble children’s hands with the mother’s exposed body.
Words disclosing vulnerability
A recurrent element in Hasle’s works is her textual language, which has become a hallmark of her art. Hasle is dyslexic and, in her works, she spells the words as she senses them. As readers, we appreciate the struggle experienced by dyslexic people having to spell their way through texts by reading the words out loud to themselves. Hasle articulates, with humble vulnerability, things unsaid and tabooed. Using a needle and thread, she captures both human vulnerability and strength, illuminating personal narratives, emotions, and dreams in an explicit portrayal of existence.
Gudrun Hasle invites the audience to bring their innermost thoughts into the light in the collective dream work sol af drømme (sun of dreams). The work comprises more than five hundred painted Masonite sheets, exposing the ideas, emotions, and dreams shared by those taking part. sol af drømme is an opportunity to mirror ourselves in the many thoughts and ideas, thus reflecting on our lives while standing in the light.
About Gudrun Hasle
Gudrun Hasle (b.1979) was educated at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and at the Funen Art Academy, graduating in 2008. She uses as her media video, photography, performance, drawing, and not least embroidery. Textual language is central to her and has become a hallmark of her works. Gudrun Hasle’s exhibitions have been on display on several venues including: Politikens Forhal, Copenhagen (2019), Nuuk Kunstmuseum (2019), Galleri Tom Christoffersen, Copenhagen (2019), Horsens Kunstmuseum (2016), and Kunstmuseum Brandts, Odense (2015), Museet for Samtidskunst, Roskilde (2012) and Tranen, Gentofte (2011). Gudrun Hasle is represented in collections at Horsens Kunstmuseum, Statens Museum for Kunst and Det Nationale Fotomuseum.