What influences the behaviour of the viewer in the exhibition space? And with what techniques are we guided or controlled by the institution? These are some of the questions Jakob Emdal raises in his first solo exhibition in Denmark, in which he explores the ideologies behind modern exhibition design.
With a large wall installation that bisects the large back space on the first floor at Overgaden
, Jakob Emdal performs a spatial intervention that creates a displacement of the existing exhibition space. The wall marks a clear staging: The inside of the wall structure is revealed to the viewer, pictures hang from the ceiling in front of the wall, and the title plates are detached from their usual informative function and instead appear to be unique, delicate objects in themselves.
At an exhibition, everything from the colour of the walls to the font of the title plates is carefully composed and unconsciously affects the viewers experience. Emdal focuses on the details that usually go unnoticed as the exhibitions unremarked premise, and by over-exposing such elements as the wall and the frame, he blurs the usual distinction between artwork and display.
Alongside the highly-controlled exhibition design, however, a more personal track also runs through Jakob Emdals exhibition. Photographs documenting his everyday activities, such as setting the breakfast table, provide an informal contrast to the wall installation. Similarly, the framing of the photographs introduces a new materiality that identifies the staging itself as a basic premise.
The frames are made up of four different types of wood. Besides underlining a kind of realism by making the material context visible, the frames refer to the exhibitions lifetime, as the various types of wood will expand differently and eventually lose their overall shape, Jakob Emdal explains.
With inspiration drawn from, amongst others, the French exhibition architect Jean-Francois Bodin, Jakob Emdal breaks with the white cubes illusion of neutrality, and makes the exhibition itself visible as a constructed situation. Through this focus, he explores the fracture surface between the institutions authoritarian voice and the viewers subjective experience of the art space.
Jakob Emdal (b. 1982) studied at Städelschule, Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Frankfurt am Main and the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York 2005-09. Since then his solo exhibitions have included Somber Tones in Kunstverein Düsseldorfs project room Schaufenster in 2010, and Force Majeure in Frankfurt Presseamt, 2010. In 2011, Jakob Emdal was awarded a working scholarship by Hessische Kulturstiftung. He currently lives in Paris.