press release

Homeless Souls
27 June – 22 September 2019

Taking up themes of exile and expatriation, the Louisiana over the summer is presenting a number of exceptional international artists, whose work speaks directly to our conflict-ridden times. Hailing from countries as diverse as Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Algeria and Kosovo, the artists work from their own stories and experiences, which they examine and treat in art that is both topical and timeless, universal and highly personal.

Homeless Souls brings together a dozen artistic voices from around the world for a conversation about exile as a political and existential reality. Presenting both personal and collective stories, the exhibition adds new perspectives to subjects like exile, demarcation, citizenship, cross-border movements, secret journeys and identity.

How are today’s great conflicts interpreted in the visual arts? How does art relate to the pain and suffering caused by war and persecution? What all the artists in this exhibition have in common is that they experiment with new visual strategies, poetic effects and artistic devices to take us closer to exile as a lived reality. In turn, they also point to art’s ability to provide new and different images of a reality that is brought to us daily through photojournalism and the media.

The media and devices in this exhibition range far and wide – from experimental documentaries to sculpture, painting and installation art. Meanwhile, across media and individual voices, the artists share a common cause: to use art as a space for examining and sharing historical events and personal traumas. As with all important art, the specificity of their work becomes a jumping-off point for universal recognitions. The artworks in Homeless Souls not only reflect the present day, they also touch on themes that point both ahead and back in time, connecting us to periods, places and destinies that are not our own.

“My aim is to make the invisible visible,” says the prominent Indian artist Nalini Malani (b. 1946), who is contributing a major work, All We Imagine as Light (2017), 11 conjoined panels forming a monument to the exile’s pain at losing their loved ones. Another participating artist, Hiwa K of Iraq (b. 1975), notes, “To remember, sometimes you need other archaeological tools.” In his video work Blind as the Mother Tongue (2017), the artist retraces the route he travelled as a child fleeing on foot from the Kurdistan region of Iraq. He walks the route while balancing a tall sculptural object on the bridge of his nose and his forehead, with attached rear- and front-view mirrors reflecting the landscape in a splintered perspective. As the artist puts it, “I might recover from this state of amnesia.”

The exhibiting artists are

Kader Attia (1970, France) Tiffany Chung (1969, Vietnam) Forensic Oceanography (Lorenzo Pezzani (1982, Italy) & Charles Heller (1981, US)) Shilpa Gupta (1976, India) Ramin Haerizadeh (1975, Iran), Rokni Haerizadeh (1978, Iran), Hesam Rahmanian (1980, US) Petrit Halilaj (1986, Kosovo) Hiwa K (1975, Iraq) Nalini Malani (1946. Born in Karachi, Pakistan) Otobong Nkanga (1974, Nigeria) Erkan Özgen (1971, Turkey) Lydia Ourahmane (1992, Algeria) Kara Walker (*1969, US)

Curator: The exhibition is curated by Louisiana curator Marie Laurberg. Louisiana Lectures: A series of lectures and film screenings will place the exhibited artwork in a broader societal and art-historical perspective.