Gitte Villesen

It changed radically: grew fur again, lost it, developed scales, lost them (exhibition at Badischer Kunstverein)

  • With a contribution by
  • Beverly Buchanan
  • .
  • In collaboration with
  • Jennifer Burris and Park McArthur
  • Dental, Chiara Figone and Saidou Ndiaye
  • Joerg Franzbecker,
  • Emma Wolf-Haugh,

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Gitte Villesen
Gitte Villesen
Gitte Villesen
Gitte Villesen
"Deeply immersed in the content of a learning stone", 2016/2017 © bild_raum | Baumann
Gitte Villesen
"Deeply immersed in the content of a learning stone", 2016/2017 and Videopresentation, documenting the work by Beverly Buchanan © bild_raum | Baumann
Gitte Villesen
"Stage curtain”, 2019 Photographer bild_raum | Baumann
Gitte Villesen
"The Play, The Actor, The Improvisation", 2019 Photographer bild_raum | Baumann
Gitte Villesen
"The Flyers of Lucy & Suzanne", 2021 © bild_raum | Baumann
Gitte Villesen
Gitte Villesen and Joerg Franzbecker
Gitte Villesen
"It runs about like ants", 2014 © bild_raum | Baumann
Gitte Villesen
Gitte Villesen
"There is an Affinity", 2019 © bild_raum | Baumann
Gitte Villesen
Gitte Villesen
Gitte Villesen
  • With a contribution by
  • Beverly Buchanan
  • .
  • In collaboration with
  • Jennifer Burris and Park McArthur
  • Dental, Chiara Figone and Saidou Ndiaye
  • Joerg Franzbecker,
  • Emma Wolf-Haugh,

Text from the exhibition folder:
Badischer Kunstverein presents Gitte Villesen (*1965, DK) in a solo exhibition accompanied by a special programme of education and events. The exhibition focuses on current projects, including two new works produced for the Kunstverein.
Until a few years ago, Villesen developed her primarily filmic and photographic works as situational encounters with protagonists who are present not just through moving video footage, but also as important dialogue
partners. Exemplary of this approach are the films It runs about like ants (2015) and The Play, The Actor, The Improvisation (2019), a collaboration with Dental, Amadou Sarr and Saidou Ndiaye. Villesen’s practice of telling and re-telling as forms of manifold montages of the encountered, the staged, and the archival is continued in her recent projects, but extended through pervasive references to feminist science fiction (Ursula K. Le Guin, Octavia E. Butler und Suzette
Haden Elgin). The result is a polyphonic structure of the various exhibition contributions, which becomes the basis for a re-interrogation of the presented material through the education and events programme.
The video Deeply immersed in the content of a learning stone (2016/17) emerged from a collaborative exploration of the pubescent in contemporary crises of embodiment, and explores the transformation of physical and mental states. One of the retellings in this film is Ursula Le Guin’s ”The Word for World is Forest”. The extraterrestrial society described in the novel makes no distinction between waking and dreaming, for its members have trained themselves to dream consciously. The film alternates between fictional and real characters and images and states of consciousness. In the video installation
There is an Affinity (2019), Villesen traces representations of plants and their staging in the dioramas of the Botanical Museum in Berlin. She is interested in the drawings of the botanist R. H. Francé (1874–1943)
and their resultant network of visible and tangible relationships. In the video, for example, Francé’s drawing of greatly enlarged soil organisms is combined with a quotation from science fiction author Octavia Butler describing a protagonist taking her first walk on a spaceship that is part plant, part sentient being, and part
machine.
Another explicitly audiovisual affinity unfolds in the newly-produced video work that gives the exhibition its title: A ramble trough real and fictional landscapes tells the story of how languages are created and signals transmitted. The recordings point toward the fragility and sensitivity of such expressions, which also give rise to forms of self-empowerment; both are found in phenomena as diverse as mimosa or dyslexia.
Through references to the activist practices of the artists Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, The Flyers of Lucy and Suzanne (2021; together with Joerg Franzbecker) demonstrate how prevailing assumptions concerning eccentric, non-male persons can be deployed as the basis for conspiratorial practices: with intellectual subtlety and using artistic resources, the pair agitated – long undiscovered – against the German occupation of the Channel Island of Jersey during World War II.
Particular noteworthy are the works of artist Beverly Buchanan (1940–2015), who has accompanied Gitte Villesen’s artistic practice for several years and will also be present in the exhibition
The educational and events programme includes a science fiction workshop with the artist Emma Haugh and Gitte Villesen, as well as an event with Saidou Ndiaye, a playwright and founding member of the theatre group Kàddu Yaraax in Dakar, and Chiara Figone, founder of Archive Books (Berlin and Milan). Joerg Franzbecker and Gitte Villesen undertake a viewing of the material, which deepens the content alongside guided tours and an artist’s talk. Curator and writer Jennifer Burris and artist Park McArthur contribute a text about the work of Beverly Buchanan for the exhibition and give a talk in the programme.
Curated by Anja Casser

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