Janne Schäfer and Kristine Agergaard (J&K) make works that investigate the mechanisms behind the cultural production of values, beliefs and identities. They work from the position that hierarchies between life forms such as humans, animals, plants, minerals, and objects are temporary constructions. The artists scrutinise a human-centric perspective of the world in order to offer the alternative view that non-human entities are conscious. Approaching matter as a time-storer, witness and storyteller, J&K create rich and provocative tableaus in which materials and objects are entry points into narratives that evoke non-linear time and reframe history—melding the ancient with the futuristic and the everyday with the mystical.
Central to J&K’s new commission is the notion of time-travel. This method of artistic research was used to look 50 years back to 1968 when SPACE was founded, and 50 years forward to 2068. Artists that were involved with the organisation at its beginnings, as well as current and past SPACE studio artists, met with J&K in-person to partake in conversations and guided time-travel meditation sessions. Drawing on the idea that sites hold data, the meetings were situated within early SPACE studios—both active buildings and departed locations—where manifestations of the past and future were envisioned and recorded. The artists carefully mined the time-travel experiences for objects, animals, colours, patterns, light and atmospheres, smells, sounds and architectural elements to create a 6-channel sound piece and a multifaceted installation. The resulting exhibition presents an abstracted narrative of the past and future in which SPACE is the shuttle for a time travel experiment and a conduit for projecting a future for the role of art.
Janne Schäfer (Germany) and Kristine Agergaard (Denmark) are an artist duo that have been working together under the name J&K since 1999. J&K have exhibited extensively in art institutions and public spaces in Europe, notably in Denmark and Germany, with solo presentations in selected prestigious museums, such as: National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen; Pergamonmuseum, Berlin; KUNSTEN Museum of Modern Art, Aalborg, and Overgaden Institute for Contemporary Art, Copenhagen. This will be their first solo exhibition in the UK.
The sound piece was composed and mixed by Jacob Kirkegaard in collaboration with J&K.
Time travel experiments were made with Thorbjørn S. Andersen, Mariana Bassani, Nicholas Brooks, Gina Buenfeld, Persilia Caton, Charlotte Cullinan, Karen Davies, Chris Dorley-Brown, Emma Douglas, Fiona Furness, Cecilie Gravesen, Anna Harding, Peihang Huang, Christine Jakobson, Mark Malloy, Hugh Mendes, James Moore, Nisha Nishikawa, Valentina Orrù, Jane Ostler, Mildred Rambaud, Julien Sebban, Graham Stevens, Fritz Stolberg, and Andrea Zucchini. Thanks to Erik Rehl, Peter Kennard and Cat Phillipps for hosting the sessions in their studios.
Warm acknowledgments to Hazel and Keith Albarn, Flick Allen, Chris Dorley-Brown, Adam Hart, Robin Klassnik, Bryan Kneale, Shirley Read, Michael Rhodes, Peter Sedgley, Graham Stevens and James Faure Walker for their insights into SPACE’s history and visions for the future.
This project is commissioned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of SPACE and is generously supported by The Danish Arts Foundation and the Danish Embassy.
J&K: The Making of The space consists of a circle that travels in time
Gina Buenfeld on The space consists of a circle that travels in time
The Future is a Collective Project with Suzanne Treister
Guided Time-travel Session with J&K
Guided Time-travel Session with J&K
SPACE’s 50th anniversary archive display