For this exhibition, Jakob Kolding will be proposing a scenography reminiscent of 19th century dioramas or the photomontages of the Théâtre Alfred Jarry, a small theatre that will fill all our exhibition spaces and be visible from outside, both as an installation and a public artwork. Several scaled up or down “standing” silhouettes will be grouped on this stage set, creating an interplay of juxtapositions and gaps. Each figure suggests a historical or anonymous person, illustrative of Jakob Kolding’s extended vocabulary of literary, philosophical, artistic or personal references, and encouraging a sociological, cultural and aesthetic interrogation of the use of space. While in his earlier works this critical research was more closely linked to the phenomena of the transformation of urban space and gentrification, Kolding has more recently approached different concepts of space in a broader, more open and ambivalent way, as areas where questions of identity are simultaneously complex, shifting and multiple.
Through a proven practice of collage, extended to the exhibition space, Kolding proposes dynamic confrontations drawn from a variety of sources, which upset conventional cultural hierarchies by remixing in a highly-advanced montage aesthetic, references as diverse as the paintings of Caravaggio, the architecture of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe or musicians such as Arthur Russell and LL Cool J. These collisions, operating between a form of cultural dominance and spontaneous, humorous resistance, give his collages a fast-moving, quasi-musical and choreographic rhythm.
Kolding’s more recent influences tend towards iconic figures of modern times. Found together on the CEC’s ephemeral “stage” therefore are: Virginia Woolf and Jorge Luis Borges, Yvonne Rainer, Carl Andre, Lygia Clark as well as a breakdancer, Édouard Manet, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Sigmund Freud and a cosmonaut. These lifelike doubles, caught in arrested motion, will invite the viewer in, who in turn will become a participant of this fiction, suddenly part of this strange “wonderland”.
From the street, this huge, dreamlike and imaginary collage will come to life: the gaps between the figures opening and closing as people pass by. Inside, the illusion will disappear, taking visitors behind the scenes to reveal another exhibition: a new series of collages, other mises en abîme and kaleidoscopic immersions.