Henrik Olesen - Abandon the Parents


Henrik Olesen
Abandon the Parents

Works, Lists, Names, Image, Text, Sound,
from Private Collections, from Public Collections,
Originals, Copies, Forgeries

Curated by
Henrik Olesen
Daniel Buchholz
Christopher Müller

National Gallery of Denmark
Statens Museum for Kunst / x-rummet
23 May 2014 - 28 September 2014

The exhibition departs from the premise of an act of self-empowerment that may (or may not) happen in the life of an adolescent leaving e.g. his or her parents and looking for a new set of values. Under the headline Abandon the Parents, the show tries to frame a space that contextualizes artistic production and self-organization. Addressing the decisive moments in the construction of an identity, this exhibition brings together a lot of very diverse artists, voices and materials, not only visual artworks like sculptures and paintings and drawings, but also literature, letters and historical documents as well as more performative contributions like sound, music and films. These artistic proposals follow various narrative threads around the process of departure: from family, institutions, and prison to cabin fever, landscape, adventure, trompe l'oeil, sexuality, and portraiture.

An abundance of paintings, drawings, photographs, videos, books, words, and sounds fill the x-rummet venue, establishing surprising connections and creating new narratives. The rich and complex accumulation of objects explores and interprets the process of emancipation and independence that may - or may not - happen in the life of an andolescent leaving his or her parents to seek out new values.


The Danish artist Henrik Olesen has invited two long-term collaborators, friends, and gallerists - Daniel Buchholz and Christopher Müller - to join him in curating the exhibition. Here, they present an overwhelming collection of paintings, books, photographs, videos, sounds, and drawings created by Ariane Müller, Judith Hopf, Lutz Bacher, Lukas Duwenhögger, Heike-Karin Föll, Jean Genet, Richard Hawkins, Pierre Klossoswski, Nora Schultz, Dieter Roth, Zoe Leonard, Danh Vo, Lili Elbe, Arthur Köpcke, Kristian Zarthman, Wolfgang Tillmans, Hannah Hoech, Henriette Heise, Gerry Bibby, Albert Mertz and Galerie Krise from Berlin.

The exhibition presents a collection of approximately 250 objects, together creating new meaning and significance by entering into alternative connections. The exhibition acts as a single, vast collage that offers one possible take on the process of identity-building that we all experience in our lives. Abandon the Parents explores the borderland that all human beings occupy when we leave behind the familiar - our "parents" - to venture out into unknown territory in search of our identity.

The combination of works presented here springs from the three curators' personal process of exploration - they have selected works, stories, and artists in which they frame a space that contextualizes artistic production and self-organization. Adressing the decisive moments in the construction of an identity. The exhibition presents three interwoven homosexual autobiographies, but it also points to the mechanisms, desires, and intuitions that serve as the building blocks for our identities as human beings.
Many of the artists featured in the exhibition have served as important guiding lights for Olesen's own artistic endeavours. They are role models and sources of inspiration that have shaped his artistic work and his search for his own identity.

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