Ex Situ. Samples of Lifeforms
Group Show of Contemporary Artists:
A Kassen, Martin Erik Andersen, Alan Bogana, Roni Horn, Lauren Huret, Dominique Koch, Lena Maria Thüring, Hannah Weinberger, Pedro Wirz (among others)
Ex Situ is an international group exhibition of artists and artworks dealing with changing conditions and forms of life on planet Earth. At a time of accelerating transformations in global ecosystems, humans and other animals lose and leave their natural habitat. The exhibition reflects this unruly state of affairs of migrating species trying to adapt to a new world where nature, culture and technology are inextricably entangled and enmeshed.
The expression ‘ex situ’ means ‘off-site’ or ‘out of place’. It is used by conservation biologists for the preservation of fauna and flora in manmade environments. The show sets out to rethink the art center CC, which is housed in a big post-industrial box – similar to a tank – by the water in the harbour of Copenhagen. During the show the site takes on an appearance somewhat similar to an aquarium or broadly speaking a so-called vivarium, i.e. a shelter for an artificially recreated environment, submarine or otherwise.
New and existing large-scale installations as well as smaller, more intimate works on show explore with a variety of lifeforms such as the life cycle of jellyfish or the routines of a shipping crew. Other works engage with the necessary conditions of life such as soil and, more prominently, water, in an era marked by water reserve depletion, acidification of the oceans, rising sea levels, mass extinction as well as people and species on the move. The works in Ex Situ put conditions and forms of life on display for the visitors to contemplate, similar to the way we look at an aquarium – except here we are no longer on the outside but inside of it.
The exhibition is the result of a cultural partnership between the city of Basel, the Swiss ambassador in Denmark, CHART and Copenhagen Contemporary.
The four curators Alice Wilke and Claire Hoffmann (Basel), Jannie Haagemann and Toke Lykkeberg (Copenhagen) collaborate on this show, which includes primarily newly produced works by highly accomplished and upcoming artists from a Swiss and Scandinavian context.