This year, ninety countries participate in the world’s oldest and perhaps most prestigious art event – the Venice Biennale – and the Danish-Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour has been selected to represent Denmark. In December 2019, there will be an opportunity to experience the exhibition Heirloom at Copenhagen Contemporary. History, recollection, and identity form the basis for Sansour’s exhibition, which will be shown at the Danish pavilion in Venice during the Biennale.
The exhibition Heirloom invites the audience to enter a dark universe comprising a science fiction film, a sculptural installation, and an architectural intervention. The science fiction film In Vitro takes place in Bethlehem in a not-too-distant future where a climate disaster has forced human beings to live in concrete bunkers below ground. The film’s action is constructed around a dialogue between two women: one aged and dying, the other a young woman.
The two women disagree about what is needed to secure survival. The younger woman questions whether the traditions and the recollections passed on to her are of any use, at all, when the world is destroyed and a new one needs to be rebuilt.
Does it make sense to uphold remnants of the past and reproduce its myths and constructions? Is it the past that defines us or is survival rooted in something else? The film addresses collective memory, exile, and inherited traumas and what effect bearing these have on a person’s identity.
The film was created in collaboration with Søren Lind and the roles are played by the internationally acclaimed Palestinian film actors Hiam Abbass and Maisa Abd Elhadi.
The exhibition also presents the sculptural installation Monument for Lost Time, a large black sphere which doubles as a kind of memory bank in the film. Finally, the floor is partly covered by Palestinian tiles which also appear in the film.
The Danish Arts Foundation has selected Larissa Sansour to take over the Danish pavilion at the Venice Biennale, which is open to the public from 11 May until 24 November 2019.
About Larissa Sansour
Larissa Sansour was born in 1973 in East Jerusalem. She graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art and New York University, USA, and has studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. Larissa Sansour is a Danish citizen who lives and works in London.