"Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends”
8th Socle du Monde Herning, Denmark, conceived by Mattijs Visser
Shortly after the Second World War textile manufacturer Aage Damgaard decided, together with his friend the artist Paul Gadegaard, to invite artists from Scandinavia and Europe to Herning. Their idea was to jointly develop a new image for the future of his business and of the city, through the interaction with architecture, design, and art.
The Damgaard family donation of their extensive collection, including works by the Italian Piero Manzoni, to the Danish state laid the foundations for a museum; the Herning Museum of Contemporary Art which in turn, took on the mission to develop possible futures through the continued proximity with artists from around the world. At the base of this ambitious project would be the work “Le Socle du Monde” by Piero Manzoni, made and located in Herning.
By placing his "Socle" upside down, Piero Manzoni created a stage for life and potential experience to be played out. Inspired by Manzoni’s iconic work, the 8th edition of the "Socle du Monde" enters in 2020 into the public space of Herning and brings art into direct contact with its residents.
Using a festival format, "Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends" features various stages, linking the museum to the city, where local and international artists from different generations will reflect a world in transformation; with architectural interventions, playful objects and installations, suggestive images and sounds.
Stage 1: The Past
In Italy, in the late 1960s, a group of artists, under the name “Arte Povera”, managed to create suggestive images with simple (poor) materials such as earth, stones, light, water, and glass, in the hope that real life could be experienced more consciously. An exhibition with their work is the first and historical stage of the "Socle du Monde”, with, among others, Luciano Fabro, Jannis Kounellis and Mario Merz
and assembled by the Italian curator Bruno Cora.
Stage 2: The Present
Piero Manzoni and his generation wanted to show real life in the museum, but also wanted to bring out art into public space, away from the museum environment. This was in a way the beginning of the experience. Twenty international artists are asked to make artworks in the city of Herning, where unexpected encounters with art can enrich daily life;
with (Henk Visch (Nl), Jana Sterbak (Can), Loris Checcini, (It), El Anatsui (Gha), Jaume Plensa (Sp), Felice Varini (Ch), Huang Young Ping, (China), Bharti Kher (Ind), Alicia Kwade (D), Cornelia Faist (Ch), Luca Bru (B), Monica Bonvicini (It), Germaine Kruip (Nl), Kari Anne Helleberg (N), Miraslaw Balka (Pl), Eva Löfdahl (S), Yael Davids (Isr), Sophie Erlung (Dk), Fiona Hall (Aus), Firelei Baez (D), Gardar Eide Einarsson (N), Pedro Cabrita Reis (P). Curated by Katrin From, Holger Reenberg and Tijs Visser.
Stage 3: The Real Life
Real life and art will be linked in real time by a simple audio system narrative to accompany the visit of the Socle du Monde in which the residents and the city play the leading role, making the invisible visible and the inaudible audible. This audio-tour, conceived as a sound project by Cornelia Faist, will connect the various stages, both in the city of Herning and in Birk.
Stage 4 & 5: The Past and Future
Herning was the city of the textile trade and industry, and today aligns traditional industry and experience industry of which art is a central element. Textile tradition is still very present both in the Textile Museum and the Carl-Henning Pedersen Museum. The Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui will appear in the Pedersen Museum with large cloth-like wall sculptures made from the waste of consumer goods, while in the Textile Museum, the American artist Charles LeDray will show his collection of miniaturised suits and cloths.
Stage 6: The Future
The sixth stage is the Hojskole, originally a high-school and residence for the arts, and the place where all cultural forms came together, from cooking to philosophy, from music to architecture. For this edition of the "Socle du Monde" the Hojskole regains part of its original function as a breeding ground for young talents. Here, the youngest generation of artists can freely experiment with performance and installation. Curated by Michael Bank Christoffersen.
"Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends” creates a festival of form and experience; a nexus where “real” life and "artistic" life merge together, where “geographical” and “artistic” boundaries are lifted, and where “old" and “new” friends meet. Welcome!
Image: Charles Ledray