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Vandretilstande, Vandrehallen Kunsthal, Hillerød

Værker, installation shots

Vandrehallen is pleased to announce, “A State of Wandering,” Danish artist Julie Sass’s solo project upcoming in fall 2023. The exhibition, which is the artist's most theatrical and encompassing to date, includes painting, drawing, graphics and textiles, as well as the artist's own book publications. Sass aims to explore how she can transform the space in the Vandrehallen so that the audience will inevitably engage with it, regardless of whether they are regular users of the Hillerød Library or not. For the duration of the exhibition, the usual experience of the space will be completely altered.

Baroque Presentation Techniques
Sass draws inspiration from the lavish church or palace halls of the Baroque era, where art was presented in a way that emphasized its dramatic and grandiose nature. With this foundation, Sass establishes parallels to Vandrehallen's 70-meter-long passageway, which connects the various facilities of the Hillerød Library. The 8-meter ceiling height of Vandrehallen and the indirect lighting further enhance the associations with the cathedral-like space and the library's institutional status as a center of knowledge and enlightenment.

In this contemporary setting, Sass employs several exhibition techniques and devices from the Baroque era, among which is the conscious creation of visual contrasts. This is achieved by hanging artworks of varied sizes next to each other and by covering and draping walls and fixed decorations with textiles, creating a soft counterpoint to the two-dimensional works. The goal is to create a cohesive aesthetic experience that is simultaneously full of tension and coherence within a fully enveloped art space.

A State of Wandering
The book format has become an increasingly significant part of Sass's overall body of work. The exhibition's title, “A State of Wandering," refers to the artist's latest book of the same name. Designed by the artist herself, the book consists of 40 short texts written in a continuous flow during the initial COVID-19 lockdown. Additionally, the book includes reproductions of 12 drawings created in tandem with the writing process.

The texts are stream-of-consciousness pieces of a sort, with the act of wandering in the landscape as their focal point. The mountain, the landscape, and unnamed objects (consistently referred to as "something") are placed in constant relation to something else. Through movement, the perspective is constantly shifting. First, Sass evokes the mountain landscape in which the narrator wanders and second, the perspective in relation to the narrator and a "you" who accompanies one on the journey. The “other" is open-ended and could be the reader or a sort of personified abstraction that keeps the narrator company in an unknown realm of the senses, where everyday functions are recognized. There are no indications of gender or age; rather, specifications of gender are elevated to a collective "we." This “we” is enhanced by both male and female narrators at public readings and in the installed listening stations.

These themes recur throughout the exhibition, where the artworks' variations in scale and media envelop the viewer, much like the wanderer is embraced by the landscape. Sass compels us to look up, to observe from a distance, to examine up close, and to listen. Is it possible to have intimate art experiences in a large public space where the library's users and staff come and go, in the same way one can have intimate experiences with nature in a vast landscape?

Abstraction and the Uncommunicated
Julie Sass often works in series, incorporating painting, printmaking, drawing, and textiles, always respecting the unique characteristics of each medium. Certain forms and structures frequently reappear in her works. Although she identifies herself as an abstract painter, there is still the possibility of various interpretations that reference reality. Thus, something may resemble something else without actually being it: a glimpse through a window toward a landscape, a vase, or a fishing net? In the artist's own words, we all carry with us the space we have just occupied. The same applies to art. If we immerse ourselves long enough, we carry it forward into our own realm of existence, and perhaps we experience it slightly differently than we did before. Abstraction, in itself, has no particular agenda. It does not tell us what to think, believe, or do. It appeals to our sensibility and to all that cannot be communicated. It is like a vessel that transports the mind and body toward new perceptions.

About the Artist
Julie Sass (b. 1971) graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, where she also obtained a master's degree in art theory and dissemination. Additionally, she holds a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) from New York University, for which she was awarded the prestigious American Fulbright scholarship. The Fulbright scholarship aims to promote mutual dialogue among nations and contribute to the development of globally engaged citizens. In 2014, she was an artist in residence at ÀREA in Puerto Rico, and she has had several other residencies in New York and the Faroe Islands.

Sass has had numerous solo exhibitions in Denmark, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Puerto Rico, and the United States. Since 1999, she has also curated several exhibitions featuring predominantly Scandinavian, Faroese, Caribbean, North and South American artists at Danish museums. Her works are represented in many private and public collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Ny Carlsberg Foundation, Copenhagen. In addition, she has undertaken several significant public art commissions, including extensive murals at Holbæk Art and Nørre Gymnasium in Brønshøj. In Denmark, she is represented by Galleri Maria Friis.