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Adam Christensen: The Wind Swallowed My Words
curated by Caroline Krzyszton
3 September – 29 October 2022
hunt kastner is pleased to present a solo exhibition by the multidisciplinary Danish artist Adam Christensen (born 1979, London), a 2007 graduate of Goldsmiths, University of London. Christensen’s practice engages the mediums of textile, video, installation and performance to convey experiences both emotional and physical. He is also a member of the music project Ectopia, which has performed at art institutions such as the New Museum for Contemporary Art in New York, the ICA in London, and the Wysing Arts Centre near Cambridge. Engaging the theatrical as well as the everyday through heartfelt and emotionally charged performances, mixing gender, personal stories, childhood memories, conflicted and brutal realities, Christensen interacts with the audience to develop new lyrical narratives, often by singing with the accordion and reading out short stories or anecdotes. This is the artist’s second exhibition in Prague, following his 2020 residency and exhibition at Futura, which took place at the end of 2020, during the strict Covid lockdown period.
The baby is asleep next to me. Not for long I am afraid but I hope I will still have enough time to finish this letter before she wakes up.
This exhibition is the third time we collaborate together, the third time I witness the process, pretty much emotional, that gets you to work. The wandering around the city, the necessary encounters, the openness to anything happening to you, letting anyone in, see what happens. Most of the time it is a hit or miss, twice you ended up telling me someone robbed you, twice the aspiring thieves gave you back whatever they stole to you after you chatted together. Some other intimate stories, I know from your songs and writings.
At my flat the other day, you left the discussion at the kitchen table to tour the place on your own, look at every corner, until you found the mess I tried to hide behind the closed bedroom door. There was gathered all the baby stuff and the mother´s disorder I sometimes feel ashamed about in front of people. When you opened it you said something in the spirit of “Oh I found it, I was wondering where that was”. It sounded you were somehow relieved at the vision of this domestic chaos, you unveiled the shit I haven´t figured out. As if you knew (me) better.
When we discussed the exhibition remotely before your arrival, there was always a big flat in the background, you would show me the people around you, we would laugh at one flatmate asleep in the couch, everyone seemed exhausted from a long night. It seems behind you is always a vibrant background. It seems around you always live a hundred narratives.
In the text you sent me for the exhibition invitation you describe a situation where you come to pick up your stuff in a house you are trying to leave. You try to clean up behind you but you end up creating more mess on your way out. And when you finally exit you notice you didn´t escape from the one thing you were running from. Outside you face what seems to be the corpse of a love story. You told me about this time you changed apartment, about the haunted houses in London, the local ghost stories that inspired you to make this show.
Our last exhibition together opened during one of the strongest lockdowns here in Prague. You were here about a month, we would go textile shopping together and we spoke about our difficulties to overcome the despondency of the period. I was drained by the interminable and unnoticeable / unnoticed work at the gallery I ran at the time. We were trying to fulfill our commitments by installing new shows in a – still – regular tempo but without the physical presence of the artists. We would follow instructions, protocols and find compromises, changing the scenographies regarding how the thread of emails was evolving, trying to recreate within the gallery a discussion that would happen online. A work that seemingly lost its essence as the shows were visited by only a handful of invited guests and colleagues.
You were at the time deeply and seriously saddened by recent tragedies in your family, the loss of your second mother Lise. The exhibition and the performance, which we held for a dozen of our collaborators, ended up being about these events, the film project – which you continued after that – included memories of your childhood. We exhibited drawings you found in your family house. Our first exhibition together was painted by the absence, well I guess it makes sense the one we open today is about ghosts.
The baby will wake up soon. When she wakes up I will have to pick up my son from school and I will run to the gallery to prepare everything. The exhibition opens tonight with your performance. You will wear the costumes Jordan and you created together in the last weeks. During the exhibition hours, for almost two months after that, these costumes will end up on the gallery floor, or negligently hanged from the screen, trying to mimic you.
This letter is not an exhibition text, it is a declaration. It is a declaration presumably addressed to you but mostly to the visitors who will see the show after your performance, after you left the space for your relics to watch, so that they would hear about the circumstances, about the hundred narratives and about my emotion, so they would hopefully feel it as well, a little bit below their skin.
The baby woke up, I must go, see you at the opening,