THE COSMIC WALL
DANISH ARTIST TEARS DOWN THE WALL
The bodily experience of building a wall is taken to another level at SPRING/BREAK Art Show where Danish artist, Anne Nowak, will move 250 bricks two times a day for her performance The Cosmic Wall. Why? As a comment on the alienating, excluding effects of the borders currently and historically being built around the world.
The old, worn bricks are spray-painted in cosmic, bluish colours, making them look like a piece of the uni- verse, light, easy and something from outer space. Throughout the SPRING/BREAK Art Show, Anne Nowak who is recognised for her cosmic atmospheric works, will assemble and disassemble a wall on site, again and again and again. Brick by brick, it is torn down and rebuilt next to where it was. This is repeated in a Sisy- phus like manner.
The driving force behind The Cosmic Wall is the Danish fine arts curator, Henriette Noermark, who found that Nowak’s work spoke directly to the theme of this years SPRING/BREAK Art Show ’Strangers Come to Town’. The exhibition brings together works that, in different ways, circulate on topics such as xenophobia, migration, assimilation and fusion or dissolution of diversity.
”History is full of examples of how man has built walls as a shield against the unknown. Anne Nowak’s per- formance destroys the wall, stone by stone, and articulate issues as seen from the stranger’s perspective,” says Henriette Noermark, adding that the repetition in building the wall up and pulling it down several times a day adds another dimension to the discussion. ”I was young in the eighties, in an age when it was about tearing down walls, abolishing borders and seeking community and diversity. That is the spirit I would like to pay tribute to, ”says Anne Nowak about the inspiration behind The Cosmic Wall.
The physical challenge is overt for visitors: ”I have come to the conclusion that, overall, I will move around over a ton of bricks every day during the exhibition. Although the stones are light in their expression, they actually weigh more than 6.5 lbs. each. Seemingly porous as there is no mortar binding the bricks together, the wall is still heavy and it will be my most bodily work to date,” says Anne Nowak. It is not only the artist who can take an active part in moving the wall. At the end of the performance, visitors can buy a piece of the cosmic wall to bring home. Like that we break down the wall for good, together.
Henriette Noermark works independently out of Copenhagen and her curatorial practice is specialized in the field between contemporary art and crafts. With previous and upcoming exhibitions at Patrick Parrish Gallery, Tribe- ca, and a former association with Residency Unlimited, she is well versed on the New York art scene. She invited Anne Nowak as her artist for this year’s SPRING/BREAK Art Show.