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Jury Statement 2018

Serving on a jury is a rewarding, but also a challenging task. Within the short time span of a few days, we are asked to make hundreds of decisions. Is this work in? Is this work out? Does this work merit an award? Which work, among this diverse range of media, deserves to be called “the best”? There is no rule book and the process is highly subjective.

We came equipped with the sum of our artistic knowledge and experience, including an understanding of art, architecture and design; an appreciation of a wide range of styles and media; a trained eye and a “gut reaction”. It was on the basis of this subjective knowledge that we agreed not to define a specific number of artists to select, but to let the process and our collective dialogue about the submitted works decide the final selection and number of participating artists.

We did not want to fall info the trap of horror vacui and let the selection be affected by the large and beautiful exhibition space of Kunsthal Charlottenborg. On the contrary, we wanted an exhibition where each individual work, and thereby each individual artist, would be presented in the best possible way. We wanted to present artists, not just artworks; to let focus take precedence over the kaleidoscopic. Our aim was to maintain the high quality of the Spring Exhibition and emphasize it as an important qualified platform for showing new work by younger as well as more established artists.

The submissions this year contrasted trained excellence with the rawness of the beginner. The works we saw were diverse in media as well as in artistic quality, but some common areas of interest did emerge as we worked our way through the 618 submissions. In both material and motifs, many artists explored the human body and the concept of flesh in a variety of materials and modes of expression. The foregrounding of a fleshly motif seemed to suggest an interest in treating the subject of the memento mori, a reminder of the transience of life, the futility of pleasure, and death - perhaps a pressing subject for many people at a time when political uncertainty is at the forefront in the news. At times art can be a thermometer for a nation’s - and the world’s - concerns, and perhaps this is what we saw. However, we also saw examples of work in which the body as flesh was absent, replaced or paired with digital technologies and robotics.

A general feeling we got from the submissions was that experimental or edgier work was unrepresented. We also missed a larger representation of work springing from experimental design and architectural practice. Whether this has something to do with the limited time given to students for experimentation and work outside the commercial objectives of today’s educational curriculum is hard to say. But it did make us wonder.

We are happy and proud of the selection we have made for the Spring Exhibition 2018. With only 19 artists we realize that we have selected far fewer artists that have traditionally been exhibited. For us it has been a conscious choice not to let tradition affect our selection, but rather to be guided by the artworks, and together with them to test new ground.

On behalf of the 2018 jury, Klara Kristalova (artist, CZ/SE), Alexander Tovborg (artist, DK), Anders Ruhwald (artist, DK/US), Christina Capetillo (architect, DK) and Marie Nipper (curator, DK), I welcome you to the 161st Spring Exhibition. We hope artists and visitors will find stimulation and new discoveries in this year's selection of artists.

Marie Nipper