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The 2018 Solo Award: Kim Richard Adler Mejdahl

The winner of the Jury’s Solo Award in 2018 is Kim Richard Adler Mejdahl for the video works ODE and NO OZONE. Kim Richard Adler Mejdahl works in various media, but centres around cinema, sound, music, and photography. Often these elements blend together and create intricate, energetic works, which revolve around dissolving memory, trauma and fantasy.

In ODE, the protagonists are played by Kim Mejdahl himself and his close family, his mother ad three sisters. In a series of staged scenes, they take turns performing sonds based on their experience of living with an alchoholic husband and father - a man whose destiny is to die from falling down a flight of stairs.

While Kim Mejdahl and his family evokes collective memories of violence and abuse, the viewer is drawn into an universe where the line between fiction and reality is blurred, where the family’s memories are fictionalized by music video aesthetics and chainsaw-massacre moments. As viewers we are left wondering whether the story we are told is true, whether the abuse really happened and whether the photographic material we see showing the dead body is real or fake.

The same mixture of personal experience, anger, and vulnerability that informs ODE can be felt in the energetic sounds of the animated film NO OZONE.

In contrast to ODE, NO OZONE is an animation consisting of 2448 individual drawings that have been scanned and aligned with one another to create a surreal and absurd cartoon music video. NO OZONE, which is the first, very skilfully made animation work by the artist, shows the artist’s cartoon persona dancing and singing (to self-composed music) through a barren desert landscape. As in ODE, references to death seen to become a way of exposing the human tendency to suppress trauma; literally and metaphorically to bury regrets and other disturbing feelings - emotions that are bound to come and haunt you. In NO OZONE, they come in the shape of an evil-eyed snake morphing in and out of the artist’s body.

The Jury Solo Award 2018 goes to Kim Mejdahl for his courage in letting his own personal history stand at the forefront of his work without reducing it to pure subjective therapy. In ODE and NO OZONE, he has created two video works which both have a visceral emotional and bodily effect on the viewer. The jury was fascinated by this energy-filled universe from a multimedia artist whose intensely personal works blurs the boundaries between art and life. Privacy seems unimportant in Kim Mejdahl’s universe, as his work focuses on the kind of childhood trauma that most people avoid discussing. The shockingly intimate nature of Kim Mejdahl’s work, and the intense effort that has gone info making the film ODE as well as the three-minute animation NO OZONE, set him aside among this year’s submissions. With ODE and NO OZONE Kim Richard Adler Mejdahl has produced two works which were unforgettable for the jury with their intense, nauseating and powerful exploration of the healing power of revenge and the personal treatment of trauma.