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Art exhibition

Sculptures build bridges in divided times

15 life-size sculptures make up the exhibition CONNECTIONS on display at the University of Southern Denmark in the coming year. The exhibition is the result of a unique collaboration between war history researcher James Rogers and the Icelandic sculptor Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir.

By Marie Elisabeth Dam Rasmussen, , 8/30/2021

From 1 September, you can enjoy a nice, long hike at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, where 15 life-size androgynous sculptures have been installed throughout the campus.

They are meant to evoke reflection and create connectedness in an age that offers crises, disasters and separation.

The CONNECTIONS exhibition is the result of a five-year collaboration between Assistant Professor James Rogers, who is a fellow at the University’s elite centre DIAS, and the Icelandic sculptor Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir. So far, their collaboration has, among other things, spawned a number of scientific events and articles.

The sculptures focus on human vulnerability and loneliness, but also the connection that exists between people across ideologies, continents and cultures

James Rogers, war historian

As an interdisciplinary historian of war and conflict, James Rogers works with artists to express the impact of war, disasters and crises on society.

He believes the meeting between art and research stimulates discussion, builds bridges and creates the interdisciplinary bond that is the very essence of DIAS.

The crises we have seen during the past eighteen months, including a pandemic, natural disasters and ideological tensions between right-wing and left-wing politics, have laid the foundation stones that make the exhibition relevant and affecting.

– The sculptures focus on human vulnerability and loneliness, but also the connection that exists between people across ideologies, continents and cultures, says James Rogers.

Sound walk with the artist

The starting point for CONNECTIONS is the Danish Institute for Advanced Study, which is SDU’s interdisciplinary centre for elite research. The installation of the 15 sculptures therefore also seeks to connect the interdisciplinary centre with the rest of the University of Southern Denmark.

In addition, sculptures have been installed in Platanhaven opposite St. Canute's Cathedral in the centre of Odense, in front of Nordatlantisk Hus (North Atlantic House) at the Port of Odense and in front of the Embassy of Iceland. There is also an ongoing exhibition featuring Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir’s works in Gallery Christoffer Egelund in Copenhagen.

All of the sculptures have QR codes, allowing viewers to use their mobile phone to join the artist for a sound walk between the sculptures. However, the exhibition can also be experienced digitally via YouTube, where a digital tour can be followed on DIAS’s channel from 1 September.

Vernissage at DIAS

The opening reception for the exhibition will be held on Wednesday 1 September between 3:00-5:00 PM at the Danish Institute for Advanced Study at Fioniavej 34, Odense.

Registration can be done on DIAS’s website, which also contains more information about the exhibition.

The project is funded by Albani Fonden and the Danish Institute for Advanced Study and supported by Nordatlantisk Hus, Galleri Christoffer Egelund and the Embassy of Iceland in Copenhagen.

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Editing was completed: 30.08.2021