OPENING – WHO'S AFRAID – 21.02.2015 19.00

  • From: LEAP <info@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: leap@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2015 22:34:46 +0100

[image: Inline images 1] <>

We would hereby like to invite you to the opening of “Who’s Afraid?”, the
first solo show of Danish artist Mikala Hyldig Dal, which will take place on
21/02/2015 from 7pm at the former LEAP (see address below).

We hope to see you there!


*WHO'S AFRAID?* <>  Mikala
Hyldig Dal

Opening 21.02.2015 - 19.00h

Exhibition 22.02.2015 - 27.02.2015
Opening Hours: 16.00 - 20.00h

Closing: 27.02.2015, 19.00h
with a performance lecture by Mikala Hyldig Dal

@ former LEAP
Leipziger Str. 63
10117 Berlin

Supported by
The Danish Arts Foundation and PhDArts at the Royal Academy of Art,
The Hague (KABK)

Curated by
Daniel Franke and Sandra Moskova


///////////////WHO’S AFRAID?///////////////

Who's Afraid? is the first solo exhibition of Danish artist Mikala Hyldig
Dal and features performative
video works created between 2014-2015, discussing contemporary iconoclasm
as a sociopolitical act
of communication. Some of the video works also apply a subjective approach
to the topic of "killing
images" and "erasing identities", connecting iconoclastic processes with
BDSM-practices in a personal

In the tension between violence/pain and power/domination, the works
aesthetically examine the
current  Islamic State (ISIS) in the context of visual propaganda that both
makes and destroys images.
The videos  also address a historical perspective: specifically, how
artistic representations of human
bodies were considered subversive of God’s authority. In middle-age Islamic
society, offending images
were not physically  destroyed or erased. Rather, they were symbolically
killed – marked with a line
across the necks of the depicted  figures, removing all religious or
evocative power. “Killing the image”
has thus become a ritual gesture in itself,  leaving its own trace and
creating symbolic content as a
by-product. The thesis of this project turns on how ISIS’ destruction of
living human bodies with a literal
cut across the neck resonates within this historical context.

The symbolic power of "killing images" therefore plays a central role in
the exhibition. In “Who’s Afraid?”
selfperception becomes a defining capacity, given that we define our modern
reality through images.
Visualizing  this destruction seeks not to exploit or scandalize the
images, but instead to establish the
ISIS decapitations,  prisoners wearing Guantanamo-Bay-look uniforms and the
artist's body as hyper-
symbols. These are all multireferential visual constellations, which have
replaced Religion-based
iconoclasm with acts of political communication, addressing an
international spectatorship instead of
a specific, localized community of faith.

In her performative video works, Mikala Hyldig Dal connects the historical
symbolic decapitation of
images with the current discourse of the ISIS decapitation videos. She
examines the gesture of power
on her own body and the bodies of men from the Middle East. Through the
visual staging and parallel
representation of BDSM and public violence, the artist creates ambivalent
realms of experience, that
explore the clash between trauma and aestheticization in the very moment of
their simultaneous and
immediate formation.

*The title Who's Afraid references Barnett Newman's triptych Who's Afraid
of Red Yellow and Blue?” (1966-1970), itself a quote of the play “Who's
Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (1966) by Edward Albee. The purchase of the
painting by the Verein der Neuen Nationalgalerie in Berlin in 1982 led to
death threats against the museum's director Dieter Hönisch and the painting
itself was subject to attack. In terms of the current exhibition, the title
adds an additional layer by referring to an anxiety situated within images,
as depicting death becomes death itself. *

///////////////ABOUT THE ARTIST///////////////

Mikala Hyldig Dal is an artist, curator and author, based in Berlin and
Cairo. In the context of her artistic,
curatorial and academic practice, she explores the interrelations of
image-production, iconoclasm and
political processes. She has worked on exhibition projects, publications
and artist-exchange-programmes
in Germany, Denmark, USA, Egypt, Syria and Iran.
Her works are presented internationally, a. o. in Martin Gropius Bau,
Townhouse Gallery Cairo, Nikolaj
Kunsthal Copenhagen, Fluxfactory New York and Azad Gallery Teheran. Between
2011 and 2013 she
has been teaching in the departments of Fine Arts, Arts and Applied
Sciences at the American University
and the German University in Cairo. In 2013 she published the book Cairo
Images of Transition (Transcript
Verlag/Columbia University Press). Mikala Hyldig Dal is a PhD candidate at
PhDArts, Royal Academy of Art
KABK, Holland.


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