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An eternal flame. A hopeful and sometimes painful reminder that we shall not forget the atrocities, loss or victories of the past. An empathic gesture, a nationalist monument or just another flame in the dark. A feeble light we pass on the road to the next conquest. Almost laughable viewed in the hash light of the human firestorm dictating the future of the planet. The hope of eternity for humanity. A commitment to hope. Wishful thinking?
Eternal flames are found around the world. Lit or extinguished. Sometimes they have served their purpose, good or bad, and are now defunct monuments to changing human behavior.
In 7 works on paper (70 x 50 cm) Hesselholdt & Mejlvang explores various eternal flames and their purposes. Amongst them The Flame of Hope in Ontario, honouring Sir Frederick Banting’s discovery of insulin and those affected by diabetes. It also serves as a reminder that insulin controls diabetes but does not cure it. Ultimately it stands for the hope that a cure will be found soon. It will be extinguished if a cure for diabetes is found, by the team responsible for finding a cure. In Chile The Eternal Flame of Liberty is extinguished. It was lit in 1975 by the dictator Augusto Pinochet to commemorate the Chilean coup d’état against Salvador Allende. It was part of a larger monument called Alter of the Fatherland and was a symbol of the military dictatorship that ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990. It was extinguished in 2004. The works on paper present meticulous drawings of the flames with handwritten texts.
Centered in the gallery Hesselholdt & Mejlvang’s version of an eternal flame burns. The work consists of a Genie lamp on a white ceramic lake of fire and is titled The Wish, 2018.
Hesselholdt and Mejlvang has also commissioned a vocal performance by Philip Schneider revolving around The Bangles’ notorious hit song Eternal Flame. The work will be performed at the opening and documented on film on the occasion. Afterwards the film will be screened on a monitor as part of the exhibition.
With the exhibition Hesselholdt & Mejlvang thoroughly investigate the concept of the eternal flame. We share their process and journey, from sober intrigued pessimism, across reflection, to a genuine formulation of hope. Communally embracing the hopelessness of hope. In uncertain times, we must resist the comfortable position of nihilism and engage humanism.
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