It didn’t make me prettier, it didn’t make me survive, but damn I needed some medication (or did I?) by Jens Haaning pushes the foundations of autobiography, autofiction, and mental health into new ground in this third decade of the new millennium. The title of the exhibition is taken from one of Jens Haaning’s works in the show, consisting of two 60 x 30 cm white plastic storage boxes, in which Haaning has from 2014 – 2021 collected all his unused/untaken psychiatric medication, painkillers, and anti-epileptic medicine. The filled boxes are to be seen more as an appendix to the scotch-taped paper on the wall above them displaying the text/title. While the medicine has been collected by Haaning, it is not an artwork that he has made with immediate autobiographical references. Haaning’s collections of pills are instead only the closest samples at hand to model his introspection; the work rather asks for new reflection on social and individual progression in contemporary society – perhaps by implicating the strategies for surviving the pros and cons of health systems.
Santiago Sierra’s film Person obstructing a line of containers (Kaj 3, Frihamnen, Stockholm, Sweden, February 2009) shows a person who has defiantly placed herself in front of a line of trucks on their way to leave or enter a ferry. During the twelve-minute long confrontation, we see the truck steer forward in a conflictive dance as it tries to overcome the person blocking traffic. In turn the visual tension captured in the film shows a range of contradictions between personal freedoms, protests, and infrastructures that are collapsing upon one another.
Here – as in Haaning’s work – the relation between a person and the systems governing our life in society, or better yet the systems of dominance that have to be lived through, are portrayed in their fundamentals. Fruitful or not, the defiant act is at least committed.
Kilde: SixtyEight Art Institute
Gothersgade 167, st. th.
1123 København K