BLUSHING CURTAINS by nina wengel

Today I suggest the work Blushing curtains as a permanent installation in the seat of Danish Parliament. These days I blush because of the political turn this nation is taking, an embarrassment which doesn’t seem to pass, but continuous to get worse. The Danish flag is white and red, I turn from pale to red.

The work has a history with multiple layers of meaning though. The first time the idea popped in to my mind, was in connection to being hit by a terrible social fear and constantly blushing, just being present was a pain. But the work was realised for the exhibition “Soft performance” in Det hemmelige galleri, Herning, Denmark, 2008. The background for the work there was a research made in collaboration with curator/artist Tijana Miskovic on the city of Herning, where the exhibition were to be shown. We investigated the city and it’s history and asked a shaman to make a spirit travel for the city the objective being to decipher the “mental” state of the city. It turned out, the city had a very male dominated energy, and so I decided to use the pink colour. The work was a light installation with magenta coloured light dimming up and down which made the curtains look like they were blushing, visible from both the inside and the outside the gallery space.


how to heal the "kommune" (the municipalities) by nina wengel

The reason why I wanted to heal “the kommune” is that everything tends to be “very, very difficult”. But how to go about healing it? Since “the kommune” is quite big and consists of many different buildings, it would not be possible to heal it as one would normally heal a person. That’s why I decided to do it like a ritual, the kind of ritual in which people perform as characters in order to change a situation. I found that the “Emergency Mobil” would be a great place for the ritual, since people would gather for this occasion and discuss emergencies and art. And in dealing with “the kommune”, there is normally a public hearing, since public hearings and discussions are democratic.

Therefore, the crowd was briefed to come up with suggestions along the way and were asked to vent their opinion or oppose what I was saying, if they felt it was wrong. They were informed that perhaps I would take their view into consideration, perhaps not, as is the normal procedure at a public hearing.

As mentioned, the reason why I wanted to heal “the kommune” was that often when I approach it, everything seems to be “very, very difficult”. First of all, the consequence is that “the kommune”, in my mind, now has a very poor image. Still I felt I was not being fair at all in my representation of “the kommune”, since it really does a lot of good things: it is filled with competent and nice people and it is an institution I could not live without.

So I asked the crowd if they felt I was being mean to “the kommune” by visualizing it as a grey cardboard-box head. They didn’t think so. And I politely asked a spectator to act the part as “the kommune” . I then told the crowd I wanted to improve my image of “the kommune”, to start with myself, and try to get a better opinion of “the kommune” in order to heal it.

It would take quite some doing so I would need not one but two people to act as beauty experts. I suggested one should be Ole Henriksen (a Danish skin cosmetician and manufacturer of skin care products) and this was accepted. A participant suggested that the other should be Mads Nørgaard (a Danish designer of fashion clothes, managing director and owner of a famous fashion house in Denmark). Two people volunteered to act as these beauty experts; one was given a bottle of silver glitter and the other one gold glitter encouraging them to sprinkle it on “the kommune” to transform its image by this magic act.

So far so good.

With “the kommune’s” new improved image, I was able to raise they question – why is everything so very, very difficult, when we call “the kommune” ? My impression is that “the kommune” must be very stressed for two reasons: Lack of time and lack of money. The crowd nodded and accepted these two points.

But who would be able to help “the kommune” get more time? I didn’t really know the answer to this, I let the crowd know, but I would suggest perhaps the Prime Minister of Denmark, the Queen of Denmark and God in one character as some sort of holy trinity.

The crowd accepted this proposal. Now a person in the crowd was chosen to act as the trinity and was handed a “Magic-Increase-Stick” to tap the municipality gently with in order to increase the amount of time.

Then last but not least, we had to take care of the money issue. For this, I suggested we needed someone to act as the National Bank, and there was a volunteer for this character. He was given the magic “A lot” currency, which he fed to “the kommune” .

“The kommune” should now be relieved of its stress; nothing from now on will be very, very difficult.