Focus

Rolf Nowotny

Christian Andersen, Copenhagen (H13)

An extensive project by Rolf Nowotny (b. 1978, Copenhagen), consisting of a series of reworked objects from the former home of the artist’s grandmother.

They will be displayed together with oversized jumpsuits, reminiscent of institutional uniforms. The uniforms are identical front to back, and are caught mid-stride but it will be uncertain which direction they are moving. Accompanying the installation, small photographs of night blooming flowers, which the artist has planted in spring, will be displayed on the walls, along with a poetry handout with a photographic series from his grandmother’s home. Scattered on the floor, twigs from her garden. Through this work, Nowotny challenges our perception of dementia and how dementia challenges our conception of subjecthood. What are we without ourselves? Over time dementia reduces the inflicted individual ever down, only to leave behind an autopiloted persona of a former self.

Nowotny is interested in exploring where that individual has gone and which alien landscapes they are inhabiting. The project consists of an abstracted representation of the former home and garden of Nowotny’s grandmother, who is now residing in a nursing home suffering from advanced dementia. Her home has been abandoned and Nowotny sees an uncanny similarity between her possessions and herself: both have been drained of value and are awaiting to be disposed of. For Nowotny the installation is trying to breathe life back into his grandmother’s abandoned paraphernalia and by proxy trying to reclaim her worth as a human being.