Archives in the Tongue: A Litany of Freedoms

11 jun – 7 aug 2022

Kunsthal Charlottenborg

Curated by Awa Konaté & Lotte Løvholm



The solo exhibition by Jeannette Ehlers presents new, large-scale installations alongside existing works, juxtaposing film, performance, photography and installation. With her tactile works, Ehlers evokes a spiritual space that strives to shed light on Afro-Caribbean memories and relations.

The title of the exhibition, Archives in theTongue: A Litany of Freedoms, highlights the oral storytelling traditions so central to the passing down of Afro-diasporic narratives. Reaching beyond Western knowledge production, oral lore is seen as an archive in which life and freedom are reinvented and recreated.

Like many of Ehlers’ earlier works, the exhibition forges links between different histories and narratives. The exhibition revolves around themes such as the representations and boundaries of Blackness, offering reflections on kinship, solidarity and the colonial era’s legacies. Her work is not intended to provide answers; rather, it explores, feels and touches upon the various traces and joints.

This approach also permeates the artist’s overall practice. In the exhibition, the crossings and overlaps are called forththrough a wealth of collaborations on the production of the works. Working with a wide range of professionals, currents of thoughts are exchanged and working hands come together in a poignant pluralism of multiple voices, forming
an intimate sense of community across cultures and continents. Such polyphony is an important part of the works: while not always immediately visible, it provides them with a distinctive soul and energy. Ephemeral narratives and light touches offingers accumulate in the materials andbecome embedded in the people involved.

The exhibition is curated by Awa Konaté and Lotte Løvholm and supported by the Augustinus Foundation, the Axel Muusfeldt Foundation, the Beckett Foundation, the Danish Arts Foundation, the Danish Art Workshops (SVFK), the Lemvigh-Müller Foundation, the Obel Family Foundation and the William Demant Foundation.

Jeannette Ehlers, Moko is Future, 2022. Installationsview. Photo: David Stjernholm

Above: Jeannette Ehlers, We’re Magic. We’re Real #3 (Channeling Re-existence into Hollowed Grounds of Healing), 2022. Photo: David Stjernholm.

Below: Jeannette Ehlers, Coil: The Sensuous Way of Knowing, 2022. Installation view. Photo: David Stjernholm.

Jeannette Ehlers, Until the Lion, 2021. Secret Pathways to Freedom, 2021. Installation view. Photo: David Stjernholm.

Above left: Jeannette Ehlers, Uden titel (Mulatten, 4. akt, 8. scene. HCA), 2015. Photo: David Stjernholm.

Above right: Jeannette Ehlers, In The Time of Ongoing War, Can We Flee into Each Other?, 2022. Installationsview. Photo: David Stjernholm.

Below: Jeannette Ehlers, Jumbie Tree: The Flesh of Tree. The Flesh of Skin, 2022. Installationsview. Photo: David Stjernholm.