Clown Wall inc. the video Hello, Do You Have a Mask? 2019
Clown Wall, 2019
Solo Exhibition, Absolute Art Space, Tainan, Taiwan
November 30, 2019 - January 5, 2020
‘Clown Wall’ is the title of Molly Haslund's solo exhibition at Absolute Art Space, which was created during a three-month residency in Taiwan.
In the display was a video work, a text-based performance, sculpture, objects, costumes and ready-mades which had formed the interiors from her ‘live and work space’ during her residency. The outcomes of two workshops that Haslund held with students from Taiwnan National University of the Arts, were also an integral part of the exhibition.
Hello, Do You Have a Mask? is the title of the exhibition's video work, which was filmed over three days, documenting a performative relation between Haslund and local Taiwanese. Wearing a white lab coat and a clown nose made of porcelain, Haslund moves in and out of the streets of Taiwan followed by her assistant and a cameraman who documents the journey. She seeks out people on the street, knocking on the doors of private homes, shops and businesses. Using handwritten signs in both Chinese and English, she asks the same questions over and over again; "Hello, do you have a mask?" and “Is it OK if we film you wearing your mask?”. When someone has a mask, they are invited to pose in front of the camera wearing the mask alongside Haslund.
In this work, Haslund examines the mask as a phenomenon. Are masks something one simply has lying around in the home? Do people have other masks that may protect against disease transmission or air pollution - the same masks that are also used during demonstrations perhaps? It is this curiosity, together with the autumn unrest in Hong Kong and the support demonstrations in Taiwan as a result of the mask ban, that Haslund takes as her starting point. Through this she interrogates a new reality, that of the common-place of concealing the face through the perspective of an artist.
The full video can be viewed by requesting a link and password by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
At the opening of ‘Clown Wall’, Haslund showed a text-based performance that clarifies the name of the exhibition. She stands behind a gray wall, which forms a giant mask, and reads out her text in English, while Hsin Lee, a co-performer, translates into Chinese between each section of the writing. At the end of the performance, Haslund invites the audience to try on hand-made porcelain clown noses and porcelain masks and join a walk around the local neighborhood.
(Excerpts from the performance text can be read below)
The porcelain masks were produced during the first part of the workshop UN / MASKED together with students from Tainan National University of the Arts.
During the second part of the workshop UN / MASKED, Haslund developed in collaboration with the students, the project and concept UN / MASKED Archive. The project was exhibited in the back of the exhibition, consisting of a laptop and a printer. During the exhibition, visitors to the gallery were asked to find pictures of masks on the Internet related to the demonstrations in Hong Kong, and print them out to display on the walls. By the end of the exhibition, the white walls were filled with A4 prints of masks testifying to the seriousness of the situation, and to the protest movement as a creative force.
The porcelain clown noses were produced by Haslund herself at Chin Chin Pottery, where she had a workshop space during her stay.
The costumes were sewn by a local tailor. Haslund learned the embroidery techniques which decorate the coat during a week's intensive training at Golden Glory Embroidery in Taiwan.
Thanks to Absolute Space for the Arts. Exhibition and residency was supported by the Statens Kunstfond and the Academy Council's travel grant 2018. Absolute Art Space is supported by the National Culture and Arts Foundation, Cultural Affairs Bureau of Tainan City.
Excerpts from the performance text
I’m the one who lives upstairs, in a room just like this. It covers the area running from right here, to the gallery reception, on to the glass front and the entrance door facing the street.
The yellow cross is where I sleep. Opposite the inbuilt gallery bookcase I do my washing up.
. . . . .
Is it OK to write “I”?
Should I pretend it’s someone else’s writing?
And the one who is shouting. Is it you who sucks my blood?
Should I suggest sign-language?
Do you actually prefer art that could be a selfie-back ground, or do you prefer art that you can spend time with? Or is it the art that makes you relax and reminds you of yoga that you prefer?
Just examples. I do know that there are more to choose from. Just curious.
Is Gucci your thing? If we think of art as fashion, are we really ready for the coming season? How’s that?
. . . . .
My grandmother never went on protests. She was so touched when she saw the crowds of people gather for the same cause, that she cried and cried. If she had thought about it more she could have worn a mask, and joined in. I’m just the same. But here in Tainan I did it, in September.
In the beginning I collected mango stones, but the season ended, so I stopped. I also collect what I see; looking right through the facades when a construction worker is taking a nap under a house he just began demolishing. Children running around in their grandparents’ store. The shoemaker watching television. Kitchens being cleaned up in the middle of the pavement, and the hair-dresser smoking nearby. That everything is transparent.
The heat makes all this possible.
. . . .
Wearing porcelain on your face is a paradox. It makes it easier for your enemy to target you, hit you, smash your face and rip your skin. Therefore, you must walk around carefully, and pay attention to where you are, whom you talk to, and what you aim for. Expect that those you meet will treat you extra carefully. We believe they will, but we don't expect anything.
Porcelain clown noses increase the sense of smell and make everyone find their way. I promise.
. . . .
I would like to go for a walk with you.
Would you come?
If all of you put on a mask, we can take a walk around the block.
Clown noses are tiny masks.
If all of you pick a mask.
If each of you put on a mask, then we’re off.
Molly Haslund, Tainan, Taiwan 2019
List of works exhibited
Hello, Do you Have a Mask?, 2019
Video, 55 minutter.
Clown Wall, 2019
20 minutters performance.
Clown Wall (installation), 2019
Grå væg med udskåret maske (variabel størrelse), performance manuskript, 13 skilte à 20 x 12 centimeter. Papir, tekst, spisepinde.
Clown’s costume and one clown nose, 2019
Str. 34-38/small. Hvid bomuld og broderi, klovnenæse i porcelæn. Sko, str. 38, hvid bomuld og broderi. Udstillet på tøjstativ.
Clown noses (Heavy Porcelain), 2019
13 stk. Varierende dimensioner. Porcelæn og elastikbånd.
Porcelain Clouds, 2019
Gulvværk. Skyer malet med flydende porcelæn direkte på gulvet.
Moody Mobile Crowd, 2019
Dragefrugt printet på papirhåndklæder, bøjler, strømpeophæng.
Umbrella Exersice No. 1, 2019
Nylon, metal, plastik, porcelænsler.
Totalinstallationen bestod desuden af diverse interiør, værktøjer og beklædningsdele.
Workshops held during the residency
UN/ MASKED Masks (resultat af workshop)
Forskellige masker lavet af porcelæn og elastikbånd.
UN/ MASKED Archive (workshopkoncept)
Printer, bærbar computer, A4 print af masker. Kollektive værker af UN/ Masked Archive.
Photographerf Brian LIN
Video stills Molly Haslund
China Daily News Taiwan, preview of Clown Wall at Absolute Art Space (in Chinese)
展覽日期｜11/30 Sat. - 1/5 Sun.
開幕茶會｜11/30 Sat. 15:00
開幕演出｜11/30 Sat. 15:30
開幕座談｜11/30 Sat. 16:30
Molly Haslund 是一名居住於哥本哈根的丹麥藝術家。自2019年9月15日起，她展開了於絕對空間為期三個月的進駐。這些日子以來，她主要致力於創發道具與服裝，打造一小丑的角色與形象——一個正在發展中、目前由面具所佔據的他我。
Molly Haslund 先後於丹麥皇家藝術學院、格拉斯哥藝術學院取得碩士學位。2005年畢業後，便持續從事行為、雕塑、社會介入以及以行動為基礎的創作，並於國內外各地，包括丹麥、格拉斯哥、倫敦、柏林、慕尼黑、紐約、費城、京都等地進行展演。
Haslund 的創作介於雕塑與行為藝術之間，結合流行文化、表演藝術、文學以及音樂等元素，開創出多面向的藝術實踐。透過應用不同的策略，Haslund 的作品探討想法、身分認同以及社會階層如何密切地與身體姿勢動作、儀式以及環境周遭的各種設計與布局安排產生關係，並持續進行協商。在她的行為表演中，偶爾也見其結合文字與簡短的敘事，不時帶著詼諧幽默的轉折。
Molly Haslund 創作論述節錄】