Artists travel for education, they circulate and migrate for shorter or longer periods. Their works are influenced by this ambition. "I Know The World" is not an opportunity to talk about internationalism, mobility or cultural differences, it wish to take a closer look at the art work itself. While some works in this exhibition series are based on research, insight and sensibility, other works are playing with presumptions and pre-planned encounters with the culture of the host country.
In the case of "I Know The World 3", the artists travelling bring the idea of the Orient, as framed by their own culture, to the location they visit. J&K use Egypt as an inspiration and as a backdrop for a theatrical fantasy. The result is an installation which brings into life a futuristic fiction where religions fuse and new world orders unfold before our eyes.
With a 2 month residency in Cairo and their own artistic strategy, J&K developed the installation Egyptomaniacs, first for Overgaden - Institute for Contemporary Art in Copenhagen and now a second version for Sparwasser HQ in Berlin.
With a narrative focused around Egypt, J&K (Janne Schäfer and Kristine Agergaard) stage and photograph themselves in an array of performative interventions. While miming anthropological research, analysing the touristic view, the economic situation, the religious and the historical, the artists let their fantasies about the foreign and exotic go wild. The backdrop is real enough, though the artists create their own imagined Egypt, and ride along predictions of new age religions and future world orders... where former colonists are trapped in tourist resorts and prophets meet witches from the African interior and hip-hoppers from Cairo, even ninjas and the figure of Liberty occur in the final 3D collage.
By using diorama display techniques the works have references to natural history museum exhibitions, not missing the text labels and dramatically lit installations: from models of sceneries in smaller diorama boxes to a life size theatrical space for the audience to walk into.
The installation reflects J&K's interpretation of the complexity of a culture inspired by travelling, religion, mythology, rituals and psychedelia. Based on photographic material J&K have created a pre-apocalyptic scenerio, where scientific references conjunc with visual expresions as we know them from MTV and experimental music video clips.
The installation was exhibited at Overgaden - Institute for Contemporary Art, Copenhagen, Sept. 1 – Oct. 21., 2007
The two artists Janne Schäfer (D, f. 1976) & Kristine Agergaard (DK, f. 1975), cooperating since 1999, work within a peculiar artistic universe, where they stage and photograph themselves in a number of performative roles appearing in utopian and startling constructed worlds.