I Know The World, I
13. September - 6. Oktober


Lise Harlev:
from the work series "How Great They Are" (2007) neon sign/ acrylic paint on wood

CV and homepage

Gallery Maze, Turin wrote about the works:

‘Speak Like Americans’ is the result of a trip to America which Lise Harlev made earlier this year. Travelling in America, she felt constantly reminded of the European critique of America, the country's politics and culture in general. She found it difficult to distinguish between her European habit of thinking that all bad things come from America and then a legitimate critique of American culture. What is a collective, culturally inherited critique of America and what do we as individuals think? It seems that as a result, we are divided between enthusiasm and scepticism when travelling in America or looking at it from Europe.

Lise Harlev has tried to make the works in the exhibition reflect these ambivalent feelings about America. A wooden sign says, 'We think America has no culture but we have a weakness for American culture', and with its contradictory sentence questions our belief that America has no culture, when at the same time we have a weakness for its culture. Harlev appears to identify with both these two attitudes, but also exposes this contradictory position as problematic.

As in many of Lise Harlev’s works, this exhibition has a strong reference to public signage and aesthetics. Here she plays on the cliché of the American signs which she admits is not what America is really like, but which lives up to an image of America, that we Europeans seem to celebrate, either as something wonderful or simply a cliché that confirms our belief that America is cultureless and vulgar