Imagine a place you have never been.
This is the task of the tourist: to gather information about an unknown place and from there imagine a landscape in which future actions can be planned. Until the tourist arrives at their destination, the tourist travels in their thoughts in a landscape where geological, botanical and historical information forms the paths, and the routes are planned according to subconscious notions. The tourist arrives and the terrain seems different. It is now shaped after the tourist.
Emilie Bausager is a Danish-English visual artist, educated from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and from The English Gardening School. She lives in Copenhagen. Her starting point for making an exhibition on Bornholm is thus the same as that of the tourist: she has read about the place and formed perceptions in advance. What is special for the destination Bornholm is the rocky island’s subsoil which is believed to be populated by an army of mythological creatures - ‘the Subterraneans’ - whose task is to protect the island from outsiders and anyone threatening the landscape.
In the exhibition Insel Geist by Emilie Bausager, the exhibition space Sol in Nexø will take the form of a pseudo tourist shop with objects of a souvenir-like character, created by the tourist. The artist is aware of her own point of view as ‘førder’. A local Bornholm term meaning : one who comes from ‘over there’. From this position she creates a series of works based on the information that is available when researching Bornholm as a tourist destination. Two charred wooden reliefs, whose motifs connect to the subsoil, lie on the floor, while a series of t-shirts with illustrations are on display on the wall. In these illustrations, the artist translates notions and knowledge about different locations on East Bornholm. The room is lit by lanterns made of cans and bottles found at Nexø Harbor. It is said that the Subterraneans can be recognized in the darkness of the lanterns they carry in their hands.
For the exhibition, Emilie Bausager has made a publication in the form of a tourist guide. Based on the area around Nexø, the tourist guide contains walking routes past places found in handed down stories. These hiking routes are organized in collaboration with the local anthropologist Lars Christian Kofoed Rømer. The tourist guide also contains parts of the artist’s research on Bornholm, various interactive elements and text contributions from the artists Mitko Mitkov and Anna Ørberg. The publication thus introduces the exhibition’s visitors to the local area’s handed down cultural history and allows the physical walk to be combined with a literary and visual journey to new destinations.
Text by Signe Boe
Insel Geist is curated and organised by artists Signe Boe and Sofie Amalie Andersen for the exhibition space Sol. The exhibition is supported by the Danish Arts Foundation, Øernes Kunstfond, The Obel Family Foundation and Møbelfabrikken i Nexø.
In Collaboration with Nexø Museum, part of the Insel Geist exhibition was installed as a satellite show at the Museum.
Photos by Brian Kure