With three new immersive installations, Danish artist Nanna Debois Buhl fills more than 300 square meters of gallery space at Kunsthal Aarhus.
Nanna Debois Buhl is an Aarhus-born, Copenhagen-based visual artist who for many years resided in New York. Characteristic of Buhl ’s practice is her vivid mingling of scientific research and artistic experimentation which draws connections across time and scale—like a time travel through matter and meaning.
In Picture the Sky photos, computer algorithms, video, and weaving are used to explore the sky, our fascination with it, and how we use it scientifically and speculatively.
The exhibition spans the ground floor of Kunsthal Aarhus and features three new constellations of works: Helios, Particles and Planets and Lunar. In a cosmic narrative, the exhibition makes surprising connections between Earth and sky, cyborgs and historical figures, individual heroes and heroic collectives, bodies and machines, craft and technology, scientific data and alchemists’ investigations.
Via scientific solar photographs, ethereal celestographs, and computer-generated astronomical models, Buhl ponders how art and science function as categories and knowledge systems, letting her works and experiments loose in a space where the borders between art and science overlap in fuzzy ways. One could think of the works in the exhibition as a kind of “strange realism,” following what Ursula K. Le Guin writes about the genre of science fiction: “It is a strange realism, but it is a strange reality.”
Driven by interstellar curiosity, and informed by Buhl’s ongoing conversations with astrophysicists, weavers, programmers, and printmakers, her works in this exhibition connect local and global layers, drawing on vastly different realms of knowledge. Her sites of production are equally diverse: for example, the algorithmic pieces were conceived during a residency at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US, while the meteoritic studies are based on images she generated in a nano-laboratory at University of Copenhagen.
Nanna Debois Buhl (b. 1975, Aarhus) is a Copenhagen-based visual artist whose work materializes as photographs, weavings, installations, films, generative algorithms, and artist’s books. She is educated at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and The Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program, New York. In 2024, she will complete a practice-based artistic PhD developed at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, University of Copenhagen, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology and sponsored by the Novo Nordic Foundation. Her work has been exhibited broadly in Denmark and internationally at institutions such as the Pérez Art Museum, Miami, SculptureCenter, New York, The Studio Museum, Harlem, Bucharest Biennial 7, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Lunds Konsthall, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, and Kunsthal Charlottenborg. Her work is in the collections of the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, Hasselblad Foundation and Malmö Konstmuseum, Sweden,Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, ARKEN Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Collection of Photography, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Roskilde. She has created several large-scale public works in Denmark and abroad. Commissioned by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, she has recently finished a site-specific public work for the Steno Diabetes Center at Aarhus University Hospital.