is the eighth exhibition in Call & Response, a project that activates two window galleries (The Demo Room in Aarhus, Denmark and AirSpace Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent, UK) as sites for collaborative exhibition-making. Call & Response is structured as a back-and-forth exhibition series, where one exhibition is made in direct response to another.
Lise Tovesdatter Skou
’s installation SOLID OBJECTS
centers around a large jar filled with homemade kombucha, which is a fermented tea. Floating at the top of the jar is the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) used to kickstart the fermentation process - a slimy beige blob, sometimes known as the kombucha’s microbial “mother.”
The artist brewed this kombucha three years ago as part of her artistic research project, Trade Test Site, which explores feminist critiques of the political economy. Her kombucha workshop was part of a larger effort to empower people to subvert capitalism by producing their own food at home - an effort targeted especially at women in precarious economic situations, such as artists and single mothers. The SCOBY has since grown wild, slowly overtaking the jar in the years following the workshop.
With SOLID OBJECTS Skou revisits this kombucha and frames it in a new light. She has painted The Demo Room’s walls, ceilings, and floor ultramarine - a specific shade of blue made from the semi-precious stone, lapis lazuli. Historically this blue was used by Renaissance painters to display wealth and status, due to the pigment’s extravagant cost. Here, as a backdrop for the kombucha jar, the blue shrouds the SCOBY in an aura of value. What is the value of homemade food, and the pursuit of sustainable economies, against the oppressive forces of capitalism?
About the artist
Lise Tovesdatter Skou (b. 1966 in Denmark) is an interdisciplinary artist involved in artist-driven research and knowledge sharing projects. She has a strong interest in hidden economies, structures of value and care issues. In her most recent work she deals with female history, the silent figure and hidden structures of mental, social and economic precarity. Current projects include: Are You Listening-Performing the Cure at 68 Art Institute (Copenhagen) (2022), and The Feminist Supermarket at Ormston House (2021) Limerick (IR). Recent publications include: The Emergence of a Manifesto (2019).
Call & Response
Skou developed SOLID OBJECTS in response to the previous exhibition in The Demo Room, Preservation, which was a video installation by Blythe Taylor that put a spotlight on homemade food production using the visual language of 17th Century Dutch still life paintings. Skou and Taylor will continue their visual dialogue with a duo exhibition in the window venue at AirSpace Gallery in October 2021.
Call & Response is curated by Pamela Grombacher, in collaboration with AirSpace Gallery and Galleri Image. The project is supported by the Danish Art Foundation, the City of Aarhus (Kulturudviklingspuljen), Arts Council England, and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.