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Solo Award Winner 2019 - Samaneh Roghani (IR)

Artist talk Wednesday February 6 at 5pm at Kunsthal Charlottenborg (free entrance), moderated by Thomas Lindvig, artist and chairman of the board at Charlottenborg Foundation. The talk will be held in English.

The jury has decided to award this year’s Solo Award to the Iranian artist Samaneh Roghani (b.1984) for her work Barzakh (Limbo). Roghani has created a very special and important work, which presents an innovative approach to its constituent media (video, sculpture, installation) and notably manages to render the artist’s personal story moving, relevant, and significant. A unanimous jury was captivated by her ability to work formally and spatially while also convincingly and stringently coupling this to the work’s statement and content.

The artist made the following comment on the work: ‘This work is about emigrating and the fact that a person like me may leave her country to have a better life and the freedom to object against inequalities and can end up getting rid of her fears about doing exactly that.’

The moving tale seems powerful, because Roghani is capable of translating her own private story into something that is both universal and important. And she does it in a work where viewers practically experience the theme on their own bodies: through the long corridor where our shadows become part of the video image of wandering people. We pass a number of ropes (with sinister associations to imprisonment and execution), but we do get through to the other side. The work interacts immersively with the gallery space. Precisely because the work incorporates viewers’ movements as part of its setting in time, the thought-provoking and menacing sides of the work only slowly become apparent to us. They get to us as we proceed through the sensuous passage. The impact is very strong, indeed.

The work eminently exemplifies the best of a Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition. It navigates cleverly and sure-footedly across the media of video, sculpture, and architecture in the form of a spatial installation while the actual relevance and sincerity of the narrative touch us via the artist’s sensibility and feel for the aesthetic. It deserves all the awards in the world.

Anna Krogh, curator, Brandts – Museum of Art and Visual Culture