Etage Projects
Borgergade 15E
DK – 1300 Copenhagen

Tuesday–Friday: 12–5PM
Saturday: 12–4PM
Sunday–Monday: Closed


Institution is Something We All Receive at Birth 15 May – 12 Jun 2024

In the Danish visual artist Ditte Gantriis’ exhibition “Institution is Something We All Receive at Birth” in Politikens Forhal, finely crafted workmanship and heartfelt motifs are incorporated and set in contrast to the foyer’s cool, institutional framework. In this way, the artist transforms the foyer into an exhibition space where the institution and intimate care are starkly juxtaposed.

Through both older and newer works, the exhibition functions as a cohesive installation that comments on a fact relevant to all of us in this part of the world: for better or worse, we are enveloped by authorities and institutions that register, monitor, and take care of us from cradle to grave. It is this fundamental condition that the exhibition addresses, emerging as an artistic reaction to and processing of it. Specifically, Gantriis is concerned with how institutional intervention in our lives affects and allows space for intimate caregiving relationships.

The strained conditions for close caregiving is the recurring theme in the exhibition’s various works. This is illustrated, for example, as a merciless encounter between something emotionally fragile and a hard practicality, when deeply felt poems are presented on washable, laminated sheets. Similarly, it appears equally intrusive and inconsiderate of the delicacy with which the meticulously hand-modeled silver reliefs are executed to present them on practical office felt surfaces.

Ditte Gantriis’ works particularly focus on the intimate and private relationships surrounding motherhood, as she is interested in the conditions for maintaining emotional closeness in this space, separated from and outside the regulatory net of authorities. With this thematic and motivational starting point, Gantriis also more broadly questions whether it is even possible to create space for caregiving and privacy free from institutional interference, and the next question she poses is whether institutional care is, after all, better than no care at all.


The exhibition is supported by the Danish Arts Foundation.
Text by Tone Bonnen:
Images by Jan Søndergaard
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