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FRESH EYES – International Artists Rethink Aarhus was a collaboration between Galleri Image and the Aarhus Centre for Literature. The project resulted in an art book, an exhibition at Galleri Image, photo and text installations in the urban spaces of Aarhus as well as readings and artist talks. The FRESH EYES exhibition took place from October 12th to 29th, and was curated by Gitte Broeng, author and curator. The exhibition was a part of Aarhus 2017’s official programme, as well as an occasion to celebrate Galleri Image’s 40th anniversary.

The exhibition opened on Thursday October 12th at 4 pm to 6 pm, where the curator Gitte Broeng held the opening speech, Andri Snær Magnason read from his poems, and there was be some refreshments. Additionally, some of the artists was be present.

The project was initiated in 2013 and proceed until 2017. During this period of time, eleven international photographers and seven writers have been invited to Aarhus. Here they have experienced the city, entered into dialogues with the local population, and afterwards presented their artistic ideas on how to rethink Aarhus.

The London-based artist Tom Lovelace (UK) was the first photographer to visit the city in August 2013 in connection with the project. In December 2013, the Portuguese artist Inês d’Orey (PRT) paid Aarhus a visit as well to prepare her visual contribution to the FRESH EYES project. In August 2014, the Irish artist Miriam O’Connor (IRL) visited the city in order to produce her part of the project, and in the end of October, Aarhus had the pleasure of welcoming the German artist Thomas Kellner (DEU).

In 2015 a special focus was directed towards contributions from artists and writers from the Nordic countries. Maja Ingerslev (DK), Markus Henttonen (F), and Hyun-Jin Kwak (S) documented and interpreted the city through the photographic medium, while the literary reinterpretations were carried out by Andri Snær Magnason (IS), Jóanes Nielsen (FO), and Niviaq Korneliussen (GL). Thomas Kellner also returned to Aarhus in 2015 to finish his project. The French Oulipo-poet Jacques Jouet also visited the Jutlandic city to finish his contribution, consisting of poems written in the city busses of Aarhus.

On November 19, 2015, Galleri Image and the Aarhus Center for Literature conducted the seminar FRESH EYES on Urban Space in collaboration with Aarhus Center for Visual Art. The seminar presented acclaimed international speakers. There were presentations by photographers, writers, and architectual researchers, who in collaboration examined the relationship of art with the city and its spaces. Amongst other things, the seminar addressed the hidden potentials and tensions in the physical urban spaces.

In 2016 a special focus was on artists from non-European countries. Artists and writers from radically different cultural and geographical backgrounds visited the city in order to participate in the project with visual and literary contributions. Galleri Image and the Aarhus Centre for Literature invited the writers Tsitsi Dangarembga(ZW), Abdellah Taia (MA), Amitabha Bagchi (IN), as well as  photo artists Rana El Nemr (EG), Anushree Fadnavis (IN) and Teresa Meka (GH) to Aarhus. Furthermore, Miriam O’Connor returned to the city to continue her work on hervisual contributions to the project.

On Friday November 25th 2016, Galleri Image, the Aarhus Centre for Literature, and the Aarhus Center for Visual Art hosted the open seminar FRESH EYES on Art and Literature in the Public Space at Godsbanen in Aarhus. The seminar addressed how everything from municipal art projects to graffiti and poems on gables have an impact on our perception of urban spaces, and how the city can be utilised for artistic purposes.

To read more about the individual artists follow the project’s Facebook page here:

FRESH EYES was supported by:
Aarhus 2017, City of Aarhus, the Nordic Culture Fund, Bikuben Foundation, The Danish Centre for Culture and Development, Grosserer L. F. Foghts Fond,  Institut Français du Danemark, Camões Instituto da Cooperação e da Língua Portugal, Færøernes Kulturfond  the Stibo Foundation, and the Danish Arts Foundation.

Photo by Miriam O’Connor, Lakeside Illusion, 2017.