On my recent trip to Copenhagen, on route to SE Asia, I came across the work of Ibrahim Mahama, which was completely covering the Kunsthal Charlottenborg Gallery buildings exterior. I wanted to write about it because I really loved the meaning behind it and thought it fitted in well with my theme of travel and art! The piece itself is comprised of jute sacks, which have been stitched together to give a very overwhelming and dominating presence.
Outside of the Kunsthal Charlottenborg Gallery
On closer inspection I found a plaque explaining the meaning behind the piece; Ibrahim Mahama considers the ways in which capital and labor are expressed in common materials, stating; “The coal sacks began as an extension of how the body could be looked at. It contains all these systems and makings of original owners, which have been transferred from the bodies creating a link between the two forms.” I love this idea of social imprinting. Many individuals will have handled these sacks in the various forms and uses they will have had over the years.
Close up of the stitching
This piece is also a representation of those people and I love that. It is ambiguous enough to draw you in to find out more and on reflection; the hands that have made and carried these sacks, the distances they have travelled and the coming together of all these elements in this piece to create a wall of hessian is truly impressive. Much like a community of workers, one person (one sack) has little impact, but thousands of workers (of sacks) is a different story. It represents; time, labor, travel, communities and commodities. All in a bunch of stitched together sacks that many just walk by without a second glance.
A beautiful morning stroll through Copenhagen’s centre followed by a tasty lunch to mark the end of my visit!- traditional smørrebrød of beef tartar on the left and cured herring on the right… delicious.