press release

It is a great pleasure to present an exhibition with a new video project by Gitte Villesen.

The Building The work consists of a video installation and four photo- and text collages. The text from the collages is on display on this homepage as well and includes a list of most of the activities that goes on in The Building, plus interviews with some of the people who use The Building on a daily basis including the artist Dan Peterman who owns the The Building.

The building used to be owned by Ken Dunn and was at that time part of his recycling center called The Resource Center. Dan worked for him while he studied art and at some years later Dan bought the building which he now runs as a community where flexibility and non-center are two key-words. The Building contains a number of different centers of activity, one among them is a bikeshop, which besides repairing used bicycles also functions as a place where local kids can hang out, repair their own bikes and learn skills. Further more there is the editorial office of the magazine The Baffler, Dan's studio, a residency for visiting artists and the land around the buildings has been turned into community gardens for the local residents etc. (Read more about the different activities in the texts from the collages.)

The recordings where made during my residency at the guest studio of The Building in April 2000. The video installation will be presented in such a way that while for example watching the bikeshop there will at intervals be mute sequences showing other parts of the house, so that you will be reminded about the existency of parallel activities and stories. In this piece the focus is on the bikeshop and on Andy who is running the bikeshop. Later on other pieces will follow with another starting point in the story of The Building and the stories and activities that are just touched upon in this first piece.

Besides a remarkable interest in recycling, local responsibility and organic food it is characteristic for the Building that you step into a world, where initative to change the concrete social context is combined with an interest and practice within art. My project is in continuation of earlier works like 'Søren Wellings Small Town Museum' and 'Ingeborg the Busker Queen' where I have focused on people who have developed their own set of rules/ principles and ideals for how they want to live their life - and who have made an effort to realise it in as far as their current situation allows them to. There is a long way from the busker queen Ingeborg, who lives alone with her rats, parrots and cats in a village in Jutland to the Building on the south side of Chicago, but I hope that the variaty in the gallery of characters and geographic locality underlines the common focus on people who despite culture, education, social repression, economy etc. try to form their life in accordance with their own ideals. Another subject in some previous works has been parallels between social connections in and outside the art world. E.g. 'Kathrine makes them and Bent collects them' which is about a mutual relationship between a producer and an enthusiastic collector of laces, which to some extend can be compared to the relationship between the artist and the art collector. As Dan Peterman has an extensive artistic practice both in and outside The Building these connections between different social worlds will also be part of this work. The benches in the show is borrowed from Dan Peterman, they are made of recycled plastic and is part of his art practice.

I would like to thank Dan Peterman, Andy, and everybody else at The Building. Also I would like to thank Kulturministeriets Udviklingsfond for support. Gitte Villesen, Copenhagen, March 4, 2001

Gitte Villesen - The Building-The Bikeshop-Andy´s Furniture