New installation by Yvette Brackman: Salon des Refusés

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New installation by Yvette Brackman: Salon des Refusés
Juliette Meyer Willumsen, Inkwell with Four Female Figures, 1896.

COPENHAGEN.- This April, SMK presents a new installation featuring works from the museum’s collection. Created by the acclaimed artist Yvette Brackman, the installation arises out of her multi-year research project, which interweaves historical female artists and Jewish cultural history while engaging the museum's art historians in an ongoing dialogue.

Since 2000, American-born Yvette Brackman (b. 1967, New York City) has worked as an artist in Denmark. Her mother and father came to the United States as Jewish dissidents from the Soviet Union. And her own family’s transnational history is often the subject of her art, processed and conveyed through sculpture, performance, video and text.

In the new installation Salon des Refusés, which is part of Brackman’s postdoctoral research project at SMK, she has taken her own history as the starting point for unearthing new stories in the museum’s vast collection encompassing 700 years of visual art. Stories about escape, women’s art history, belonging, transnational artistic culture and cultural assimilation.

‘In this installation I reflect on my relationship with Danish art history and look for an artistic lineage. The SMK collection has a strong national focus, and the history of Jewish artists in Denmark is not represented as such. In my work, I have looked for gaps in the collection, which I have tried to fill by unfolding new stories and by adding relevant works,’ explains Yvette Brackman.

The Salon of the Refused

Brackman’s installation comprises a total of 27 works and is named after the French ‘Salon des Refusés’ of 1863: an exhibition for those artists who had been refused by the juried official Salon. She has selected works ranging from the years 1100 to 1949, all of which somehow represent Jewish history – or the lack thereof – in the SMK collection. Four of the artists featured in the installation are Juliette Meyer Willumsen (1863-1949), Ville Jais-Nielsen (1886-1949), Marie Henriques (1866-1944) and Chana Orloff (1888-1968). For Brackman, these four historical female artists each personify a specific destiny: the defeated, the refugee, the assimilated and the rebel.

Brackman’s installation of works from the collection has been underway since 2020. With the conflict between Hamas and Israel, a number of the exhibition's themes have taken on new topicality. Brackman’s project is rooted in historical events and circumstances, but the current situation illustrates, on several levels, how history and the present are always connected.

Yvette Brackman (b. 1967) holds an MA in art history, an MA in fine art and a certificate in gender studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She was born in New York City, has lived in Denmark since 1999 and became a Danish citizen in 2017. Since 2020, she has been a Mads Øvlisen Postdoctoral Fellow at SMK, working with practice-based research.

Brackman has presented solo and group shows in Denmark and internationally at venues such as O – Overgaden Institute for Contemporary Art, Nikolaj Kunsthal, the Liverpool Biennial and Freies Museum. She was professor and head of the School for Walls and Space at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and has been a visiting professor at the Oslo Academy of Fine Art.

In 2016, SMK acquired a collection of her works entitled AGIT MEM, a series which draws on references to the Russian historical avant-garde and her family’s history as immigrants. In 2022, she was awarded the Danish Arts Foundation’s lifelong grant.

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