Politikens Forhal July 8th – August 5th, 2013
On January 14th 2008 a letter was anonymously delivered to the office of artist group SUPERFLEX. In scrawled blue handwriting the letter stated: “ If you don’t like Danmark. Good bye. Fuck off. Go home…”
The letter’s immediate message was clear – it seemed to be a reaction to SUPERFLEX’S 2002 work Foreigners please don’t leave us alone with the Danes. The work in question was presented as both a mural and as a poster edition. It gained publicity across Denmark when, in 2002, the poster could be seen plastered all around the streets of Copenhagen. Following this the work has been exhibited several times nationally and internationally.
Foreigners please don’t leave us alone with the Danes is part of a long line of works which see SUPERFLEX focus on socio-political and economic events and issues in modern society. Amongst others, the work Rebranding Denmark, from 2007, can be seen as an extension of the same category of works. Here, a digital animated Danish flag is being burnt.
The letter’s sender mimics SUPERFLEX’s use of language and their encouragement to act and/or react, though in a more aggressive tone. An interesting detail in the letter’s outlay is the sender’s use of the Danish ‘a’ where we see Denmark read as Danmark. Consciously or subconsciously this spelling accentuates the letter’s xenophobic standpoint as the rest is written in English. Is it not, therefore, feasible to discuss this letter as being threatening?
This letter and its belligerent tone now becomes an official part of SUPERFLEX’s story as we see it reproduced in blue neon text form. The work, entitled Letter to Superflex, 14 January 2008, will be on display in Politikkens Forhal, Copenhagen until August 5th 2013.
It is indeed not the first time that SUPERFLEX’s art has caused strong reactions. Their work Guaraná Power caused a stir when presented at the Sao Paulo Biennial in 2006. Existing as an appropriated copy of the “Brazilian” soft drink Guaran’a Antártica, SUPERFLEX’s version was developed and produced with the guaraná farmers and stood as an economic counter product and strategy against the multinational companies dominating and swallowing the market. The work was in fact suspended from the biennial as its organizers feared a possible lawsuit from the major soft drink manufacturers the work stood against. In response SUPERFLEX quickly developed a radical self-censorship of the work that highlighted the conflict inside and out-with the installation.
Currently, Foreigners please don’t leave us alone with the Danes and Rebranding Denmark are on display as part of the exhibition The Nordic Model at Malmö Konstmuseum, Sweden. Later this year will see SUPERFLEX present; The Corrupt Show and the Speculative Machine from September 20th – February 2nd at the Fundación/Colección Jumex in Mexico City and Working Title: “A Retrospective Curated by SUPERFLEX” from December 12th – February 9th at Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen.