Galschiøt's activities in 2017
We had a large number of visitors during the winter at our open Gallery / Work studio in Odense, Denmark. We had finished 4 out of 7 ‘harbour workers’ for Denmark's largest working monument and curious visitors came by to see how it got along. Also one could see the huge sculpture Fundamentalism at the entrance to the gallery.
Half a million shares on Facebook! A quiet day in February we suddenly encountered a facebook picture of Galschiøt's sculpture Survival of the Fattest. We knew that the sculpture was popular but that it had been shared a quarter of a million times (today 544,591 times) in Brazil alone came as a shock to us. The image is one of the most shared on facebook and the most shared image of a sculpture on facebook ever! See for yourselves on Facebook!
The impaled Polar Bear, Unbearable, became part of a climate art exhibition in the Danish city of Hammel.
In the meantime, Gallery Galschiøt super volunteer Aske Kreilgaard toured Denmark, telling about his experiences in the now closed refugee camp in Calais also known as 'The Jungle'. His lectures have been an eye opener for a lot of people.
March became one of the less fortunate months at the gallery.
Our 30,000-liter galvanic tank leaked, so we had to fill all the fluid into large containers so that it could be repaired. Fortunately, we were prepared for such accidents, so neither employees nor the Danish sewers got harmed. But we had to postpone a lot of our planned work which was nearly a catastrophe.
Later a sneaky thief tried to steal the gallery van. The thief could not start it, but the car was completely damaged, and we had to acquire a new car which is rather expensive in Denmark.
April and May
In May, a lot of things happened so we better start with the funniest story.
As a giant sculpture by the Danish artist Cronhammar was mistakenly scrapped, Gallery Galschiot debuted (officially) as art-thieves. Jens Galschiot went to the 'crime scene' and took some parts of the broken sculpture. The remains will be used for an 'idiot award' – given to people that do something really foolish.
In New York, a small model of the impaled polar bear became part of the C02 Earth Day Bike Ride. It was the Danish Green party that had gone to the USA to fight for the climate cause and they brought the polar bear sculpture.
We opened a new exhibition with the huge sculpture Fundamentalism in Holbæk, Denmark. During the summer, religion and culture were discussed all around the city and the project was used for education in schools and at institutions.
Remember Tiananmen: As always, we started June by sending a collection of articles from the days surrounding the massacre at Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989. In China it is forbidden to talk about the massacre and a big part of the Chinese citizens don’t know anything about it. However after the massacre, our friends in Hong Kong's Democratic Alliance gathered the press coverage from the days of the massacre. We have scanned this material and as we send it out, we urge that it is shared (especially with Chinese friends) to make sure that they know what really happened. The articles can be downloaded here.
Documenta 14 - The Refugee Ship and the campaign ‘To Arrive Safely’. We chose to mark the world's most prominent art exhibition Documenta14 in Kassel with a refugee boat with 80 copper refugees on the Fulda River, which passes through the city of Kassel. The event marked the start of the campaign To Arrive Safely and Do not Feed Your Inner Beast. Also we published a Manifesto on the role of artists in a globalized world. The events were not part of documenta14 but rather an urgent wake-up call to the established art world to become an active player in the world's development.
July and August
Fundamentalism Exhibition in the European Parliament. Finally, with MEP Bendt Bendtsen's help, we managed to display parts of the Fundamentalism project right in the middle of the European Parliament. Earlier on Martin Schulz had banned the exhibition of the bigger sculpture, so we set up the smaller sculptures The Pillars of Scriptures inside parliaments. For a whole week we were there, discussing religion and culture with the EU parliamentarians. More about the project.
After 3 years of work, we erected Denmark's largest worker monument at the port of Aarhus. It was a huge relief for us all as the project had put a lot of pressure on the gallery, its employees and artist Jens Galschiot. On the other hand, it was a fantastic varnissage with a Symphony Orchestra and speeches by the mayor and several other prominent people. We were all happy and proud of the work – in fact we still are.
September was a good month to visit the gallery in Odense for several reasons.
First, Gallery Galschiot was filled with vaginas. Yes, nothing less! While we had invaded documenta14 in Kassel in June, we met two girls who offered help at the workshop. It was a tattoo artist from Venezuela and an art therapist from Germany, and together they are Rolling Tattoo Therapy. They became involved in an old project of making "artistic poetic vaginas" that is to try to capture poetry in the female genitals. So there were huge wax and copper vaginas everywhere in the gallery.
Later, we invited to an international concert at the gallery with Rasmus Lyberth from Greenland and Bola Suriana from Mexico.
After three good months in Holbæk we moved the big fundamentalism sculpture to Vejle where it was debated in schools, libraries and in the city's public space.
In September we had two conferences at Gallery Galschiot, which is becoming more and more popular as an exciting and inspiring place where organizations and companies can meet.
The refugee ships' extensive tour around German ended in Berlin with a huge party for everybody involved. It has been some intense months for the German organization Outlaw.die Stiftung who has been in charge of the campaign. They have visited 24 German cities with two refugee ships and the activists have lived on the ships to look after the copper refugee sculptures. During the trip they experienced right winged nationalist demonstrations against the project and much more.
November and COP23
The impaled polar bear was exhibited in a park next to the conference center, along with Galschiøt's sculptures of climate refugees and the smoking Statue of Liberty ‘Freedom to Pollute’.
At the Demonstration, we had hired Donald Trump to drive in an open public carriage, with the 6m tall smoking statue dragging behind, followed by an army of polar bears, including a polar-dog and a polar bear baby!
We ended the year bringing two of our biggest sculptures back to the gallery for exhibition throughout the winter. Namely the impaled polar bear and the sculpture Fundamentalism. So now there is plenty to see for visitors of the gallery.
Last but not least, we began to model a huge f**k -finger to support Denmark's national charity event. The sculpture is a comment to the politicians who tell us how helpful it is that we collect millions to the world's poor, while they have cut billions (100 times more) from the government funded development aid.
And so the circle has ended as we're back where we started.
May we all have a fantastic 2018