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Indepth Arts News:

"Andrea Jespersen and Ben Woodeson"
2004-09-18 until 2004-10-17
Overgaden - Institute of Contemporary Art
Copenhagen, , DK Denmark

Andrea Jespersen and Ben Woodeson are exhibiting together at Overgaden or the first time. In this exhibition they both have the book The Science of Superheroes (2002) as their starting point. All though the two artists have very different ways of practice, they both examine and describe the widespread phenomenon superheroes. Andrea Jespersen captures the walls of the room, on which she in her quiet and accurate way concentrates on "superpowers". Through objects and paper she has extracted and concentrated the superpowers from comics, but isolated and let alone the superpowers in her work also deals with power and manifestations of power on a general level.

Jespersen also tries to find superpowers outside the colourful universe of the comics, whereby her work becomes a sort of meta-reflection on our need to believe in the existence of superpowers and superheroes. In this way her work also deals with superheroes and superpowers as a cultural phenomenon and an actual necessity, whereby her work in this exhibition like her practice generally, comments on our culture, our habits, our knowledge and faith. The manifestations of fantasy in the comics with the ultimate hero is a useful instrument for an understanding of our culture and conditions of life.

Ben Woodeson focuses in the exhibition not on the superheroes but on their dark counterpart the supervillains. From the comic X-Men Woodeson examines the character of Magneto and his power to manipulate metals. The supervillain carries a burning hate against the human race and with his powers he tries to wipe out the entire human race from the face of the earth. With low-tech constructions and other devices Woodeson attempts to recreate the power of Magneto. Among other things is exhibited a device that attempts to physically turn the gallery 180 degrees - just like Magneto tried to turn the poles of the earth in order to make the mutants the dominant race on the earth instead of the humans. Woodeson has in this way taken his starting point in a technical designing of devices that are able to imitate the powers of the superhero. These devices imply different moral interpretations of the actions the devices - if they worked - could make, both morally, indelicately and neutrally. These Interpretations basically depend on the viewer and on the intentions behind the experiments. In this way the exhibition of the works by Ben Woodeson and Andrea Jespersen is not only a playful fascination and exploration of superheroes and supervillains but also a serious statement that deals with cultural and ethic questions that are part of the debate about the possession of supernatural powers.

Text by Karin Hindsbo, Overgaden.

Ben Woodeson
Altered Beast
In too Deep
RED Gallery, Hull, 2001.
Mega Drive, TV, Bath, Safeway Saver's Tomato Soup, Copper and Zinc Electrodes.

The piece consisted of a bath of cheap tomato soup which generated the power for an old computer game and B+W TV. The computer game was playable by the viewers.

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