AN ENRAPTURED YEAR
- a project space by Olga Ravn
May 6th 2022 – May 7th 2023
KØS presents the project space AN ENRAPTURED YEAR by the Danish author Olga Ravn. A project space that embodies a year of plant life, providing visitors with the opportunity to experience what a circular concept of time could look like.
For one year, from March 2021 to February 2022, Ravn collected plants growing around Ellebækken Brook in Køge. Local legend has it that this was the meeting place of a group of women accused of witchcraft in a 17th-century court case known as Køge Huskors (‘The Køge Vixen’). Ravn has gathered plants from the area to dye cloth and extract pigments and ink. Parallel to this, she has meticulously gathered and rewritten fragments from the many court records and other sources on the witchcraft trial she has unearthed in local and national archives.
In the 2021 KØS exhibition Hummings Ravn presented the first chapter of the logbook A Memorial for Those Accused of Witchcraft with records of plants and colour samples from the month of March alongside poems and court records on two of the 16 women on trial. The final publication, covering all 12 months and the story of all 16 women, will be released in a collaboration between Ravn and KØS in 2023. But from May 5th visitors can experience the project space AN ENRAPTURED YEAR displaying works by Ravn that are both complete in their own right, as well as part of a larger, wide-ranging artistic process and investigation.
Drawing inspiration from the Wunderkammer and historical cabinets of curiosities, the project is a concentrated accumulation of natural dye plants and pigment samples from a year spent on the banks of the brook, drawings of time across the centuries, and a visual poem bringing fabric samples and multiple simultaneous readings together. Using idiosyncratic time diagrams and pigment samples Ravn combines poems with visual elements, adding a new dimension to her artistic oeuvre – all in a meditation on a small piece of land in Køge and the memories it holds of our shared past.
A large plant-dye project fills an entire wall of the project space, and seeds of historical plants that feature in sources on the witchcraft trial or grow around Ellebækken Brook have been planted in the museum forecourt. Over the coming months, herbs, dye plants and indigenous flowers will grow here, creating a direct connection to the brook and the surrounding urban and rural spaces where the women lived their lives and the trials against them took place.
Drawing inspiration from the art of the early Renaissance, before the distinct art categories we operate with today emerged, Ravn’s project embraces multiple artistic disciplines. The materials she has gathered, processed and systematically arranged form an organic whole, exploring the links between layers of time and different kinds of materiality, challenging previously accepted versions of history, and rediscovering the connections between humankind and our ecology.
Ravn’s project AN ENRAPTURED YEAR is the first venture in KØS’ new exhibition format, which is dedicated to artistic processes and long-term art projects in public space commissioned by the museum. As Denmark’s only museum for art in public spaces, KØS aims to actively foster connections between the museum and the urban and rural spaces that surround it. The initiative is also a way to connect the history of KØS as a museum of sketches to the present, exploring the materials used in artistic processes relating to contexts beyond the walls of the museum.
Photo: “They grew happily, as if unseen by human eyes,” by Olga Ravn