Nanna Rosenfeldt-Olsen (Denmark, 1985) works with performance and installation to unsettle the hierarchies between subject and object, investigating nature and fem- ininity as anthropogenic constructs designed with explicit bias. Her work exposes the historical, colonial, or ontological other as attempts to de ne the unstable self in relation to a stable non-self and the role of ordering systems and institutions. Rosenfeldt-Olsen received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2018) and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion & Textile from The Design school of Kolding (2010). She has exhibited and done performances in the US, Germany and Denmark.
As a child growing up in the far north of Denmark my family operated a small theatre; during this time I was constantly moving in the landscapes of the real and the imaginary. Looking back, I am now seeking a way into this landscape. Is it memory or is it imagination? I use performance and installation to unsettle the hierarchies between subject and object; investigating nature, history, family and femininity as anthropogenic constructs designed with explicit bias. Navigating these structures, my work exposes the historical, colonial, or ontological otheras attempts to define the unstable self in relation to a stable non-self and the role of ordering systems and institutions (like language and museums) in framing these subjective attempts to define the self as objective definitions of the other.
While working in Denmark my practice focused on the socially constructed roles of gender and family systems. In the film project In a Family (2014) I collaborated with my immediate family members to question familial roles and the instability of these relationships over time, using the spaces that witness these emotions and connections to visualize this change. Subsequent projects in Denmark such as Burden of the Sea (2017) connect this landscape to larger global systems and contextualize human action within a larger terrestrial conversation.
Bringing my practice to Chicago the scope of my work expanded to explore the production of history and cultural identity. Through a series of performances including I Was Born In The Old World, But Now I Am Here (2017), I began connecting the interpersonal relationships that had informed my previous work to larger questions about positionality and culturally inherited identity. In The Old and the New Stone Age (2018) the focus shifts from an exploration of cultural identity and systems of organization toward the institutionalized construction of these classification systems and the subjective authorship of history.
Now back in Denmark again, I continue investigating the connection between personal, cultural, and universal experience and the social and historic structures that inform these experiences. In my recent performance Get Your Dust Here(2018) I explore the value and integrity of museumsinstitutions by selling dust collected in 8 different Copenhagen based museum. In conversation with every singular prospect client we negotiatea price based on their individual connections.In each of these projects I investigate the connection between personal, cultural, and universal experience and the social and historic structures that inform these experiences.
These performances visualize our personal and collective desire to connect to the past through ritual and object histories, yet symbolic actions — such as suspending myself and the objects on the same horizontal plane, occupying the same strata — attempt to return a degree of autonomy to the objects, unbalancing the hierarchy of subject over object and demonstrating the role of concepts such as historical, cultural, and genetic authenticity as tools to reinforce the idea of the historic, cultural, and biological other.