Tue Greenfort

Tue Greenfort (b. Holbäk, Denmark, 1973) seeks out hidden corners, non-places where the boundary between “nature” and “culture” are blurred. This summer Tue Greenfort will present several existing works at Witte de With, alongside two new pieces.

Witte de With presents the first major solo exhibition of the Danish artist Tue Greenfort. Adopting a cross disciplinary ‘at times quasi-scientific‘ approach, Greenfort works with diverse materials to explore ideas about the environment and recycling. He situates his work on the blurry boundary between “nature” and “culture” and investigates the ways in which the natural world manifests itself in today’s highly urbanized cities.

Greenfort’s practice bears comparison to both environmental and post-conceptual art, focusing on the flow of ideas and materials in the world. He often works on a small scale, whilst keeping sight of the larger repercussions of all our actions. He uses seemingly simple objects and interventions to reveal the many structures shaping our environment. On previous occasions, he has included animals in his work ‘a pathway for ants leading to a specially prepared meal (Social Organism, 2001), or a camera triggered by foxes (Daimlerstr. 38, 2001)‘ displaying their ability to act as a metaphor for human society.

His exhibition here at Witte de With is neither a retrospective nor a presentation of solely new commissions, but a new configuration of his work. Interested in exploring the idea of the exhibition as a metaphorical ecosystem, he has installed his work in a way that reveals the inter-relatedness of his diverse projects.

In the run up to this exhibition, Greenfort spent considerable time exploring the local environment. Herbarium of Origins (2006) brings together the stickers found on fruit that inform us of the country in which it was grown, with pressed foreign plants found in Rotterdam’s harbour (belonging to the collection of the city’s Natural History Museum). This work links the products knowingly imported into Holland with the less visible side-effects of this global trade, which has evolved over several hundred years, inadvertently bringing many new species to this country.

Incorporating regional influences into his ongoing interest in the way that man shapes and understands nature, Greenfort has created a large installation consisting of an inverted greenhouse from which we can watch bumblebees in action. The bees ‘used for pollination in commercial flower and fruit production‘ are ordered by the box from specialised biological companies. In Public flower pollination (2006), they are brought together with a flower arrangement typical to road junctions in Rotterdam. Here Greenfort plays with ideas of inside/outtside and natural/artificial, creating a tightly controlled environment.

His fascination with the cultivated Dutch landscape and with the aesthetics of agricultural production can also be seen in the series of photographs created during his research for this exhibition (all 2006).

Several of Greenfort’s recent projects have explored how supposedly public natural resources are commodified and sold. Here, his focus is upon the commercialization of drinking water and our increasing use of branded water. His Chaudfontaine Condensation Cube (2006), after a work by Hans Haacke, employs bottled water sold by the Coca Cola company in place of the distilled water used in Haacke’s original, a clear example of the way in which Greenfort combines ecological concerns with conceptual art.

Designer water – solid, liquid, gas (2006) is a piece which embodies processes presented in an earlier collage with the same subtitle. This way of reworking existing projects and adapting his own projects to fit a new context illustrates Greenfort’s interest in recycling ideas. Also a reconfiguration of an earlier work is Water cooler (2006). This uses frozen fruit juice to cool water brought up from the point in Witte de With's cellar where it enters the building. The intervention into the functional architecture of the institution takes Greenfort’s exhibition beyond the gallery space, integrating his work into the building’s infrastructure.

Greenfort asked Witte de With to switch its power supply to ennvironmentally friendly sources for the duration of his exhibition. Subsequent conversations with energy supplier ENECO ‘presented by Greenfort in the exhibition’ reveal the red tape that surrounds such an alteration. His project explores corporate social responsibility and aspects of value in energy production: “green” energy is not technically worth more than “gray” energy, but its extra costs are due to the fact that energy is now a “product” on the free market. The electricity used by Witte de With would remain, in fact, unchanged, but ENECO would buy more energy from sustainable sources. After much discussion, it proved to be impossible to switch the institution to green energy for the six weeks of the exhibition, but instead ENECO offered to make the switch for 2007 and to reimburse Witte de With for some of the extra cost. However discussions are still underway. If this suceeds, Greenfort’s work From gray to green (2006) will remain invisible but present for an entire year, altering almost imperceptibly both the day-to-day running of the institution and visitors’ experience of its exhibitions.

The exhibition is curated by Florian Waldvogel and Zoë Gray and will occupy the entire second floor of Witte de With.
It is accompanied by the book Tue Greenfort co-published by WdW Publishers and Lukas & Sternberg, featuring essays (in German and English) by Maria Mühle, Jesper Hoffmeyer and an interview with the artist by Zoë Gray.
ISBN: 0-9745688-0-5.

Greenfort (b. 1973, Holbäk, Denmark) lives and works in Berlin. Recent solo exhibitions include Kunstverein Arnsberg, Palais für Aktuelle Kunst in Glückstadt and Johann König gallery in Berlin (all 2005). This year his work is presented in the group show Don Quijote at Witte de With, in Apocalypse Focus Group at ALP galleri Peter Bergman (Stockholm), in 4 at Anna Helwing Gallery (L.A.) and in the forthcoming Momentum, Nordic Festival of contemporary art (Norway). He recently completed an ISP residency in Oslo and will soon carry out a commission with London's RSA Art & Ecology program.

Friday 23 June 2006
3 p.m. Press preview of exhibition.
5 p.m. Panel discussion: crossovers between art and ecology, with Tue Greenfort, Raimar Stange (art critic, Berlin) and Remko Andeweg (City Ecology Bureau, Rotterdam). Chaired by Florian Waldvogel (curator of the exhibition). English spoken. Free entry.
6 p.m. Opening of the exhibition to the public. Reception with drinks, all welcome.
7 p.m. Introductory speech by Nicolaus Schafhausen (director).



Supported By

Tema Celeste