Den uvidende lærer

Listen to podcast about The Ignorant Schoolmaster

Chapter I 11.09.-27.09. Jette Gejl Kristensen med Birthe Steenbech Andersen, Lise Rendbæk, Steffen Holm, Stefi Pedersen, Elsebeth Lerche Olsen and Adam Mønster
Chapter Il 28.09.-11.10. Lisa Nyberg
Chapter Ill 12.10.-25.10. Olga Benedicte
Chapter IV 26.10.-08.11. Jakob Jakobsen med Center for Art and Mental Health (Anna Rieder, Olivia Lund, Simon Egeskov, Nina Bruun, Louise Fritzsche, Claus Poulsen and Birgit Bundesen)
Chapter V 09.11.-22.11. Louise Haugaard Jørgensen translators (Julie Stokkendal, Markus Lantto, Saskia Vogel, Richard Stoiber and Kenn Mouritzen) and performers: Golshid Rokhzan, Minni Katina Mertens, Alex Lehman, Patrick Baurichter

In 1818, a lecturer in French literature at the University of Louvain found that his lectures had become highly popular among a group of students who did not know French. For his part, the lecturer, Joseph Jacotot, could not speak Flemish at all.

As it happened, a bilingual edition of the book Télémaque was published at this time. Jacotot got an interpreter to give the book to the students and asked them to learn the French text with help of the translation. A solution governed by chance, but also – in its own small way, a philosophical experiment of the kind favoured during the Age of Enlightenment.

Jacotot expected to see horrific grammatical errors, perhaps even a total sense of bafflement in the replies received. How could these young people, having received no explanations, have understood and solved the intricacies of a language completely new to them? Never mind – he’d let them try! He wanted to see where this path, accidentally opened, would lead them and what kind of outcome such desperate empiricism would yield. Imagine his surprise at discovering that these students, left to their own devices, had managed their difficult task just as well as many native speakers of French would have done. Was simply wanting to do something enough to be able to do it? Might all human beings potentially be able to understand what others had done and understood?

The French philosopher Jacques Rancière uses the true story of this little experiment as the opening to his book The Ignorant Schoolmaster – Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation. A book that served as the starting point for this exhibition in five chapters.

The book represents a radical break away from traditional teaching methods. In the spirit of the book, the exhibition The Ignorant Schoolmaster seeks to break away from traditional methods of exhibiting and disseminating art. The exhibition is a curatorial experiment that examines how a book may be translated into an art exhibition, exploring the relationships between art, institution and the art experience.

From September to November, visitors will find five different artists taking over Gallery 1 in Kunsthal Aarhus. Each will occupy the gallery for two weeks, creating artistic reactions to the book’s content. The artists have also been asked to involve social groups of their choice in their work.

At the entrance to the exhibition and on the Kunsthal Aarhus website, you will find a programme listing a number of public events associated with the exhibition.

The exhibition is also accompanied by a podcast where you can hear more about the project. The podcast can be enjoyed by means of the headphones provided at the entrance and accessed on our website.

To coincide with the exhibition, Kunsthal Aarhus reissues the book The Ignorant Schoolmaster in collaboration with the publisher Antipyrine. The book is available to buy from Café Kunsthal and on the Antipyrine website.

The Ignorant Schoolmaster is curated by Mikkel Elming.

11.09.-27.09.2020 Chapter I

Listen to podcast about chapter I of The Ignorant Schoolmaster

Jette Gejl Kristensen with Birthe Steenbech Andersen, Lise Rendbæk, Steffen Holm, Stefi Pedersen, Elsebeth Lerche Olsen and Adam Mønster

Jette Gejl Kristensen, Chapter 1 of The Ignorant Schoolmaster, 2020. Photo: Mikkel Kaldal
Jette Gejl Kristensen, Chapter 1 of The Ignorant Schoolmaster, 2020. Photo: Mikkel Kaldal

29.09.-11.10.2020 Chapter Il

Lisa Nyberg

In the second chapter, the gallery is taken over by a large textile work by Lisa Nyberg. The work will provide a framework for so-called critique classes organised by the city's art schools. Critique classes are a form of teaching that is widespread at academies throughout the world, where the students learn to talk about art without judging whether a work is good or bad.

Lisa Nyberg about the exhibition:

"The Sling is a space of study held by its participants. It is a curved space, a holding space, a carrying space. A sling to hold and support what might otherwise break. It is a simple support structure of rope and fabric that is held in suspension by the hand of one to eight people. Entering the space is taking the risk that it might all fall down. At any moment we can let it go, release the tension, undo the curve. We will have to agree on how to hold space for each other.

The Sling is mainly meant to be used for critique classes – a form of teaching essential to arts education. This is where we share our work with each other and subject our doing to judgement. It is where we learn how to talk about art, how to analyse it, fight for it, understand it through the eyes and ears of others. It is a tense and vulnerable space. It is also an arena where many of the struggles for the definition of what art is, and can be, plays out; for the right to artistic freedom, for complex and nuanced work, for work that holds resistance and opacity, for experimentation and failure.

In the spirit of Jacques Rancière, we will become each other's ignorant schoolmasters. We will “... instruct the learned one as well as the ignorant one: by verifying that he is always searching. Whoever looks always finds. He doesn’t necessarily find what he was looking for, and even less what he was supposed to find. But he finds something new to relate to the thing that he already knows.” With The Sling, I make an argument for the suspension of judgement as a fundamental pedagogical effort. The process of understanding artistic work comes to a halt the moment we judge. It marks the beginning of the end of the conversation. So it is important that we extend that period of time and expand that space as much as possible. That we hold the suspension. The many ways to do this will be explored during the exhibition with a group of local artists and art students"."

13.10.-25.10.2020 Chapter Ill

Olga Benedicte

27.10.-08.11.2020 Chapter IV

Jakob Jakobsen with Center for Art and Mental Health: Anna Rieder, Frejahassel Nanet Sommer, Simon Egeskov, Nina Bruun, Louise Fritzsche, Claus Poulsen and Birgit Bundesen

10.11.-22.11.2020 Chapter V

Louise Haugaard Jørgensen with translators: Julie Stokkendal, Markus Lantto, Saskia Vogel, Richard Stoiber and Kenn Mouritzen

18.11.2020 Public evaluation

Evaluation with all the artists.

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