Marika Seidler:
Human Animal

16. November 2013 to 26. January 2014

Nikolaj Kunsthal, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Centre, for the first time presents a major solo exhibition of works by Marika Seidler. Human Animal is the result of her investigation over many years of the creating of identity, subcultures and inter-species communication, set in a hybrid field of staged documentary, anthropology and visual art.

With her exhibition, Seidler focuses partly on how man relates to animals and challenges the dynamics at play between the two, and partly on the dynamic exchange between the human and the artificial. This is presented, among other ways, in three brand new video installations.

With Horses

With Horses is a five-track panoramic video installation in which a group of managing directors are being taught management strategy through the interaction with a flock of horses. These men thus have to test their management skills on the horses that respond instinctively and will only be led if the managing director possesses a convincing body language and is able to communicate non-verbally. The film was recorded in cinemascope with its western-like extra width. The large projections cause the viewer to get extremely close to the situation in which instincts such as fear or trust determine action and replace each other by turns.

High on Hogs

The video installation High on Hogs was produced in Denmark and the US. In America, “hog callers” refer to persons, often women, who in local fairgrounds compete in calling pigs together and imitating them. Pigs are very sensitive to sounds; and when once they roamed the woods it was indeed a hog caller who would bring them together. Hog calling is about using the power of one’s voice and almost identifying with the sounds and the nature of the animal. It takes courage to be a part of a hog calling competition: one has to let go of inhibitions and let it all out – in contrast to how women are traditionally brought up to be. In this installation, women practise hog calling, screaming and calling out to personify a pig voice. The spectator in the room is surrounded by these animal-like voices calling out. On a separate screen a group of pigs can be seen, reacting to the sounds of the hog callers.


Mothers-Others is a video installation of three projections and also exists in a short version, commissioned by The Danish Arts Council, The Danish Arts Foundation, the Danish Agency for Culture, and ”DR”, the Danish broadcasting corporation, to be premiered on its channel ”DR K” in October 2013. It is a film about silicone babies, a phenomenon that arose in the US of the 1990’s.

For some of these doll-”mothers”, the dolls are delicate ornamental objects, whereas to others they represent play or the children they themselves never had. The video offers insight into this fascination with the life-like – which, however, remains vastly different from the living. It investigates a deep-seated maternal instinct that for many is authentic, even though the doll children are artificial. 

Se stills from With Horses and Mothers-Others below.