SUPERFLEX the Danish collective who have currently taken over the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern have repurposed and donated their Hospital Equipment, installation originally presented at von Bartha, S-chanf in February 2017, to Salamieh Hospital, Syria. Hospital Equipment will now be used by staff and patients. Working closely with the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) Syria and the hospital to identify what is needed, SUPERFLEX sourced necessary surgical tools – a mobile lamp, a surgeon‘s table and a surgical bearing – which were then exhibited within the gallery space. Following the exhibition, the tools – conceived as a single artwork – have now been received in Syria.
The equipment is the most advanced we have in the hospital
Dr. Maher Aboumayaleh, the manager of AKDN Health Programme in Syria, explains: “In these times of crisis, Salamieh’s public hospital is under more and more pressure. So, the hospital equipment arrived just in time. The equipment is the most advanced we have in the hospital and it has widened the hospital’s capacity to perform more advanced procedures. Salamieh is known as a diverse district with a population of app. 280.000. Urban, rural and Bedouin citizens with mixed Shia and Sunni backgrounds all live here where the hospital serves everyone equally”.
Setting the scene of a life and death situation inside the von Bartha gallery space, the work initially positioned the viewer as voyeur, with SUPERFLEX calling into question our relationships towards seemingly remote world crises. Moreover, the work challenges the concept of contemporary art practice, collections and ownership; SUPERFLEX establishes a platform where a gesture is activated when the art collector purchases the installation. The collector is never in possession of the objects, since they were transported directly from the exhibition to Salamieh Hospital. The collector does, however, get a certificate of authenticity and a photograph of the installation, as a form of documentation of the work’s existence in the art world.
SUPERFLEX was founded in 1993 by Jakob Fenger (1968), Rasmus Nielsen (1969) and Bjørnstjerne Christiansen (1969). They live and work in Copenhagen. SUPERFLEX describe their projects as Tools. A Tool is a model or proposal that can actively be used and further utilized and modified by the user.
The members of SUPERFLEX all graduated from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. They often lecture at internationally renowned cultural institutions and universities and occasionally take on professorships teaching Bachelor and Masters students.
SUPERFLEX are the Tate Turbine Hall Hyundai commission for 2017. They have previously held solo exhibitions at the MAC Santiago, Chile (2016); von Bartha, Basel (2015); Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (2013); Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C (2010); Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2010); South London Gallery, London (2009), Kunsthalle Basel (2005) and REDCAT, Los Angeles (2004).
SUPERFLEX have appeared in group exhibitions such as WE transFORM – Design between Dystopia and Utopia at Neues Museum, Nuremberg (2016); The Spirit of Utopia at Whitechapel Gallery, London (2013) and Image Employment at MoMA PS1, New York (2013). Their work features in public art institutions such as MoMA (New York, USA), Queensland Art Gallery (Brisbane, Australia); Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Humlebæk, Denmark) and Kunsthaus Zurich, (Switzerland). SUPERFLEX have participated in international arts biennials such as the Shanghai Biennale, China (2016); Gwangju Biennial, Korea (2013); São Paulo Biennial, Brazil (2006); the Istanbul Biennial, Turkey (2005) and in the Utopia Station exhibition at the Venice Biennale (2003). Current and forthcoming exhibitions include the FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais (January – August 2017) and the Kunsthalle Tübingen (March – April 2017).
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