Gitte Villesen, Ingeborg The Busker Queen, 1999
Gitte Villesen, Ingeborg The Busker Queen, 1999

Bringing together simple and unpretentious imagery, Gitte Villesen's video works are narratives on everyday life and the personal and social background of various persons from her circle of friends and acquaintainces. The videos never violate the personal integrity or dignity of those portrayed. On the contrary, they document the individual appeal of persons who are capable of counteracting the structured demands of everyday life by playfully living out their fantasies.

Gitte Villesen, Kathrin Makes Them and Bent Collects Them, 1999
Gitte Villesen, Kathrin Makes Them and Bent Collects Them, 1999

She created most of the videos in her home town Ansager and in Copenhagen where Gitte Villesen lives and works. Her actors are always acquaintances or friends whom the artist portrays in a reserved and perceptive way. Their views of life, personal reminiscences and feelings are the theme of these videos. In her most recent pieces Villesen is showing in the exhibition at the Secession, Kathrine, Bent, Ingeborg and Soren Welling. Kathrine makes lace and Bent collects it. Ingeborg seems to be obsessed with curios and strange natural phenomena. The meanwhile deceased Soren Welling created his own little world in his small-town museum. It is an almost complete reconstruction of a small Danish town with a church, school, theater, traditional furnishings - everything that added up to a rural town at the end of the last century. The actors share a love for the Danish province which has something idiosyncratic and immediate about it. This is not just underscored by the simple low-tech form of the video presentation but also by Gitte Villesen herself. She is always present in the video works as a detached observer and camera woman. While her remarks, with which she encourages the actors to say something about their passions do not determine the course of events they do point them in a certain direction.

The artist used this exhibition at the Secession as an occasion to produce her first comprehensive publication on her work from the last years. Gitte Villesen wrote a text to accompany all her pieces in which she describes her encounters with people and the conditions in which these encounters took place. In another longer text the Danish author Sanne Kofod Olsen addresses the idea of the "local" in Gitte Villesen's works.

Gitte Villesen, 1999 GITTE VILLESEN

authors: Matthias Herrmann, Sanne Kofod Olsen, Gitte Villesen
bilingual. Secession 1999


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GITTE VILLESEN was born in 1965 in Ansager, Denmark. She lives and works in Copenhagen. Selected exhibitions: Manifesta 2, Luxembourg (1998); "Come Closer - Art of the Nineties from Scandanavia and its Precursors", Liechtensteinsche Staatliche Kunstsammlung, Vaduz (1998): "New Documentaries", Museum of Modern Art, New York (1997); "Electronic Undercurrents", The National Museum of Fine Arts, Copenhagen (1996); "Tre gange Ludo", Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen (1995); "Opening Show", Galleri Struts, Oslo (1994); "Fibillet", Nansengade, Copenhagen (1993) Selected bibliography: Lars Bang Larsen, "Gitte Villesen - Existential Geographies", in exhibition catalogue "Come Closer", Liechtensteinsche Staatliche Kunstsammlung, Vaduz (1998); Nicolai Wallner, "Every Time I See You", in: Hyperfoto, No. 2 (1995); Angelika Kindermann, "Kunst der Welt aus dem Norden", in: Art, No. 8 (1996); Lars Bang Larsen, "Nudity and Small Talk", in: Index, No. 1/96


For further information and photographic material please contact:
Katharina Schniebs
Secession, Association of Visual Artists Vienna Secession
Friedrichstraße 12, 1010 Vienna
Tel: +43-1-5875307-21, Fax: +43-1-5875307-34