SUPERFLEX: We Are All in the Same Boat
SUPERFLEX: We Are All in the Same Boat, the first large-scale exhibition of the critically acclaimed Danish collective SUPERFLEX in the United States, focuses on the group’s playfully subversive installations and films that deal with the economy, financial crisis, corruption, migration, and the possible consequences of global warming.
The title of the exhibition, We Are All in the Same Boat, sets its tone and theme. The figure of speech envisions passengers together in a ship at sea, and a set of shared risks that may put them in danger. It is an idiom that suggests that if our boat sinks, we all sink with it; but if it stays afloat, we might reach the shore. Our collective danger implies a collective responsibility and a need to collaborate, so that our ship does not capsize. It obviously refers to the simple importance of sharing and working together collaboratively, but also to problems that we now face and the current global situation.
While everybody talks about the weather, during the last two decades, global warming, and climate change have been increasingly discussed and debated. A long tradition exists within the arts of discussing the relation, and subject, human versus nature, but recently the consequences of human impact, interference, and possible trigger of the twenty-first century’s climate changes have echoed within the art scene in a more activist way. The Danish artist collective SUPERFLEX was founded by Bjørnstjerne Christiansen, Jakob Fenger, and Rasmus Nielsen in 1993, and since then the three artists have gained international recognition for their DIY and activist approach. SUPERFLEX looks at subjects that generate discussion around migration, alternative energy, political awareness, distribution of wealth and the power of global capital. SUPERFLEX’s works are often interactive and engage the public in multiple ways.
The exhibition includes a group of video, sculpture, and installation works selected for their relevance to the history, present, and future of the City of Miami. The works reflect upon the situation of Miami from the perspectives of art, finance, climate, and a fictional, if plausible, future. The topics of water, migration, refugees, and the economy inevitably drive the conception of We Are All in the Same Boat. The exhibition includes major new works—We Are All in the Same Boat and Euphoria Now—commissioned by the Museum, as well as Lost Money (2009), in which the artists affix coins to the floor, inviting both the visitors' acquisitiveness and frustration. The show also presents the American premiere of SUPERFLEX’s newest film, Western Rampart (2018). Named after the Vestvolden, the last historical fortifications constructed to protect the city of Copenhagen, the work considers urgent discussions surrounding global borders and migration.
SUPERFLEX is known for its interest in unifying urban spaces and commenting on society with authenticity through art. The artists describe their practice as the provision of “tools” that affect or influence a social or economic context. Previous projects include paying visitors to enter their exhibition; the development and marketing of a new beverage, Free Beer; and the production of a self-sufficient, portable biogas unit to provide energy for a family. The group’s projects are often rooted in their particular local contexts and invite visitors’ participation. SUPERFLEX works outside traditional art contexts, collaborating with designers, engineers, businesses, and marketers on projects that have the potential for social or economic change.
SUPERFLEX: We Are All in the Same Boat is organized by MOAD and curated by Jacob Fabricius, Artistic Director of Kunsthal Aarhus. Support for SUPERFLEX: We Are All in the Same Boat is provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, Funding Arts Network, the Danish Arts Foundation, and the Florida Department of State Division of Cultural Affairs.