Street Haunting by ISCP resident Nanna Debois Buhl features three newly commissioned works that all utilize the act of walking in unexpected ways. For each work, Buhl has created a system where a walk becomes the impetus for images and stories, revealing new paths through urban and literary landscapes.
In Buhl’s work Collected Walks, a hybrid fictional character travels across time and space. The installation combines a soundtrack composed of literary fragments about women walking through different cities with a series of cyanotype prints made by Buhl on her daily walks over the course of the months leading up to the exhibition. The print series Street Haunting revolves around photographs of a young woman found by Buhl on a walk. These photographs are presented along with divergent readings from five psychics who speculate on the young woman’s life and persona based on a set of questions used for character development in scriptwriting. For the slide installation Night Map, Buhl has transferred the Parisian route of two lovers from Michèle Bernstein’s 1961 novel La Nuit (modeled on the classic novel Les Liaisons dangereuses) to East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Starting from the very location of the exhibition, Buhl has created a new setting for the story through the détournement of texts and maps.
By exploring the role of the Flâneuse, Buhl connects different literary periods and fields of writing in singular ways. Voices from the politically-charged 19th century works of George Sand and Flora Tristan fuse with Virginia Woolf’s reflections on the imaginary possibilities of walking and with Michèle Bernstein’s semi-autobiographical descriptions of dérives through Paris as a member of the Situationist International. The exhibition unravels new routes through the city as well as through literature, addressing the walk as a way to experiment with identity and to carve out a space for reflection. For Buhl, walking is at once a physical act (done of necessity or otherwise), a mode of production, and a metaphor.
Nanna Debois Buhl (born 1975, Denmark) received her MFA from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2006 and participated in The Whitney Independent Study Program, New York, in 2008-09. Recent shows include: El Museo del Barrio, NY; Art in General, NY; The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; Bureau, NY; Lunds Konsthall, Lund, Sweden; and Kunsthallen Brandts, Odense, Denmark. Her work is in the collections of the Museum for Contemporary Art and The National Museum of Photography in Denmark. In 2010, Revolver Publishing published her artist’s book A Journey in Two Directions and the collaborative book City Grammar (with Liz Linden). Her work has recently been reviewed in Art in America, Artforum, and The New York Times.
A commissioned text by Jen Kennedy, Social Studies and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellow at Binghamton University, will be developed in response to the project and published in conjunction with the exhibition.
ISCP thanks the following contributors for their generous support: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Brooklyn Arts Council, Consulate General of Denmark, New York, The Greenwich Collection, L & O Frame Inc., National Endowment for the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.