The Beyoncé Etchings

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If You Know, 2015
Copper plate prints, Artist’s Proof, 5 papers of 120 x 150 cm
 
 
 
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Detail view

I have released two copperplate etching series about Beyoncé together with Atelier Larsen, Helsingborg, SE. The first one from 2013 is entitled Beyoncé goes Bananas (see below) and the second one is this one; If you Know from 2015. It consists of 5 papers, each 120 x 150 cm. In this series I am trying to incorporate Beyoncé’s lyrics into my own voice, my own production and feminist framework.
 
 
 
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If You Know, 2015
Copper plate prints, Artist’s Proof, 1 of 5 papers of 120 x 150 cm
(THESE ARE MY LATEST BEYONCE COPPER PLATE PRINTS)
 
 
 
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If You Know, 2015
Copper plate prints, Artist’s Proof, 2 of 5 papers of 120 x 150 cm
(BOW BOW DOWN BITCHES, BOW DOWN)
 
 
 
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If You Know, 2015
Copper plate prints, Artist’s Proof, 3 of 5 papers of 120 x 150 cm
(IF YOU KNOW, THEN YOU KNOW)

 

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If You Know, 2015
Copper plate prints, Artist’s Proof, 4 of 5 papers of 120 x 150 cm
(IF YOU DON’T, THEN YOU’LL HAVE TO CATCH UP)

 

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If You Know, 2015
Copper plate prints, Artist’s Proof, 5 of 5 papers of 120 x 150 cm
(I TALK LIKE THIS, ‘CAUSE I CAN BACK IT UP)

 


 

7 Beyoncé goes bananas

Installation view at Elastic Gallery, Malmö, 2013

 

In the beginning of 2013 I released my copperplate etching series Beyoncé goes Bananas. It is a series of 10 papers (in an edition of 15 copies) with multiple etchings on each paper. Deja Vu is a mystical phenomenon, where you are convinced, you have experienced the present situation before. Also, it is the title of a hit song by American pop icon Beyoncé Knowles. Many physicians and psychologists claim that the experience is merely a tiny dream that came true, while others argue that it is caused by an error in the brain which make you mistake the past for the present. Regardless, the setting for Beyoncé’s music video is Oak Alley Plantation, where the misery and sexual abuse of slavery forms the backdrop for a cute love story. Her lyrics talk about the powerful deja vu feelings of a past lover, and the fact that the scene for the making of the video is an old sugar plantation in Louisiana is not at all mediated in the visuals. Thus the problematic setup remains in the dark. The video exemplifies a repressed memory of the past, and is therefore a bizarre comment on Beyoncé’s love lyrics and her seemingly uncontrollable sexual powers. I had to stop this film and zoom in.

I began drawing a specific sequence from the video; where she crouches, yet suddenly gets up and bends backwards in an arch. In other clips, she is running in the midst of the sugar canes, touching the plants. Ever so often, she acts scared and confused, but for the most part of this passage she fixes the spectator’s gaze on her while moving in front of the camera which follows her in the field. Is this some sort of reenactment? Or is Beyoncé not aware of the objective fact that slaves were raped, persecuted, captured or shot dead on this specific location, where she is now running around playfully? Nonetheless, right in front of the sugar plantation she performs a kind of African dance, before once more bending backwards into the back arch. In an attempt to be able to see better, I began transferring images of the video to a slower medium, and the work in my studio moved from drawings to copper plate etchings, inspired by old postcards from colonial plantations. This way, I was able to zoom in and study the atmosphere that evolves between Beyoncé and this specific location. Also, I incorporated an image from a comparable moment in history; Josephine Baker’s anecdotal “Danse Sauvage” from “La Revue Nègre” in Paris in 1925. Thus the title of the work. The result was this series of etchings, where each image is built up in a classical manner with thin lines put next to each other to form light and shadow. I hope that this work can highlight the continual lack of ability of the West to deal with its own past.

Click here to read Henrik Dahl’s text about the project (in Swedish).

 

 

9 Beyoncé goes bananas

Detail

 

2 Beyoncé goes bananas

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8 Beyoncé goes bananas

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6 Beyoncé goes bananas

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No 1 in the series of 10 papers, Beyoncé goes Bananas
Edition of 15 copies, copperplate etchings on paper, 80 cm x 80 cm, 2013

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No 2 in the series of 10 papers, Beyoncé goes Bananas
Edition of 15 copies, copperplate etchings on paper, 80 cm x 80 cm, 2013

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No 3 in the series of 10 papers, Beyoncé goes Bananas
Edition of 15 copies, copperplate etchings on paper, 80 cm x 80 cm, 2013

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No 4 in the series of 10 papers, Beyoncé goes Bananas
Edition of 15 copies, copperplate etchings on paper, 80 cm x 80 cm, 2013

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No 5 in the series of 10 papers, Beyoncé goes Bananas
Edition of 15 copies, copperplate etchings on paper, 80 cm x 80 cm, 2013

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No 6 in the series of 10 papers, Beyoncé goes Bananas
Edition of 15 copies, copperplate etchings on paper, 80 cm x 80 cm, 2013

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No 7 in the series of 10 papers, Beyoncé goes Bananas
Edition of 15 copies, copperplate etchings on paper, 80 cm x 80 cm, 2013

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No 8 in the series of 10 papers, Beyoncé goes Bananas
Edition of 15 copies, copperplate etchings on paper, 80 cm x 80 cm, 2013

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No 9 in the series of 10 papers, Beyoncé goes Bananas
Edition of 15 copies, copperplate etchings on paper, 80 cm x 80 cm, 2013

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No 10 in the series of 10 papers, Beyoncé goes Bananas
Edition of 15 copies, copperplate etchings on paper, 80 cm x 80 cm, 2013