Past Whatever Sky (2022)


A tragedy seems to be latently looming in Past Whatever Sky, which SIGNA has developed specifically for the exhibition at The Art Museum in Tønder. The exhibition’s thematic of angst is conjured not only through the disarming atmosphere that engulfs the viewer upon entry, but by hinting at a series of somber themes: violence, fear, trauma, and war. Without offering a concrete storyline, the installation instead evokes the most vulnerable aspects of femininity, and the situations where women are prone to neglect, abuse, and harm.

Past Whatever Sky produces an uncanny and mysterious borderland within the museum; a room filled with veiled brides and countless beds indicating an evacuation center or some other kind of transient space. Audiences are invited to make their way through this melancholic environment at the edge of reality, where the absence of living beings forces us to look closely at the overwhelming abundance of stuff — stuff that feels inexplicably real, lived-in, too private to merely be dismissed as a theatrical “set.” By collecting and archiving thousands of discarded objects found in trash and at markets, SIGNA’s elaborate environments function as simulated realities that feel as familiar as they are alien.

Centered by a dilapidated shed sourced from the nearby village of Østerby, Past Whatever Sky is a parallel and timeless shadowland taking familiar, if unnerving, aesthetic cues from Signa Köstler’s own upbringing in Sønderjylland in the 1980s. The veiled female doll figures that occupy this space, scattered around the space, suggest a traumatic narrative about adolescence and the difficult passage from girl to woman. The figure of the bride — often performed by young girls during dress-up — usually connotes a fantasy about hyperfeminitity, transience redemption, but here, in a total environment of faded colors, where brides are left abandoned and carrying bags of their belongings, this fantasy seem to instead point to a looming sense of crisis and loss. Without a script or actors, we are forced instead to listen and react to the whispers of the objects lying around; what are they saying, what have they seen?

Jeppe Ugelvig

Tickets: On site (Adults: DKK 95,- Students: DKK 76,- Children u. 18: Free)

Dates & Times:
23rd of May to 23rd of October 2022
(Daily from 10:00 - 17:00)

Place: Kunstmuseet i Tønder, Wegners plads 1, 6270 Tønder, Denmark

Concept: Signa & Arthur Köstler

Artistic Collaboration: Lorenz Vetter, Tristan Kold, Mille Qvist

Soundscape: Martin Stig Andersen

Photography: Erich Goldmann

Special Thanks:

Charlotte og Kay Lander
Ebbe Sørensen
Gregers Ebert
Hartvig Dolberg

Follow us: