Experience a new exhibition by Sidsel Meineche Hansen in the x-room, SMK – National Gallery of Denmark

Are you difficult to work with? The exhibition at the National Gallery of Denmark (SMK) is centred on the installation Difficult to work with?, 2019, which includes a life-sized ball-jointed figure with orifices that are compatible with oral and vaginal inserts made in silicone, which are sold for current sex robots on the market.

The mobile phone, held in the sculpture’s hand features an app with an animated avatar delivering a monologue entitled An Artist’s Guide to Stop Being an Artist, 2019. The script, which appropriates Allen Carr’s self-help guide Easy Way to Stop Smoking, instead discusses the artist’s dilemma of wanting to make art while wanting to quit it as a profession.

Sidsel Meineche Hansen has also incorporated a new locking system for the entry door of the gallery space consisting of an intercom and a mechanical latch connected to a mobile app, which is controlling the access to the exhibition.

The exhibition also features photographs and two short videos made in collaboration with filmmaker Therese Henningsen. Love Doll Resurrect, 2019, which is a zombie stop motion film and the Maintenancer, 2018, which documents the current early stages of robot-based prostitution, where sex work shifts from the physical body of the sex worker onto the sex doll or robot, with the doll as an interlocutor, whose dead weight demands regular lifting, disinfection and repair.

“The idea of a sex robot – which is currently available in the form of a silicone doll and mobile app with artificial intelligence – is linked to a colonial approach to the body as a commodity and a source of free labour.

With reference to the sex industry’s automatization of gendered and emotional labour, I have reflected on the loss of control in the cultural sector, where the exchange between exposure and underpaid artistic work is naturalised as a ‘labour of love’. For me, the sculpture Untitled, 2018, is a replacement body, under these working conditions.”

The Meineche Hansen exhibition at SMK/ National Gallery of Denmark is part of a trilogy. The two previous venues were Kunsthal Aarhus in 2018, and KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin also 2018.