OPEN TODAY 10 - 17
Under the patronage of
Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II

Skærmbillede 2016-05-18 Kl . 12.28.21

Happiness & Misery - Video art from ARoS’ collection

4 JUNE 2016 – 7 AUGUST 2016, LEVEL 6 

In the course of the summer ARoS’ audiences will have the opportunity to experience a gallery filled with moving pictures. ARoS possesses about 100 video works and with the exhibition HAPPINESS & MISERY, the museum is now activating this important part of its collection.

HAPPINESS & MISERY presents eight essential and widely different video works which all focus on everyday human encounters. The artists represented include pioneers of Danish video art such as Jesper Just (b. 1974) and the artists’ duo Hanne Nielsen (b. 1959) and Birgit Johnsen (b. 1958). 

‘The 1990s saw the true breakthrough of video art in Denmark. Early video art is often characterised by a kind of ”low-budget aesthetic”, but today the quality of the medium’s moving pictures is on a level with that of professional film productions. We are looking forward to showing our audience what video art is capable of,’ says curator Pernille Taagaard Dinesen, ARoS. 


The eight video works in HAPPINESS & MISERY employ each their own style to tell stories from everyday life that revolve around a continuum of emotions: from misery to happiness. The audience will notice a big difference in technical quality from one work to the next, and this dissimilarity highlights the technical revolution that video art as a medium has experienced. 

Jesper Just, This Love is Silent, 2003

Danish video artist Jesper Just (b. 1974) is interested in places and their meaning. His work This Love is Silent features a number of macho men performing songs and dances of great sensitivity.

Birgit Johnsen, Hanne Nielsen, Construction in Space, 1996

Since the mid-1990s the artists’ duo from Aarhus, Birgit Johnsen (b. 1958) and Hanne Nielsen (b. 1959), have collaborated on a number of video works portraying the humorous and absurd events of everyday life. In the work Construction in Space the two artists use irony to describe the relationship between man and machine.

Lars Arrhenius, Habitat, 2005

Swedish artist Lars Arrhenius (b. 1966) employs the medium of video to illustrate the complexities of daily life. Habitat is an animation film about life in a housing estate.

Gitte Villesen, Willy goes for a drive, 1995 and Who gets the food, 1994

In the video works Willy goes for a drive and Who gets the food Danish artist Gitte Villesen (b. 1965) follows her Jutlandish neighbour Willy Bøtker. 

Villesen works in the cross field of art films and documentaries. The protagonists of her works are ordinary people who present their views on the joys of life. 

Tracey Moffatt, Lip!, 1999

Australian artist Tracey Moffatt (b. 1960) studies the way popular culture represents gender and class. In the work Lip! Moffatt has created a video in which she combines film sequences showing the black women of cinema history typecast as housekeepers. 

Lars Mathisen, Happiness & Misery, 1999

The work Happiness & Misery by Danish artist Lars Mathisen (b. 1957) is a space constructed from four tall projection screens, each showing a film sequence. Happiness & Misery is inspired by the theatre of the absurd and places, quite literally, the audience in the centre. 

Graham Gussin, Spill, 1999

The black and white video work Spill, 1999 by British artist Graham Gussin (b. 1960) is filmed in an abandoned industrial building. Gussin works with the classic gimmicks from the horror movie and film noir, using them to play on our emotions.

Curators-in-charge: Pernille Taagaard Dinesen and Erik Nørager Pedersen, curators, ARoS

Download press photos (via Dropbox)

Download press photos (via Dropbox)

Further information:

Anne Riis
Press officer, ARoS
M: +45 25357444 |  

©ARoS 2017