11.FEB.2011   23.APR.2011


The work of the Danish artist Jens Haaning focuses on the analysis of the structure of today’s modern society and how the dynamics of the various forms of power manifest and express themselves within that same structure. Some of the key themes of his artistic pursuit are immigration, categorisation, racism, intercultural dialogue and the exchange between global capitalism and local economy. With his installation entitled Thai Body Massage exhibited at Galleria Franco Soffiantino of Turin, the artist intends to prompt his audience to reflect, by means of real "shifting" dynamics, on the different economic and social models tied to immigration as well as the resulting implications between them and our cohabitation within the urban setting. After having recently exhibited his work at the Kunsthal Nord of Aalborg, Jens Haaning has once again decided to transfer a whole Thai massage parlour from its original location to the indoor spaces of the gallery. Chairs, massage bed, massage oil, curtains, ornaments and pencils: each single object, taken out of context, becomes a pile of stacked elements taken out of context and loses its original application despite keeping its functionality intact, thus creating a sort of ethnographic museum which concretely analyses and describes the activity carried out in this particular trade sector. Thus, this Thai massage parlour is scrutinised as an actual cultural phenomenon, almost turning into a portrait of the person who originally owned it and used it to perform his services.
The gallery also features another three of his latest works. Among these, the huge writing on the wall "Italia", 2011, especially created for the Turin exhibition and "Danish Passport – Valid Until 28.04.2017". The former, a work belonging to the series of wall paintings by Jens Haaning consists of the reproduction of the Country name where the exhibition is being held. The second is a real and valid passport. A readymade which leads us to reflect on its intrinsic value, on the issues of citizenship, nationality, identity and on the difference between being a passport holder and not being one.