About Jens Haaning
Jens Haaning (b. 1965) has from the outset of his artistic career been politically engaged. Back in the 1990s he was one of those who turned the focus on outsiders in Danish society. Many of his works take their starting point in marginalized groups, and through these he investigates intolerance and the condition of being alien or different. Haaning works with the meanings inherent in our language and the way we communicate visually, and he often makes use of a simple but precise device to deal with complex situations. His works range from the visibly political as in 'Weapon production' (1995) to the more minimalistic, site-specific exchanging of light bulbs between a street in Kassel and one in Hanoi, 'Kassel-Hanoi (Light bulb exchange)' (2002). 'Danmark, Denmark' (2005) consists of the text “Denmark” written in large black capitals on the wall of the gallery. The first time the work was exhibited in Denmark in 2005, it aroused a sensation because the Danish political debate at the time was coloured by strong resistance to giving residence permits to immigrants and refugees in Denmark. Haaning’s work gets to grips with this debate, turning the focus, black on white, on concepts like nationalism and the fear of the foreign.