Catalogue text from Charlotten Spring Exhibition 2019
"The Jury's Solo Prize 2018 goes to Kim Mejdahl for his courage in allowing his own personal story to lead his work without reducing it to pure subjective therapy. In ODE and NO OZONE, he has created two video works, both of which have a visual, emotional and bodily effect on the viewer. The jury was fascinated by this energy-filled universe, whose intense personal expression blurs the boundaries between art and life."
Thus, last year's jury wrote about the young artist and future graduate student (2019) from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts' Art Schools Kim Richard Adler Mejdahl, who won the solo prize for the video works ODE and NO OZONE.
For Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition 2019, Mejdahl has created a new film work: DAYS OF AL – a work that the artist himself describes as a Gothic agricultural horror. With a length of one hour, it is Mejdahl's most extensive film work to date, accompanied by a soundtrack of experimental electronic music created under the artist's musician alias Kim Kim. DAYS OF AL is a chaotic cornucopia of visual filming techniques and animations – from timelapses and slow-motion sequences to classic stop motion, special effects and computer animation.
In Mejdahl's earlier works, his close family members have appeared as actors, and in DAYS OF AL the artist's young cousin, Alex Pedersen, is the lead actor, while the artist's own dog and mother also play roles in the film.
DAYS OF AL depicts some fateful autumn days of a nameless young man living an isolated life with a small dog. As the protagonist examines his displaced past in a dysfunctional family that owns a small farm, a picture is drawn of how the protagonist's perception of reality disappears out of his hands, leaving him with an experience that the world is alienated from himself, his body and the outside world. The young man's story in DAYS OF AL is interwoven with a larger story about Denmark's extensive pork industry. The juxtaposition of these two narratives may seem coincidental, but in the film the meat industry becomes a frame of mind that brings the viewer closer to an experience of a world and a life in disintegration.
With DAYS OF AL, Mejdahl uses the film medium to portray a fragile mind from a first-person perspective without demonizing the sick protagonist. Mejdahl does away with some of the film history's clichéd depictions of sick characters who are either out of educational reach or are represented as truth-tellers who suffer because they have a special insight into the world that others do not have access to. According to the artist, these representations have it in common that they do not allow the 'healthy' gaze to gain insight into the sick person's experience of the world. At one point in the film, a demonic phone stalker declares: "A ghost needs a sheet to be seen." The film attempts to give the body to abstract and intangible, but at the same time immediately given and quite basic aspects of being an experienced self.
Kim Richard Adler Mejdahl and Signe Kahr
DAYS OF AL reviewed
[...]Det er et sandt sansebombardement at følge den unge mand i Kim Richard Adler Mejdahls videoværk, der nok varer over en time, men hvor hvert sekund er både smukt og smertefuldt [...] lægger standarden for ny hybrid mellem (spille)film og videoværk.
[...]I Days of Al er det en udtalt intention at gøre op med den dæmonisering af det psykisk sårbare sind, der ellers præger gyseruniverset, og hele filmen er således set fra Alex’ synsvinkel. Filmens mest uhyggelige elementer er her ikke et produkt af en ydre aggression, men af hovedpersonens mentale univers, der bliver stadig mere usammenhængende og fragmenteret, som filmen skrider frem.
(shared review with SØS Gunver Ryberg)
[...]Både Kim og SØS er musikalske individualister. De har brugt deres personlige lydunivers til at skabe to ultramoderne soundtracks, der virker lige så påtrængende som de katastrofer, de sætter lyd på. Lytteren efterlades med det samme uudslettelige ubehag som efter et grufuldt syn.