Emilia Bergmark


Photographs by David Stjernholm     Heaven and Earth, 2018 Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, 2018.                           

Heaven and Earth is a dish by Anni Albers. It is also the title of Emilia Bergmark’s graduation work from Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi, an installation featuring interior elements, sculptures and a monologue by a bitter tea kettle. Duration soundpiece, 26 minutes. 

‘You take a box of instant mashed potatoes and a jar of apple sauce. You open the jar, you twist it, you twist it quite hard. You open it, you empty it out, now if you can’t empty it all out, use a spoon, and then, you add the instant mashed potatoes and then you have Himmel und Erde. Heaven and Earth!’

‘A bitter tea kettle is a seasonal worker in a life-style cafe at The International Art Space Station that orbits Earth. It is off-season now, so she is back on Earth to have her first exhibition in the art-world. She is an aspiring mixed media artist mainly working in the style of kitchen sink realism. However she admits to feeling disappointed with how the show came out. She feels that it is too heavy and a bit stiff, perhaps due to the gravity of the context.’1

1. The synopsis for the sound piece ‘Heaven and Earth’, Emilia Bergmark, 2018  

KETTLE: [Addressing the visitor entering the room] Welcome!                                                                                                      
Come in! [Paus] Would you like a cookie? They’re Madeleines

Me? Oh, I’m part of the tea-set. [Gesturing towards the sofa] Sit down! Have a cookie! I usually serve tea in a life-style cafe at The International-Art-Space-Station that orbits Earth – Yes! – a life-style cafe – in space! – It’s a cultural outreach program launched by NASA – to promote contemporary art in outer space. [Paus] But it’s off-season now, and as worker in space I have to come down to Earth at least once a year to avoid OSTEOPOROSIS – that’s when your bones get brittle – living in weightlessness causes bone loss you see  [jokingly] – so if I’m not careful I may fall to bits, loose my handle, chip my spout. [Addressing the listener] So, while I’m down here I have to build up my bones again – I just came from a Pilates session at the fitness centre. [Paus. Associating, talking to herself more than to the viewer] As a little teapot I was called short and stout... [Self-pitying] I had terrible body complex after that! [Paus, almost crying] I stopped eating sweets! Madeleine cookies used to be my favourites! [Paus] I..
I didn’t touch them for years! 

[Snaps back to service persona, cheerful]... Sorry, did you try the cookies? Go on, have a bite! 2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

2. Excerpt from the manuscript for the sound piece ‘Heaven and Earth’, Emilia Bergmark, 2018  

It’s a potato… yes, it’s a sculpture ‘A Kilo of Potatoes’… 3

3. Excerpt from the manuscript for the sound piece ‘Heaven and Earth’, Emilia Bergmark, 2018  

‘What are you looking at? [as if looking around] Yeah – that’s ‘Ham and Cheese and Toast’. [Paus- filler] Eh… 

Did-did you ever think about ham? That a slice of ham is a picture of a ham, made of ham. And, did you ever think about vegetarian ham? That vegetarian ham is a picture of a ham… not made from ham.’ 4

4. Excerpt from the manuscript for the sound piece ‘Heaven and Earth’, Emilia Bergmark, 2018  

I made a sculpture recently, it’s inspired by Constantin Brancusi’s ‘Bird in Space’ – Do you know that piece? It’s a bronze sculpture – abstract – it communicates the notion of flight itself rather than describing the appearance of any particular bird… or something… [To herself] It could be seen as rather phallic, but perhaps that’s just me… Anyways…
I made a sculpture inspired by ‘Bird in Space’. But it’s less abstract… more… Figurative! [Matter a fact] It’s a cucumber. When I was working on it in my room at the space-station... 

I would joke about it and call it [jokingly]’Cucumber in Space’ [paus] But it’s just a joke… Down here it’s bad-taste to joke about Brancusi. It’s all quite serious down here in the art-world I’ve noticed.

There it is, the cucumber, it’s over there. [Pointing] Look, just over there!5

5. Excerpt from the manuscript for the sound piece ‘Heaven and Earth’, Emilia Bergmark, 2018