New exhibit at Dupont Underground showcases contemporary Swedish video art and experiential installations that explore societal change, relationships, interactions with nature and more.
What do a princess on a train, a stray dog in Istanbul and a woman arguing with a waterfall have in common? They’re all featured in art videos now on view in D.C.’s streetcar-station-turned-art-space, the iconic Dupont Underground.
Curated by Johan Pousette and presented in collaboration with the Embassy of Sweden, “You Don’t Love Me, Yet” is open every weekend in April and showcases contemporary Swedish video artists. The exhibition includes eight screen-projected videos and “living rooms” designed by four D.C.-based interior design teams where visitors can immerse themselves in each piece.
Dupont Underground’s dim, cavernous interior lends itself perfectly to video art. Despite the echoing acoustics, captions and thoughtful spacing make each installation feel intimate and prevent interruption from other films playing at the same time. Information on the artists and their work is projected on the wall next to each piece.
The artists in this exhibition depict societal change, interpersonal relationships, and the interaction between humans and nature. One of the most moving videos in the exhibit, “The Haven” by Petronella Petander, pairs a quiet narrative on the longing for belonging with hypnotic visuals of washing machines, exhaust pipes and dappled sunlight falling through the open windows of a communal laundry house commonly found in Swedish housing complexes. The narrative is ambiguous but implies that the speaker and her companion have no home and spend time in the laundry house to find a safe, warm temporary sanctuary.
A video by Johanna Billing documents a collaborative cover of the Roky Erickson song “You Don’t Love Me Yet,” which lends the video and the whole exhibition its name. The video is accompanied by the most interesting experiential design in the show: helmets suspended from the ceiling, playfully decorated with flowers, tulle and rainbow feathers. Just stand with your head inside one of them and the music from the film plays in surround sound.
Other highlights include “How to Civilize a Waterfall,” a video by Hanna Ljungh that features a woman in a business suit shouting at a massive waterfall, trying to persuade it to turn into a hydroelectric power plant as it drenches her in spray; “I Am the Dog That Was Always Here,” a film by Annika Eriksson that ruminates on gentrification, marginalization and change from the perspective of a Turkish street dog; and “On the Underground,” by Catti Brandelius, which features the artist in a tiara, riding the subway while her original song plays with lyrics like, “Hi, I’m the supergeek,” “Hi, I have no future,” and “Hi, I’m boring but I try to be chic.”
The range of videos in “You Don’t Love Me, Yet” offer a rich commentary on the human condition, including moments of tenderness, nostalgia, grief and humor. Dupont Underground fills an important niche between D.C.’s small private art institutions and its nationally-recognized museums and galleries. Here, lesser-known artists from the U.S. and around the world can find new audiences eager to experience their work. Visit “You Don’t Love Me, Yet” and emerge to the city in full bloom to kick off a great spring weekend.
“You Don’t Love Me, Yet” is on exhibit at Dupont Underground through April 30, with showings Friday to Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets start at $8. To learn more and purchase tickets, visit Dupont Underground’s events page.
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