Line Jensen

Line Jensen, artist

I can’t stand looking at these signs!

Jani Leinonen: Anything Helps, 2009–2015

"I can’t stand looking at these signs!

I try to muster an intellectual response: to recognise that the concept is effective. It is a good idea to take something generally considered absolutely worthless – crumpled-up cardboard signs written in ink markers, done by people at the very bottom rung of the social ladder – and frame it in gold, thereby giving them a voice and a place in our consciousness.

But I can’t bear to look at them!

Me, who actually love cardboard signs and ink markers and clumsy handwriting. They’re some of my favourite things. I’m usually quite capable of finding aesthetic value in worthless objects, but these are not just objects, and their value is a matter of life or death. To my mind, the signs become one big silent cry for help. They echo all those empty eyes I’ve looked into so many times as I’ve just walked by, in the streets, in major cities all over Europe. Those eyes are haunting me now. All the way into ARoS, where I thought I would be safe. And I’d so been looking forward to grabbing a coffee in the cafe…"

The work is on display at level 6

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