In May of 2018, the Danish artists Nina Maria Kleivan and Pernelle Maegaard will exhibit their works in Gallery Salthús.
In their art project, Rippling Water, the two pictorial artists Nina Maria Kleivan and
Pernelle Maegaard use as a starting point water from the Arnakke spring at the exhibition
site Silkeborg Bad, formerly a spa, where people sought healing using the water from the
spring. Our intention is to use water for the healing of Europe by means of documentation
in the form of photographs and texts to be shown in a group exhibition: “Europati – Det
lykkelige Europa” (“Europathy – The Happy Europe”) at Silkeborg Bad in October 2017.
The exhibition will alternate between individual works and joint works. As part of the
preparatory work the whole group stayed at Det Danske Institut in Athens, inspired by
Carsten Nieburh’s voyages and his age’s ideas of The Happy Arabia, in order to shake up
and depict our own conceptions and prejudices about Europe – and the imagined
Since 2001 we, Kleivan and Maegaard, have co-‐‑operated in producing several video-‐‑films,
using a performative method, mainly with ourselves as actors. We have focused on
identity and gender stereotypes/gender markers, and in doing so have explored and
mapped man’s relation with its environment. In the project, Rippling Water, we have as a
starting point used an ancient Czech ritual for the opening and cleansing of wells in
springtime, a ritual still used as a prayer for not bringing disease and evil upon oneself.
In all times and in all cultures water has played a central role. Water is cleansing, but
water can also destroy as well as create life. Water has been used as markings of
transitions in life and death, for rituals, which unify the space between the sacred/spiritual
and the profane/everyday life. Water is used in order to link the two worlds as a symbolic
bridge, that allows for a passing between the worlds.
We imagine that the healing can be used everywhere, where changes are needed. The
project aims at the world as an including gesture. This is to say that everybody has the
power to heal, we don’t conceive it as a mysterious ritual, but see it as a means of
verbalizing and a marking of something to take care of.
The ritual is constantly changing from person to person. The participants choose
themselves, what they want to heal. In our representation the ritual is performed this way:
In order to achieve the right mood you are wearing nice clothes, you take off shoes and
stockings and stand barefooted on an unfolded apron. You close your eyes, focus on what
you want to change, and sprinkle water in all four corners of the world. All healings are
being recorded by photos and short texts.
Some healings encounter unexpected resistance, some are visually very beautiful. Some
healings take a great deal of courage to perform, they can be important and big, or they
can concern small private matters. Some healings go wrong, but they all end in a story.
You can heal big things as well as small things, everything from the Mediterranean to a
municpal office, from an Icelandic town to a water heater.
It is our hope, by way of our work, to get the spectator to reflect and discuss. We are not
claiming, that you can heal Europe just by the means of water, but we hope, that our
project can give rise to discourses about, what Europe is today, and how Europe is going
to be in the future.
At Silkeborg Bad Rippling Water is physically represented by about 100 framed photos, 50
of them are the photos of the very healings, the other 50 photos show the matching texts;
picture and text are equally important in this context. Eventually we imagine unifying all
the material in a book.
We have invited several Europeans to take part in the project. At present we have contact
with people in Norway, Sweden, Iceland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Croatia, Poland
and Greece. The project is spreading out, the interesting thing is to get other people to
embrace it and realize it. We may end up with healing all of Europe …