There is a certain child-like exuberance and finely crafted finesse to Hammam. Like a large piece of furniture with shelves and drawers, it rises up as an architectural construction with a dome, pointed arches and exquisite wooden carvings. In the middle of the piece is a zoetrope, a cylinder with painted illustrations that are set in motion when the device is rotated.
Public bath houses
The two artists created the piece during a working stay in Istanbul as part of an international artist residency programme aiming to form connections between contemporary art and the city’s rich craft tradition. In creating the piece, Randi & Katrine drew on inspiration from the many public bath houses in the city, the hammams. The components were created in close collaboration with local carpenters and craftspeople and thus also reflects the city’s local and craft traditions, which have roots reaching back to the Ottoman Empire.
Centrally in the piece, right underneath the large dome, Randi & Katrine have created an animation showing two bath house visitors. A sequence of 16 images is brought to life when the cylinder is rotated. The display offers an almost voyeuristic perspective, because the drawings are mounted on the inside of the slightly transparent purple drum. We can just barely make out the two persons bathing. We see drops of water falling and cockroaches scurrying across the floor. A large eye gazes out through a window shutter that keeps opening and closing. And we reflect on whom the eye is gazing at. With references to both folk art and palace decorations, the piece appears at once sophisticated and unpretentious.
About Randi & Katrine
Randi & Katrine is the name of a Danish artist duo consisting of Randi Jørgensen (b. 1974) and Katrine Malinovsky (b. 1976). They both graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2005 and have worked together since 2004, making a name for themselves with large, intriguing installations that are rarely without humorous qualities. They have exhibited at ARKEN, Gammel Holtegaard and GL STRAND, among other places. In 2014, they took part in the Biennale of Sydney and have also exhibited in Seoul and New York.