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Signe Johannessen

Thank you for carrying, 2016

Video, colour, sound, loop. 8 min. 42 sec.

Thank you for carrying performs as a dark and poetic celebration of the lives of horses, and the profound and lasting bonds that form between horse and handler. Hypnotic and contemplative, the slow-moving passage of this video drifts with a languid focus on the textures and patterns of horses’ skin, on their facial features and their movements, and on the depiction of ceremony related to the death or slaughter of these animals.

In the creation of the work, and in collaboration with two horses at an ancient immolation site on the island of Öland in Sweden, the artist carried out a series of ceremonies with the remains of a prized Lipizzaner stallion. An altar was built in a stable in homage to 6000 years of shared equine history with humans; acknowledging horses as a form of transportation, as comrades during warfare, as partners during hunting practices, as food sources, as entertainment, and as companions through friendship. The score for the work is a composition that uses horse hair as an instrument, electronically rendered as a dramatic and moving accompaniment to the images on display.

Signe Johannessen (b.1978) is an artist working in Gnesta, Sweden.