Artistic Practice Film: Jessie Kleemann



Jessie Kleemann is one of Greenlands foremost visual artists, the first from the country to work in the medium of video. Her artistic journey began in the 1980s, experimenting and exploring, initially in Greenland, later in Sápmi (the traditional lands of the Sami in the northern part of Norway), and now in Denmark, where she has established a strong reputation for a body of performance and video art in which Greenlandic traditions, language and mysteries are integrated into a contemporary setting. 

But although Kleemann so frequently draws on symbols and cultural references from the Arctic cultural sphere, the physicality and humour that also mark her work can be universally read and sensed, transcending identity and historical consciousness.  

Last year, Jessie Kleemann was selected by Art Hub Copenhagen (AHC) to participate in the Artistic Practice programme. With her selection comes interview and film portrait communicate the artist’s practice to the public with the aim of spreading awareness to an international specialist audience. 

This film now serves as an introduction to both Kleemanns art itself and to the themes she has worked with over the years: Greenlands experience as a colonised country, and the northern hemisphere as a battleground for geopolitics and climate policy. 

Jessie Kleemann (b. 1959) has been a significant figure in the world of contemporary art for three decades. Her work is formed of an original and expressive approach to video art, experimental theatre, feminism, the body and performance art.   

For most of her life, she has travelled back and forth between Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat), where she was born, and Denmark, where she lives and works today. Based on the complex relationships and exchanges between cultures, her practice explores the ways in which Greenlandic identity and tradition, the body, land and language, change over time. She is inspired by the artist Brian Catling, co-founder of the performance collective Wolf in the Winter, and the American artist Joan Jonas, a pioneer in performance and video art. 

Jessie Kleemann also works with painting, graphics and poetry; in 2022 she was nominated for the Nordic Council’s Literature Prize for her poetry collection Arkhticós Dolorôs (2021). In 2022–23, she was appointed to Art Hub Copenhagen’s public communication programme Artistic Practice, which includes a live event where the artist meets an international curator of their choice. In this case, Jessie Kleemann met Tate Modern’s Director of Programming Catherine Wood, who has curated performance and other live art for the past twenty years. 

In December 2023, Jessie Kleemann was invited to COP28 in Dubai, where she will both show the video work Arkhticós Dolorôs and participate in a talk. 

Read more here. 

Artistic Practice is a communication programme for established visual artists in Denmark who have made their mark in a ground-breaking and innovative way; while predominantly exhibited in Denmark, these artists are considered to have the potential to reach into an international context.  

The programme is built around a video portrait and an interview with an international curator who focuses on the individual artist’s practice with the aim both of communicating it and of offering support with a view to building an international network. 

As the artists are selected by a jury, it is not possible to apply for admission to the programme. Artistic Practice is organised in collaboration with editor and project manager Karina Lykkesborg.  

The programme was initiated by the Bikuben Foundation, which ran the programme from 2019 to 2022. Artistic Practice continues to be supported by the Bikuben Foundation.  

All the earlier films are available here. 

For more information, contact Stine Nørgaard Lykkebo, press officer, at 

AHC : gives time, space and voices to artistic experimentation