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Black Magic at the White House

Jeannette Ehlers

Jeannette Ehlers 

Black Magic at the White House

2009

Single channel video

Duration 26:33

Black Magic at the White House is a video by Danish artist Jeannette Ehlers in which she, rendered nearly invisible via video manipulation, performs a Vodou dance in Marienborg, the residence of the Danish prime minister. This building  has strong connections to a very dark side of European economic and business history - the slave trade. Ehlers shows us how art can help reflect on such otherwise forgotten stories. Her work sheds light on this Danish colonial amnesia, but maybe she also presents us with a method for connecting to other forgotten pasts in economy and business? The artist’s own ethnic background, with a Danish mother and a Father from Trinidad, West Indies, adds extra strength to her works, which use digitally manipulated photographs and video to put the Transatlantic Slave Trade and it’s often ignored impact modern society under her microscope.

The White House was built as a summer residence for the Commander Olfert Fischer in 1744, who since sold it to merchant Peter Windt, who also had created a great deal of wealth from both sugar and slave trade. He even brought slaves as servants to his home in Denmark. Several others of the period’s business-men have owned and put their stamp on the white house of Marienborg. Today it still plays an important symbolic role in Denmark as the residence of the country’s prime minister.

Born in 1973, Jeannette Ehlers is based in Copenhagen, Denmark. She graduated from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2006 and is since  exhibiting her work internationally as a frequently invited guest to art-shows and biennales all over the world.  

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