YEAR WITHOUT A SUMMER by Tine Bek
150 x 185 mm, 16 pages, colour printing, saddle-stitched, softcover, 2022
The publication was published in connection with Tine Bek's exhibition of the same title at Arden Asbaek Gallery in Copenhagen, November 2022 - January 2023. The publication includes a text by James McCann. The images included in the publication are all from a video which was included in the exhibition titled, 'Hestehuller'.
'The year 1816 is known as the year without a summer. When the volcano Mount Tambora by the island Sumbawa in Indonesia erupted the year before, it created enormous disturbances in the weather all over the world. Atmospheric dust from the volcano changed the temperatures, causing snowfall in the summer, natural disasters and an agricultural crisis resulting in widespread famine. Due to the rising grain prices, horses became too expensive to keep and thousands were instead used for consumption. This turn also inspired a new form of mechanized personal transport, such as the Dandy Horse, or the Laufmaschine, created by the German inventor Karl von Drais.
Artist Tine Bek takes her starting point in these historical events, which did not only change the world, but also our centuries-old relationship with the horse. In many ways, the year without a summer was the beginning of the end for the role of the horse in society. Through her photographic work, Bek explores the image of the horse as a symbol of our relationship with history – with references to the sculptor Anne Marie Carl Nielsen, the brewer’s horses of Carlsberg, and the royal equestrian statues, prominent in squares around Europe.
Horses have appeared in art throughout history, however, less frequently in modern art, partly because the horse has become less significant, both as a mode of transportation and as an implement of war. In Year without a summer, the horse becomes a representation of the past. A living remnant from another time as well as a symbol of our progress.
The exhibition [and this publication] speculates on how hard times can create momentum, however, always at the expense of something else. We live in a time marked by the times before, and we see how stories, events and crises repeat themselves, but always in a new form. Our present time has also been marked by both global health crises and inflation, but the question is whether we can learn anything from the cyclical and yet always shifting recording of events? Year without a summer is a tribute to the horse. To its physique and its function over time, to its cultural significance and persistence. Because more than 200 years after the end of the horse, it still excites our imagination.'