Asger Dybvad Larsen
Esben Weile Kjær
The title refers to the film Taxi driver, taken from a scene where the main antagonist, Travis Bickle drives his taxi through the streets of New York reflecting on the ugly corruption of life surrounding him. Thinking of how ‘all the animals come out at night: whores, scum, pussies, doopers,...”, he fails however to realise that this reality is just part of a larger image. By his destructive personal choices his environment slowly swallows him, turning him into a dangerous caricature who can’t see past his surroundings, acting unconsciously on some kind of inner auto pilot. Ultimately he fails to see his actions are self-inflicted and cause his downfall.
These tendencies of disconnection from reality are something that we all share, but deal with in such various ways. Even-though the film is now 40 years old, the themes of detachment from society, loneliness, belonging and obsession seems more relevant than ever. Our everyday mundane traumas: being stuck in the tube on your way to a meeting, emails, stressing to pick up your kids, forgetting your keys, feeling of not belonging or much more serious issues causing the very present threat of someone one day loosing all selfcontrol.
The exhibition is dealing with the human condition of loneliness: A lack of purpose, a sense of where to go or a direction. Thereby a vision of the self can sometimes diverge from the rality and become an image serving purely self attention.
It is also about the contradictions we face: When your body won’t do what your mind wants, how we want to be saints while knowing we are sinners, the sense we might feel that the horrible pain we are going through is unique to us, though intellectually we know it isn’t. The claustrophobic sensation that our fantasy feels so real to the person having it. In ‘God’s Lonely Man’ by Thomas Wolfe which also features on the opening page of the script for Taxi driver the American novelist wrote:
“The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence.”
The exhibition is ultimately about how we react to this, as individuals, as family and as society, set against the backdrop of the Nordic cultural history at its meeting point with the modern urban being.