Every Ocean Hughes, Beyond the will to measure, 2016 © Every Ocean Hughes.

Every Ocean Hughes

Alive time

1.3 2022 – 17.4 2022


“How can we build a structure to be alive inside?” asks the American Stockholm-based artist Every Ocean Hughes in her text “Uncounted”. For her first museum survey in Europe, we present a selection of Hughes’s most significant works from the past decade that address the struggle and ingenuity of queer life through the spaces and temporalities of an exhibition.
Performance, still image from video
Every Ocean Hughes, One Big Bag, 2021 40 minutes, digital video, pictured: performer Lindsay Rico © Every Ocean Hughes

This is where we begin, “to to to-wards building a space and commons that privileges movement and margins.” “Alive Time” is an exhibition in parts – connecting the Moderna Museet to the choreography and performance centre MDT and the historical Skeppsholmen Church/Eric Ericsonhallen.

An exhibition in parts – staging Hughes’s pioneering practice in performance, sculpture, installation, and video in various chapters and iterations. An exhibition in parts – navigating queer life and death through a vocabulary of movement and trespass, care and kinship, celebration and survival. An exhibition that is discontinued, fragmented, always arriving.

Many of Hughes’s early works, including the performance “A Gay Bar Called Everywhere (With Costumes and No Practice)” (2011/2022) and the text/performance “Uncounted” (2013-2017/2022), engage with what is “unseen in time”, to prioritise the margin. In “Alive Time”, Hughes revisits both works, considering the spaces in which queer life manifests within this new era of cultural politics and activism.

Every Ocean Hughes, Help the Dead, 2019 © Every Ocean Hughes. Photo: Frank Sperling

Building on her training as a death doula, a companion in the transition from life to death, Hughes has developed the idea of “queer death” in more recent works. In the performance “Help the Dead (2019)” and her film “One Big Bag” (2021), Hughes probes ideas on self-determination, survival, diverse kinship, accountability, and end-of-life aesthetics within the social and material reality of death.

Curator: Hendrik Folkerts (Curator of International Contemporary Art), in collaboration with Catrin Lundqvist (Curator of Learning).