"Intimate, cinematic and formal beauty.
Witnessing these portraits you get a sense that Larsen's tapped into their souls - encouraging them to just be who they are, expressing the joy and struggle that comes with being human. You don't get the sense that there's a camera anywhere, or that they're self-consciously 'speaking to camera'. Heart-felt expressions of authentic thoughts, feelings and emotions: a refreshing contrast to media interpretations of Peckham, couched in stereotype and cliché."
Written by Manjinder Sidhu. Read the full review on www.a-n.co.uk
"In the central space of the museum is the highlight of the exhibition: Promised Land (2011), a three-screen film by Danish artist Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen. The 50-minute video piece includes an overwhelming sound track by Mikkel H. Eriksen. The sound is dark and uses a bass that pounds in the chest. Promised Land depicts Mohammed, Kamron, Khan, Reza and his 3-year old son Nima. They are young refugees who will do whatever it takes to cross the English Channel to get to their promised land. The intense sound track and the many poetic and at times brutal video sequences filmed both by Larsen and by the migrants themselves give an insight into their freindship, hopes, dreams and fears."
Katrine Ree Holmøy, Klassekampen, 15. August 2012
"The exhibition's most powerful work is Skyum Larsens Promised Land. The video essay gives a unique insight into thoughts and dreams of people on the run. The determined desire to have a good life is universal, but we who already have jobs and roofs over our heads take the good life for granted. My reaction to Promised Land is spontaneous, naive and solution-oriented but I am in despair: What can I do?"
Solveig Lønmo, Adressa-avisen, 28. July 2012
"A harder edge was provided by Mahita El Bacha Urieta's show at Yeni Djami, the highlight of which was Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen's Ode to the Perished (2011), a cluster of cocoons suspended from the former mosque's dome made from 'crisis concrete' (a building material employed in war and disaster zones), that brought to mind the bodies of immigrants drowned in a desperate sea crossing."
Tom Morton, Frieze, January-February 2012
"Light and spirits are central themes at the intriguing Yeni Djami, originally built as a synagogue but turned into a mosque. Under the dome hangs Nikolaj BS Larsen's Ode to the Perished, 2011 concrete canvas bundles left to solidify over a few months in the Aegean Sea in hommage to immigrants who died trying to cross its waters."
Anna Dezeuze, Art Monthly, December-January 2011-12
"The current situation of economic crisis, social unrest, and political change in Arab and Mediterranean countries is addressed in several politically oriented works. For example, the Yeni Djami mosque contains Nikolaj Larsen's Ode to the Perished, 2011, an installation about the tragic journeys of immigrants."
Louisa Avgita, Art Forum, December 2011
"England is the best, because there is work. There is money...lots of money. Life is good, the people are good. That's why I want to go to England'. These optimistic words, spoken by a young Afghani refugee, are heard in Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen's outstanding video installation Promised Land, commissioned for the second Folkestone Triennial [...] Larsen's Promised Land exemplifies the themes of the Triennial, which, feeling more focussed this year, revolve around notions of displacement, migration, home and belonging. Installed in a seafront cafe, the three-channel projection follows the plight of Iranian and Afghani refugees in Calais who hope to enter the UK in search of a better life. One can only wonder at the struggles facing these immigrants, and likewise those housed in the shabby Folkestone apartments opposite the cafe."
David Trigg, Art Monthly, September 2011
"The 'Looped' video exhibitions in the foyer at the Salt Lake Art Center continue with 'Enduring' [...] Larsen's My Cat and I is hilarious, a rare trait in contemporary art, as he tries to coerce a black-and-white feline into joining him in a portrait photo."
The Salt Lake Tribune, September 2011
"The P&O ferries go back and forth, also watched by hopeful migrants waiting on the French coast. Living in awful squalor and makeshift encampments, almost within sight of Folkestone, and desperate to find a new life in the UK, they await their chance on the ferries and trucks passing through the Calais security checks. Danish film-maker Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen's Promised Land (2011), screened in an abandoned beach cafe, follows the plight of a number of Iranian migrants. It's a story of illegal trafficking, dodgy passports, hope and fantasy, ingenuity and yearning. Promised Land makes me will the illegal migrants to get through."
Adrian Searle, Guardian, June 2011
"Danish artist Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen has made a three-screen film — (with the assistance of and) following Afghan and Iranian migrants en route to Britain — for a disused cafe with clear-day views of Calais where many live rough before attempting the journey across the channel. The work does its job very well and as a documentary film in an evocative non-art space prompts questions about the role and responsibilities of artists and institutions in a global context."
Rebecca Geldard, Saachi Online Magazine, July 2011
"Paddling naked, save for a life jacket, through the dark waters of a harbour is so difficult it seems comic. Since the swimmer is in a video piece, one really hopes this is a performance. But this is a real life moment in the life of a would-be migrant to Britain. Art is the last thing on his mind. And one can assume it is being filmed by a friend of his and not by Nikolaj B S Larsen. This inside footage is one of several rarely seen activities which the Danish artist has captured. And he has done so by handing over cameras to refugees with minimal interest in video art. So with little or no attempt to play with genre, other scenes come round out in which plans are sketched in the dirt (infiltration of a truckstop) and maps are drawn on scraps of paper (port security). Lovers of classic cinema will recognise this convention. It belongs to the heist movie. But the work is anchored by moving interviews with migrants sleeping rough in Calais. Professional footage shows sunset on the channel, convoys in the rain, finally the lights of Picadilly.The three-channel installation is panoramic, and the 50-minute piece immerses the viewer in lives otherwise hard to imagine."
Mark Sheerin, Criticismism, June 2011
"In a disused harbour café Danish artist Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen is showing Promised Land, a film about the young men who camp in Calais while planning to smuggle themselves into Britain, either by hiding in lorries or using false passports. Their determination is impressive."
Sarah Kent, The Arts Desk, June 2011
"The work which appears to most directly tackle one of the region’s difficulties looks at migration. Danish artist Nikolaj B S Larsen has got so close to his displaced subjects in nearby Calais he has even enlisted their help filming sections of his video piece. The result is a startling insight into life in the makeshift camps known as the Jungle."
Mark Sheerin, Culture 24, July 2011
"Danish artist Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen responds to the political implications of the show's theme with a rather good tripple-screen film on Afghan refugees in a camp in Calais just on the other side of the Channel."
Mark Hudson, The Daily Telegraph, June 2011