1 September 2012


Nordic Focus

Kaffebord at den Frie Udstillingsbygning – Common histories and artist initiatives.

The Visual Arts Focus of the Reykjavík Arts Festival 2012, (I)ndependent People: Collaborations & Artist Initiatives, which officially ends on September 2nd, conceptually holds many points of correspondence to both the theme of Copenhagen Art Festival and the history of the venue and working methods employed by Den Frie Udstillingsbygning, Center for Contemporary Art.

(On display during the conversation: No Gods No Parents. Participants are encouraged to contribute.)

In Reykjavík, several of the trajectories of artist-initiated practices from the Nordic region – spanning the past forty years – served as a genealogical background to questions posed in both the exhibitions and an international seminar, such as: Do we share common, ‘alternative’ histories in the Nordic region? If so, what are they and is it relevant to peruse these connections today? How have these networks changed over time? Is it possible, or even desirable, to create dynamic and sustainable collaborations?

Trajectories from this on-going investigation will be presented at Den Frie Udstillingsbygning / Centre of Contemporary Art is staged as an open conversation, echoing Den Frie´s Projekt Kaffebord. Our point of departure is The Living Art Museum´s Archive of Artist-Run Initiatives, who opened an office in the main exhibition hall at the National Gallery in Reykjavík between May and September 2012, housing a research on an archive of artist-run projects in Iceland from the past five decades. They presented objects and documentation from conceptual galleries like Gúlp! (contained within a shoe box) and Gallerí Barmur (a wearable badge in which exhibitions took place) to artist run venues like the Living Art Museum itself (founded by twenty artists in 1978 and still today key to Icelandic art history and international exchange).

One of the Kaffebord is a seminar-format that takes the 1800´s salong conversation as it´s point of departure, with a specifically invited group of experts on the subject to be discussed. Den Frie Udstillingsbygning, have released 2 books documenting their experimental projects by transcribing several Kaffebord conversations.

Confirmed participants (more to be confirmed): Jonatan Habib Engqvist, curator of (I)ndependent People, Stockholm, Linus Elmes, director UKS, Oslo, Gunnhildur Hauksdottír, director of the Living Art Museum; Reykjavík, Kirse Junge-Stevnsborg, director of Den Frie Udstillingsbygning

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