13 December 2022 – 31 December 2023
FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN FOR UKS
Air & Love
This campaign is closed as of January 2024.
There’s a saying in Norway that one can live on air and love alone. We all know that isn’t quite the case.
Now is the last chance to get your hands on a fantastic artwork by either Damla Kilickiran or A K Dolven by donating to UKS. Donations will help us to complete an essential part of our renovation project at UKS, as our new space is in need of a new ventilation system that will help us provide fresh air for all our visitors. Now we need your help!
In January 2023, UKS – Young Artists’ Society opened the doors to our new home in Keysers gate 1 in central Oslo. We invite you into a space bursting with history, an exhibition space full of the freshest contemporary art, desk spaces in our library and steaming hot coffee on soft sofas in our new lounge.
Significant renovation work is already complete. During the months ahead of the grand opening in 2023, we cast the concrete floor, painted the walls and turned on the lights. Now an important piece is missing and we are hoping for some contributions to make it happen. In return, UKS offers a house full of love for art and the best environment for experiencing it – together. All donations will be a part of this mission!
We have received generous support from Norwegian councils and foundations, and we are adding funds of our own for the renovation of a home for young art to be developed over the next 10 years or more. In total we have raised 4.6 million Norwegian kroner (about 460,000 EUR) of our total budget of 5 million NOK. Now we need help in raising the last 400,000 NOK (40,000 EUR) to ensure a steady flow of oxygen through our beautiful new premises.
UKS was founded for artists by artists and is owned by its members. We have fought for artistic freedom and supported young artists for over 100 years and aim to do so for the next 100 years!
We’ve teamed up with our artist allies DAMLA KILICKIRAN and A K DOLVEN, each of whom have created a work which you can receive in exchange for your donation to UKS. Both artists have been paid for their labour and have kindly agreed to donate the profits of each artwork to secure fresh air in UKS’ new space.
- By donating 1,500 NOK, you will receive one edition of Damla Kilickiran’s work On Sense And Glyphs (2022).
- By donating 5,000 NOK, you will receive one edition of A K Dolven’s work one day more (2022).
- Other donations are also welcome and are, of course, highly appreciated, even if you might not be interested in receiving an artwork in exchange.
- Everyone is welcome to donate: artists, individuals, companies, institutions and others. All donations, regardless of size, are received with love and eternal gratitude!
- Select your donation by clicking on your chosen artwork by Damla Kilickiran or A K Dolven, or alternatively your chosen donation amount, and click ‘complete your donation’. Payments are accepted either via credit card or Vipps.
COLLECTION AND SHIPPING
Artworks can be shipped by mail or collected (free) at UKS in Keysers gate 1. Get in touch at info(at)uks.no to schedule a pick-up.
Damla Kilickiran (b. 1991, SE) lives and works in Oslo. Kilickiran’s artistic practice reflects on alternative ways of existing as a method for creating images and knowledge. She graduated from the Oslo Art Academy in 2020 and had her first solo exhibition in Oslo at UKS in 2021 – a marvellous collaboration. Her work has recently been exhibited at Bergen Kunsthall; Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art (GIBCA); Destiny’s Atelier, Oslo; Lofoten International Art Festival; and Nordnorsk Kunstnersenter, Svolvær.
UKS weaves its thread through the country: from Lindesnes in the south to Kirkenes in the north, artists have been involved in UKS, either as part of the board or in the exhibition programme. This is a place where all artists, including those of us who may not fit into the conventional medium categories – those of us who fall between two chairs – can find a home. At UKS, there is room for artists in all parts of the organisation: in the members’ organisation, the experimental programming and the administration. At UKS, art and politics go hand in hand.
—Damla Kilickiran, artist
A K Dolven (b. 1953, NO) lives and works in Oslo, Lofoten and London. She first exhibited at UKS in 1984 and has been a member for decades. A K works in a plethora of different media; through painting, installation, film and sound, she explores communities and landscapes, often focusing on the relationships between individuals, societies and nature. Her work has been shown at Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin; Tate Liverpool; and ICA, London. Dolven has an upcoming retrospective exhibition at the National Museum in Oslo in 2025.
In 1983, at UKS, I exhibited an untitled print: two soft breasts against two black missile heads. The exhibition coincided with a government vote on the deployment of intermediate range atomic missiles in Europe and a large demonstration was held outside the Norwegian Parliament. I immediately thought that rather than hanging on a wall in a gallery, my print should sail down above the politicians voting in the Parliament hall. The vote took place in the evening; I quickly arranged a babysitter, drove to the Parliament, brought with me lightly rolled editions of my work, dressed elegantly, was admitted into the hall and from the balcony I let the prints sail down over the politicians. I was arrested but was discharged as I had to get home to breastfeed my child. I consider UKS to be the place my artistic practice truly began.
—A K Dolven, artist
I got married as a performance at UKS in 2011 so, for me, the premises – wherever they are – will always be the home of love. UKS is important to me personally but the organisation is also a meeting place that offers new opportunities for young artists. UKS facilitates spaces for current conversations in the arts and highlights and fights for issues that concern all visual artists.
— Charlotte Thiis-Evensen, artist and journalist at NRK
The art field is completely dependent on UKS to maintain a critical dialogue about the conditions for artists in Norway today. UKS is not only a union but a physical place to see exhibitions, meet people and navigate a field that is constantly changing. How many initiatives have not been born out of a few nightcaps at UKS? In a world in full gallop, we need a steady trotter like UKS to get to port in a fair and, preferably, unusual way.
— Geir Haraldseth, Curator at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design
Since its establishment, UKS has been an important arena for art and for the artist’s role in society. The new premises give UKS the possibility to make art and artist policies accessible for everyone. In Norway, we can take pride in our strong policies on artists’ rights, and as a prime example of a democratic members’ organisation that continues to fight for artists’ rights, UKS takes a central position both in Norway and in the wider world.
— Tone Hansen, Director at MUNCH and former Chair of UKS (2003–05)
We were both students in Bergen in the 1990s and kept ourselves up to date on the Oslo scene through the magazine UKS – Forum for samtidskunst. The UKS gallery was trendsetting and an important gateway to the art world, for us and many others. We not only exhibited at UKS but also edited UKS Forum on four occasions with the themes Sale, Architecture, Middle Class and Sex, and we presented internationally recognised artists and theorists to the Norwegian art audience.
For a well-functioning art scene it is important to have a place like UKS that allows artists to build and show projects that fall between commercial galleries and big, heavy and more exclusive institutions. A political organisation that has the back of young artists in their phase of establishment, which at the same time is an exhibition space and a space for national and international professional exchange is invaluable for a country’s artistic climate.
— Gardar Eide Einarsson and Matias Faldbakken, artists and editors of UKS – Forum for samtidskunst (2001–05)
To visit UKS is to witness art history in the making. UKS has created a space where young, experimental artists continually update our notions of what Norwegian art is and can be, in close dialogue with international milieus and tendencies. UKS is a unique gathering place for everyone interested in art, and an important bridge between small artist-run initiatives and big museums – a place where younger artists gain the experience and exposure needed to support their entry into wider professional contexts.
— Ina Blom, art historian and art critic
Being part of UKS’ anniversary exhibition in 2021 made me really think about the role and benefits of a strong artists’ union, particularly in a field as deregulated and vulnerable to exploitation as that of contemporary art. Perhaps especially in the international art world, the conditions are so difficult and exclusionary, they normalise precarity and limit access, and those who perpetuate them could and should be held to account by a strong, unified union. The commission I undertook for UKS was remunerated in 3 sections: production budget, a salary and a fee for the use of intellectual property in the exhibition. This sense of ‘workers’ rights’ was something I had never experienced before – the clarity, the fairness, the acknowledgement. I saw how this structure has been negotiated and written into public policy in Norway, and it really shows the beautiful power of solidarity which is the foundation of unionising. Together we are strong, together we can. They organise, they are active, they have power. There is so much to learn from an organisation like UKS. I wish we all could be members.
— Tai Shani, artist and Turner Prize winner
UKS’ union fights for artists’ labour rights and the result of this work is a stable compass in my work as a gallerist. UKS’ exhibition programme is experimental, unique and high quality, and where many great artists’ professional careers have started. UKS’ exhibitions inspire and function as a reflection on the development of art and the art field.
— Gard Eiklid, Director at Golsa
A strong art field is dependent on diversity in perspectives and voices. As such, UKS plays an important role in Oslo’s art scene by giving centre stage to young artistic practices and providing a solid framework for experimental projects. UKS is a platform that uncompromisingly focuses on art and artists, allowing its audience to experience different artistic movements and strategies within contemporary art, both nationally and internationally.
— Solveig Øvstebø, Executive Director and Chief Curator at the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art
The New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) has been proud to call UKS a partner for the past several years. UKS provides a rare situation for artists to come together and support each other, much in the way that NADA’s community does. Together, our NADA UKS Member Residency programme has worked to establish an international exchange for Oslo-based artists and US-based art dealers, strengthening the cultural ties between Norway and the United States. We are proud to have UKS be a gateway for American art professionals to experience young, Norwegian contemporary art.
— Heather Hubbs, Executive Director, New Art Dealers Alliance
UKS is the only Norwegian institution where young artists can show up unexpected at the director’s office to pitch an idea for a cool seminar, then subsequently receive an e-mail from a New York-based curator that begins with ‘DYING to hear about your cool seminar!’.
— Eirik Sæther, artist and actor
UKS stands for Young Artists Society – and that is correct, for those of you who read this and didn’t know (MANY of you know). But many of you probably don’t know that UKS is to artists what the Fairy Godmother is to Cinderella! Showing up when the rest of society has left to go to the ball! And isn’t that something to rally behind – you don’t wanna throw a wrench into the works of a Fairy Godmother, do you?
— Herr Kunstmaler (Amir Asgharnejad), artist, comedian and actor
Home is where you feel supported. UKS has been a home to artists for more than a century. And now it has moved into a new home of its own! To make this home the best support structure for artists it can be, please consider supporting UKS’ Air and Love campaign <3
— Stefanie Hessler, Director at Swiss Institute
UKS is the most important political organisation in art, promoting not only the art field but also the possibility for artists to live and work in a city where housing prices rise faster than wages. Alongside the political work, the new headquarters in Keysers gate 1 makes UKS an advocate of innovative architecture with a focus on circularity, self-build and environmental and social sustainability.
— Arild Eriksen, Director and architect at Fragment
What is UKS?
UKS (Unge Kunstneres Samfund / Young Artists’ Society) is an exhibition space for contemporary art and a national union for professional artists. We fight for artists’ social and economic rights; so that anyone, regardless of socio-economic background, can choose to become an artist; and for the possibility for young artists to become old artists. For the past 70 years UKS has operated an exhibition space that has gradually grown in scope and impact, gaining international attention in recent years and attracting artists, art workers and audiences from around the globe.
We are one of the most important spaces for young and experimental art practices in Norway, presenting critical voices in the public debate about art and gaining both national and international traction in the debate on equity in the art world.
UKS has a long tradition of amplifying the work of ground-breaking young artists and has shown many of Norway’s most important artists and artworks, such as Kjartan Slettemark’s Av rapport fra Vietnam (…) from 1965, Anna-Eva Bergman’s first abstract paintings shown in Norway in 1950, Per Inge Bjørlo’s debut in 1980 and many more UKS artists who have found their way into the annals of art history.
Why did you have to move into a new space?
UKS was founded by a small group of artists in a bar in Kristiania (Oslo) in 1921 and has called many a space home since then. Our gallery was located in one of Oslo’s oldest buildings, Rådhusgata 19, for over 60 years, after which we left the small house to take up residency in an impressive old factory in the 2000s. After 14 years in the industrial environment of Lakkegata, we appropriated the former Bårdar Dance Institute as an exhibition space from 2014 to 2015. Both spaces have now been demolished and, since 2015, we have run a smaller exhibition space in St. Olavs gate which, while functional and warm, has prohibited UKS from being the spacious and welcoming institution we want to be – for our members, artists and audiences.
Now we have finally found a new place to call home for the next 10 (or more) years. At Keysers gate we can host large exhibitions, educational forums, film screenings, debates, reading groups, dinners and lunches. We will always have free hot coffee brewing, soft seating in our lounge area and a library with places for studying and reflecting on art.
Should I already know about UKS?
Absolutely! You have probably encountered UKS’ artists and collaborators in one of Norway’s larger museums or collections. In 1965, UKS showed Kjartan Slettemark’s Av rapport fra Vietnam (…) which, to this day, is Norway’s most highly debated artwork. Perhaps you’ve heard of Matias Faldbakken’s newest book? Together with Gardar Eide Einarsson, Faldbakken edited UKS’ theory magazine UKS – Forum for samtidskunst for several years. Or perhaps you have seen Sandra Mujinga or Apichaya Wanthiang’s large exhibitions at the Munch Museum? Both had their first solo exhibitions at UKS in 2018. By supporting UKS, you also support the artists of tomorrow.
What’s so special about UKS compared to other exhibition spaces?
As a members’ union for artists across Norway, UKS is not only aimed at an Oslo-based audience – we exist for anyone interested in the state of art today and in the future. In addition to our exhibition programme, we host conversations, debates, readings and presentations, almost always available to stream online. By supporting UKS you are supporting a meeting space for artists and art lovers across the globe, where ideas and communities are shaped and challenged through art.
What needed fixing in the new space in Keysers gate 1?
Lots – and a lot has been done in 2022 and 2023. In collaboration with Fragment Architects, we have transformed the grand 1920s Søilen Teater into a contemporary art space. The building has a rich history: iconic actress Wenche Foss had her debut at Søilen Teater in 1935 and Édith Piaf sang ‘La vie en rose’ on this very stage! Right before the outbreak of the Second World War, comedian Leif Juster established the Edderkoppen Theatre, poking fun at the German occupying forces. It’s even said that the stage floor hid the home front’s largest secret weapons depot in Oslo. In the 1970s our space housed a recording studio for the classic Olsenbanden movies, and for the last 15 years it has been home to hundreds of art students attending the radical preparatory course at Prosjektskolen. These amazing, but worn and capricious spaces are being refurbished with an eye to flexibility and a strong focus on sustainability and accessibility. Altogether, the premises offer 800 square metres, including a grand exhibition hall, workshop, storage, offices, meeting room, kitchen, library and a project space.
What will be happening at the ‘new UKS’?
Anything can happen! Our 2023 exhibition programme featured four large exhibitions. We will also continue our presentation series HOW TO PRACTICE? in which artists share their best tricks for living a life of creativity. The MINIBAR has resurfaced, offering everything from performances to book launches. We are arranging film screenings, cooking classes, discussion forums, info meetings for UKS members and others and perhaps yoga – with all these new spaces, the possibilities are endless. We are confident that UKS’ 100-year-long history of inspiring, and sometimes shocking, new and exciting art projects will continue to engage and enrage for 100 more years.
Where is the new space and when did you open?
The address is Keysers gate 1, right around the corner from the new government offices in the city centre of Oslo, close to public transport and parking facilities. We are also in the middle of a developing cultural scene with creative communities, restaurants and nightlife. We opened the new space to the public with great fanfare on 13 January 2023!
How has UKS been funded until now?
UKS receives annual operations support from the Department of Culture and the City of Oslo. To fund specific projects, such as this renovation, UKS applies for funding from national and international public and private funds. We have received generous support from Sparebankstiftelsen, Norwegian Arts Council, Bergesenstiftelsen, Bildende Kunstneres Hjelpefond, and have secured financial support from the building’s owner, in addition to financing as much as we can afford from our own operations budget and equity.
Why do you need my support when UKS is already financed by both public and private funds?
We consider ourselves very lucky to be a benefactor of the Norwegian art funding system. However, since starting the renovations, the old theatre building has thrown us some curve balls, adding to the costs of a project that has already seen rising overheads due to the ongoing financial crisis and global inflation. Your support will help us meet our goal of completing and opening a sustainable, accessible and well-ventilated space to gather in and celebrate the love of art.
What will you do with my donation?
Your generous support will go towards covering costs taken on by UKS in purchasing, building and installing a ventilation system. The old system, oversized for our use, was taken down due to pollution and wear and tear that was generating huge running and maintenance costs. It also occupied several cubic metres in our exhibition space. We have acquired a new ventilation system that can provide oxygen for the rooms used on a daily basis that will not financially ruin us when we invite hundreds of people in for openings and events.
What do I get out of supporting UKS?
Apart from our eternal gratitude, you will receive an art work of either Damla Kilickiran or A K Dolven, whom both has produced an edition of works for UKS’ campaign. Both artists are generously donating all the proceeds from their work to UKS. Naturally, you are welcome to donate without receiving an artwork too. Either way, you will have contributed a breath of fresh air to future experiences of contemporary art and helped secure the best infrastructure for artists and art audiences in Keysers gate 1 for many years to come.
Aren’t you exploiting artists by taking all the revenue from their artworks?
One of UKS’ main objectives is to make sure everyone receives fair payment for their work – especially artists! We asked Damla Kilickiran and A K Dolven for help because of their solid relationships with UKS and vice versa. We enjoyed a great collaboration with Damla Kilickiran on her solo exhibition in 2021, and A K Dolven has been a member since the start of her career and has followed and supported us since – in fact, she has kindly donated the material for her piece one day more to the campaign. Both artists have received an artist’s honorarium of 10,000 NOK and a royalties fee of 10,000 NOK, and UKS has funded the production of the artworks. Their agreement to donate the proceeds from their work to UKS’ refurbishment is a huge benefit to our cause.
What about the ambassadors?
UKS has asked a number of people in and around the cultural field to lend their good name to our campaign. We have dipped into our social capital here – the only thing we have offered in return is a copy of one of our publications and a tote bag. In return, each ambassador has kindly donated their time and their statements.
What will happen if you don’t reach your campaign target?
If we don’t reach the target, we will have to cut parts of the renovation plans, which will leave us faced with some hard and unpleasant choices. In the worst-case scenario we will have to close parts of the building to audiences, limit our opening hours or cut down on the exhibition programme.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF SALE (in Norwegian)
UKS and the renovation of Keysers gate 1 is generously supported by: