SVK Art Talk: Kunstneres samarbejde med virksomheder

Art Talk 02-03-2017 poster

Billeder og tekst af Kit Kjølhede

(scroll down for English)

Statens Værksteder for Kunst (SVK) er et fantastisk sted at komme. Over fire etager finder man atelierer og værksteder – og ikke mindst specialværktøj, plads, viden og erfaring [foto]. Jeg havde selv fornøjelsen af at tilbringe to måneder i huset i 2015, hvor jeg sammen med Anders Bonnesen var inviteret med på projektet REGN-SKOV af the grand old man Poul Pedersen.

Men denne gang var jeg i huset for at deltage i en Art Talk, som blev holdt torsdag d. 2. marts 2017 [foto]. SVK lancerede i efteråret 2016 deres første Art Talk, støttet af Statens Kunstfond. I sin velkomst fortalte direktør Frederik Hardvendel, at SVK med Art Talk gerne vil skabe et forum for debat og netværk. Arrangementerne slutter derfor også med et glas vin og mulighed for at få en snak med både gamle og nye bekendtskaber.

Denne gang handlede det om kunstneres samarbejde med virksomheder. I et tæt pakket lokale på 4. sal, fortalte kunstner Pernille Egeskov om sine erfaringer med at arbejde sammen med virksomheder. Og bagefter fortalte kunstrådgiver Christina Wilson om sine erfaringer med kunst i virksomheder fra to forskellige projekter.

Kunstneren

Pernille Egeskov_SMK March 2017_blogPernille Egeskov [foto] lavede i 2016 udstillingen “HJEM”, som i en uge blev vist i en lejlighed i centrum af København. Pernille var blevet kontaktet af de tre designvirksomheder Fritz Hansen (møbler), Dinesen (gulve) og Georg Jensen Damask (tekstiler). De tre var blevet enige om, at de ville finde en kunstner, der kunne lave et kunstnerisk greb på deres produkter, og da Pernille Egeskov arbejder med ‘det hjemlige’, blev hun kontaktet. Efter en indledende tøven og skepsis valgte hun at sige ja til opgaven.

Samarbejde mellem kunstnere og virksomheder bliver tit mødt med en vis skepsis, ikke mindst fra kunstneres side, og et spørgsmål fra salen lød da også: “Har du oplevet kritik fra resten af kunstverdenen?” “Nej, men jeg har heller ikke spurgt,” svarede Pernille.

Blandt Pernille Egeskovs erfaringer er, at det er virkelig vigtigt, at man fra starten får afklaret den kunstneriske frihed i projektet. At der er enighed om økonomi og efterfølgende ejerskab til værkerne. At man på alle måder ved, hvad man går ind til. Det lykkedes i dette tilfælde, og projektet blev en succes – og eksempel på den gode historie, hvor alle var tilfredse.

Fotos fra HJEM kan ses her.

Rådgiveren

Christina Wilson_SMK March 2017_blogChristina Wilson stod fra 2002-2012 bag Galleri Wilson, og det var som gallerist, at hun i 2008 blev kontaktet af en partner i KPMG, der ville have hendes hjælp til dels at flytte firmaets eksisterende kunstsamling, dels at finde nye værker til et nyt domicil, der skulle bygges og indvies i 2012.

Christina Wilson allierede sig med IN SITU og Galleri Bo Bjerggaard til opgaven, der havde et budget på DKK 11 mio. Herfra blev brugt der lang tid på at definere kunstens rolle i det nye byggeri (den skulle fungere som rød tråd og stedmarkører og til at definere forskellige zoner i det store byggeri). Der blev fastlagt parametre for at udvælge kunstnere (internationalt udsyn, toneangivende, spektakulært og syv andre kriterier, se foto nedenfor), og ud fra disse kriterier valgte man otte kunstnere ud fra hvilke steder i bygningen, de passede til.

Erfaringerne er efterfølgende fra virksomheden (nu Ernst & Young), at man i høj grad bruger værkerne til at indlede en samtale med kunderne. At de danner grobund for dialog. Går man ind på virksomhedens hjemmeside kan man se, at de bruger kunsten til at profilere sig – til at være med til at danne virksomhedens identitet.

KPMG udvælgelsesparametre_blog_SMK March 2017I dag arbejder Christina Wilson sammen med virksomheden Aquaporin. Hun blev kontaktet af virksomhedens direktør, som interesserer sig for kunst og mente, at hun skulle bruge hans gigantiske lokaler til at lave et nyt galleri. Det havde ikke Christina Wilsons interesse, men et efterfølgende møde resulterede alligevel i et samarbejde: Christina Wilson fungerer i dag som det, hun selv kalder ‘moderator’. Hun har allieret sig med diakron, der står for selve kurateringen og kontakt til kunstnere. Og hun er så kontaktleddet mellem virksomheden og kunstnerdelen. Hun har på virksomheden etableret det, hun kalder en ‘kunstfølgegruppe’ bestående af medarbejdere, som hun jævnligt møder og taler kunst med. Fx spørger hun: “Hvad har du tænkt på i dag, da du gik forbi dette værk?”. Og hun stiller måske det samme spørgsmål igen og igen – for at følge, om der sker en udvikling i, hvordan medarbejderne tænker. Ændrer deres tanker sig?

Indtil videre er der kun penge til hendes egen løn, men der søges fonde. For tiden vises kunst af Simone Aaberg Kern, der bl.a. har sin flyvemaskine hængene i virksomhedens store haller (kunstneren har indgået aftale om gratis at vise sin kunst mod at virksomheden opbevarer hendes store værker).

Christina Wilson betegner sit arbejde som grundforskning og forventer at udgive en håndbog om arbejdet. Hun er fuldstændig overbevist om, at kunstnere og virksomheder kan skabe noget sammen. Hun mener også, at en virksomheds organisation ligner den kunstneriske praksis: en virksomhed har en produktionsafdeling, en markedsføringsafdeling, en regnskabsafdeling og så videre. At være kunstner er at have en small business. Christina Wilson fortæller, at hun nogle gange kan finde på at spørge en kunstner: “Hvor lang tid har du tilbragt i din produktionsafdeling?” For mange kunstnere er det måske ‘hele tiden’; mange år. Og så lyder spørgsmålet: “Hvor lang tid har du tilbragt i din markedsføringsafdeling?” Og for mange kunstnere er det måske næsten ingen tid, “Så er det måske derfor, du har en masse værker stående på loftet …”

Kunstnerens styrke er, ifølge Christina Wilson, at man som kunstner er vant til at innovere fra ingenting. At man er vant til at udtænke nye ting. Og at man er vant til, at der er proppet meget ind i værket – og at det kan kommunikere i sig selv. Christina Wilsons dagsorden er derfor at hjælpe med at finde ud af, hvordan man laver en forretningsmodel ud af at være kunstner: “Kunstnere er sindssygt dygtige til mange ting – men hvordan kan de tjene penge på det?”

Og med denne optimistiske svada sluttede indlæggene, og der blev åbnet op for vin og samtaler. Var man kommet for at få konkrete råd til, hvordan man som kunstner kan få foden indenfor i en virksomhed (hvilket en deltager spurgte til), var man gået forgæves. Men jeg synes alligevel, det var en udbytterig aften. Jeg fik en interessant snak med et par nye ansigter, og da jeg blev nødt til at gå, summede lokalet stadig af samtaler på kryds og tværs.

Art Talk på SVK er en god mulighed for at se et sted, mange ellers ikke har lejlighed til at se indefra (medmindre man er så heldig at få et arbejdsophold). Og det er en fantastisk mulighed for at blive klogere på et emne, og – ikke mindst – at netværke med kolleger i kunstbranchen. Jeg kommer helt sikkert næste gang.

Er du interesseret i at deltage i en Art Talk, så tilmeld dig nyhedsbrevet på SVK’s hjemmeside eller følg med SVK på Facebook. Alle er velkomne, det er gratis, og man skal blot melde sig til. Art Talk holdes på dansk.

Som kunstner har man mulighed for at søge om et arbejdsophold på SVK. Det gælder projekter inden for billedkunst, design, kunsthåndværk og konservering, og SVK tilbyder rammer til at arbejde i store formater, som ens eget værksted og udstyr ikke tillader. Som udsendt for Immigrant Art spurgte jeg naturligvis HVEM, der kan søge – skal man kunne fremvise dansk fødselsattest? Og det skal man ikke. Man kan søge som udenlandsk kunstner, bosiddende i Danmark eller andre lande, men kravet er, at der er en relation til Danmark, fx at værkerne skal udstilles i Danmark. Læs mere på www.svfk.dk, der er på dansk og engelsk.

 

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SVK Art Talk: Artists’ Collaboration with Companies

Translation by Nicol Savinetti

Danish Arts Workshop (SVK) is a great place to visit. Housed on four floors, you will find studios and workshops, and not least special tools, space, knowledge and experience. I, Kit Kjølhede, even had the pleasure to spend two months in the house in 2015 when, along with Anders Bonnesen, I was invited to the project RAINFOREST by the grand old man Poul Pedersen.

But this time I was there to attend an Art Talk, on Thursday 2 March, 2017. In autumn 2016, SVK launched their first Art Talk, supported by the Danish Arts Foundation. In his welcoming speech, the director, Frederik Hardvendel, explained that with Art Talk, SVK would like to create a forum for discussion and networking. As such, the events end with a glass of wine and the chance to have a chat with old and new acquaintances.

This time the talk was about artists’ collaboration with businesses. In a packed room on the 4th floor, artist Pernille Egeskov told us about her experience of working with companies and art advisor, Christina Wilson, spoke about her experiences with art in two different projects.

The Artist

In 2016, Pernille Egeskov made the exhibition “HOME” which was shown in an apartment in the center of Copenhagen for one week. Pernille had been approached by the three design firms Fritz Hansen (furniture), Dinesen (floors) and Georg Jensen Damask (textiles). The three had agreed that they wanted find an artist who could create an artistic approach to their products, and as Pernille Egeskov was working with ‘the domestic’, she was contacted. After initial hesitation and skepticism, she chose to say yes to the assignment.

Cooperation between artists and companies is often met with skepticism, especially from artists’ side, and a question from the audience reflected this attitude: “Have you had any criticism from the rest of the art world?” Pernille replied, “No, but I have not asked.”

Pernille Egeskov’s has learned that it is extremely important to establish the parameters for artistic freedom in the project from the very beginning, and also to ensure that there is agreement on the financing and subsequent ownership of the works. It is important to know exactly what you are entering into. In this case, the agreements were fine and the project was a success, and this was an example of a good story where everyone was satisfied.

View photos from the exhibition HOME here.

The Adviser

Christina Wilson was behind Gallery Wilson from 2002-2012. It was as gallerist in 2008 that Christina was approached by a KPMG partner who wanted her help – in part to move the company’s existing art collection, and in part to find new works for a their headquarters to be built and inaugurated in 2012.

With a budget of DKK 11 million, Christina Wilson teamed up with IN SITU and Galleri Bo Bjerggaard for the job. From that point on, a lot of time was spent defining the role of art in the new building: the art should serve as common thread and the individual pieces as place markers and to define different zones in the large building. The parameters for selecting artists (international outlook, trend-setting, spectacular and seven other criteria [photo]) were set. Based on these criteria they chose eight artists, one for each of the places in the building they suited.

Subsequently the company (now Ernst & Young) has experienced that the artworks are primarily used to initiate conversation with customers – they are the breeding ground for dialogue. If you go on to the company’s website you can see that they use art to raise their profile and to help form the company identity.

Today, Christina Wilson works for Aquaporin. She was approached by the CEO of the who is interested in art. He was of the opinion that she should use their gigantic rooms to create a new gallery. The idea was not of interest to Christina , but a subsequent meeting ended up resulting in cooperation: Christina operates today as what she calls a ‘moderator’. She has teamed up with diakron, which handles the actual curation and contacting artists. She is as the contact point between the company and the artistic part. Inside the company, she has established what she calls an ‘art reference group’ which is made up of employees who she regularly meet and talk art with. For example, she asks: “What did you think about the day that you walked past this work?”. And she perhaps poses the same question again and again in order to monitor if there is a shift in how employees think. Do their thoughts change?
So far there is only money for her own salary, but she is seeking funds. Currently artwork by Simone Aaberg Kern is being shown. Among other works, she has her airplane hanging in on of the company’s large halls (the artist has agreed to display her art free of charge in exchange for the company storing her larger pieces).

Christina refers to her work as basic research and expects to publish a handbook about the work. She is entirely convinced that artists and businesses can create something together. She also believes that a company’s organization is similar to the artistic practice: a company has a production department, marketing department, accounting department and so on. To be an artist is to have a small business. Christina Wilson says she can sometimes actually ask an artist: “How long have you spent in your production department?” For many artists, it is perhaps ‘all the time’ or ‘many years’. And then the question is: “How long have you spent in your marketing department?” And for many artists the answer is often, next to no time, “Well, that is perhaps why you have a lot of works up in the attic …”

The artist’s strength, according to Christina Wilson that, is that they are accustomed to innovate from nothing – one is accustomed to think of new ideas. And that they are used to cramming a lot into the work, and that in itself can ‘communicate’. Christina Wilson’s agenda is to help find out how to make a business model out of being an artist: “Artists are insanely good at many things – but how can they make money on it?”

And with this optimistic tirade her presentation ended and also opened up for wine and conversation. If participants came to get specific advice on how an artist can get a foothold in a company (which one person did ask about), then they attended in vain. But I still think it was a rewarding evening. I had interesting conversations with a few new people, and when I needed to leave, the room was still buzzing with conversations.

Art Talk at SVK is a good opportunity to see a place many would otherwise not have the opportunity to see the inside of (unless you are lucky enough to get a residency). And it’s a great opportunity to learn about a subject, and – not least – to network with colleagues in the arts industry. I will definitely come again.

If you are interested in participating in an Art Talk, sign up for the newsletter on SVK’s website or follow the SVK on Facebook. Everyone is welcome, it’s free and you just need to sign up for. Art Talk is held in Danish.

As an artist, you have the opportunity to apply for a residency at the SVK. This applies to projects in visual arts, design, crafts and preservation, and SVK offers suitable conditions to work with large formats that one’s own workshop and equipment may not allow. As an envoy for Immigrant Art I of course asked WHO can apply – does one have to present Danish birth certificate? And the answer was “No.”. You can apply as a foreign artist living in Denmark or another country, but the requirement is that there is a relation to Denmark, for example, that the works will be exhibited in Denmark. Read more at www.svfk.dk in both Danish and English.

 

 

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