Copenhagen and its ambitious art scene

There was no better way to end my summer than in Copenhagen, a vibrant city known for its creativity, design, boundary-pushing cuisine, and for being a polestar of progress when it comes to art. With only a recent history of art fairs, it is remarkable that the Scandinavian capital is now home to not just one, but two concurrent art fairs: CODE and CHART.

For its sixth edition, Chart (31st August – 2nd September, 2018 ) took place in the Kunsthal Charlottenborg, a beautiful baroque palace where 32 leading Nordic galleries eschewed the traditional booth structure, presenting their artworks in a museum setting, which turned out to be a more enjoyable viewing experience than at a typical art fair.

After a tour of the rooms, most of them shared by multiple galleries, I turned back to that of Galleria Heino, with new works by Finland´s acclaimed photographer and video artist, Elina Brotherus. With a bit of luck the artist was there and I had a chance to talk with her about the way she deals with her own biography by exploring the possibilities of photographic self-dramatization. Brotherus talked about the meaning of her One Minute Sculptures (2007) in collaboration with Erwin Wurm and how she was able to shoot her Nu montant un escalator (2017) nude video at 6 am, and in only two hours, on the escalator at the Centre Pompidou.

Galleria Heino at Chart Art Fair 2018, featuring Elina Brotherus , One Minute Sculpture with Erwin Wurm (Denk mit), 2018, From the series One Minute Sculptures; pigment ink print on Museo Silver Rag paper, mounted and framed 120 x 90 cm (image size) edition 6 + 2 AP, After Erwin Wurm, Organisation of Love, 2007.
Image rights: Elina Brotherus, Courtesy of Elina Brotherus and Galleria Heino.

 

 

Other noteworthy galleries were Andersen’s presenting of works like Shiyuan Liu’s Chair No. 10 (2018), Andersson/Sandström with large-scale works by Turner Prize-winning British sculptor, Tony Cragg, Norwegian gallery Golsa with Perla Piago’s Excerpt from A, nr. 1 (2018) and Galleri Nicolai Wallner with Jose Dávila showing One in the other (2018).

Galleri Golsa at Chart Art Fair 2018, featuring Pearla Piago, Excerpt from A, nr. 1 (2018); Interactive sound textile, handwoven on Tc2 digital loom, cotton, steel wire, copper rod, oscillators and headset, 120 × 110 cm. Courtesy of Galleri Golsa.

 

Andersen’s at Chart Art Fair 2018, featuring Shiyuan Liu, Chair No. 10, 2018, Courtesy Shiyuan Liu and Andersen’s, Copenhagen.

 

Andersson/Sandström at Chart Art Fair 2018, featuring Tony Cragg, Courtesy of the artist and Andersson/Sandström Gallery.

 

Galleri Nicolai Wallner at Chart Art Fair 2018, featuring Jose Dávila, One in the other (II) (2018) Plaster molds with artiicial gold leaf, 46 x 50 x 43 cm Unique; Photo credit: Anders Sune Berg, Courtesy of the artist and Galleri Nicolai Wallner.

 

Chart also organized a party for the local and international guests, which I decided to skip and attended instead a reception at the Copenhagen Contemporary, one of Denmark’s largest art spaces. The senior curator, Jannie Haagemann explained how this museum started as an ambitious experiment two years ago, and the work it took to finance a mainly privately funded institution with the support of the country’s largest foundations coupled with financial backing from the City of Copenhagen.

In the vast 7,000 m2 space, the museum allowed the Danish collective Superflex and American artist Doug Aitken to think big. The large-scale installation, probably familiar to those who visited the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall earlier this year, with tubular orange metal swings of One Two Three Swing! reappear in a new configuration, where the swings are designed for three people to swing together and experience the potential of collective energy.

 

CC1-8, SUPERFLEX. One Two Three Swing!
Installation shot, Copenhagen Contemporary 2018. Photo: Anders Sune Berg.

 

In the last room Doug Aitken’s 35-minute immersive video installation, SONG 1 incorporates video clips projected on a large circular screen. Actors and musicians, including Tilda Swinton, sing The Flamingo’s hit song from 1973, I Only Have Eyes for You . The audience can walk around or step into the spatial video work, while time and place take on another dimension within human experience.

CC9-17, Doug Aitken. SONG 1, Installation shot, Copenhagen Contemporary 2018. Photo: Anders Sune Berg.

 

I reserved my last day in Copenhagen for CODE (30th August – 2nd September, 2018), a new international art fair and the only one in Scandinavia that gathers upcoming and established galleries under one roof. Code also presents films, a series of talks Next Generation and ArtxBrand, as well as a performance program curated by Irene Campolmi.

In its third edition, Code welcomed 78 galleries from over twenty countries across five continents. I could see a balanced selection of galleries, from renowned ones to emerging or very young ones participating for the first time, such as Careva Contemporary from Riga.

Here are my top picks from the art on offer, in no particular order:

Proyectos Monclova at Code Art Fair 2018, featuring Anna Virnich, Michael Sailstorfer, Gabriel de la Mora and Robert C. Morgan. Photo credit: I DO ART Agency, Courtesy of Proyectos Monclova.

 

Sexauer Gallery at Code Art Fair 2018, featuring Caroline Kryzecki, 100 x 170 cm, 50 x 35 cm, Ball point pen on paper, Courtesy of Sexauer Gallery.

 

Avlskarl Gallery at Code Art Fair 2018, Featuring Axel Geis, Tony Oursler, Florian Meisenberg, Michael Sailstorfer and Gregor Hildebrandt. Photo credit: Torben Eskerod, Courtesy of Avlskarl Gallery .

 

Galerie Krinzinger at Code Art Fair 2018, featuring Kaspar Sonne , SON/S 2
Everything changes nothing (from the series beginning / middle / end), 2006
billboard, aluminium, pvc, wood 115 x 77 x 11.5 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Krinzinger. Photo copyright Galerie Krinzinger.

 

KÖNIG GALERIE at Code Art Fair 2018, featuring Alicja Kwade, Hypothetisches Gebilde, 2017, copper, granite, coal, powder coated steel 171.2 x 122.5 x 100 cm; unique; Courtesy of the artist and KÖNIG GALERIE.

 

Galerija Vartai at Code Art Fair 2018, featuring Mindaugas Lukošaitis, Vytautas Viržbickas and Janis Jānis Avotiņš. Photo credit: I DO ART Agency, Courtesy of Galerija Vartai.

 

DITTRICH & SCHLECHTRIEM at Code Code Art Fair 2018, featuring Julian Charrière, An Invitation to Disappear – Tanah Grogot, 2018. Courtesy of DITTRICH & SCHLECHTRIEM

 

Galleri Riis at Code Art Fair 2018, featuring Juan Andrés Milanes Benito. Courtesy of Galleri Riis.

 

Galerie Geukens & De Vil at Code Art Fair 2018, featuring Martha Tuttle, Untitled, 2018. Photo credit: Maria Nitulescu.

 

Galería Alegría at Code Art Fair 2018, featuring Stefan Rinck and Humberto Poblete-Bustamante. Courtesy of Galería Alegría.
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