As seems to be the way busy days at the fair, dinner with the friend I was staying with, arriving back in Enköping late last Sunday evening and an intense week with both work and the new studio put pay to time for writing. [I am very conscious that I wrote the draft of this post a couple of weeks ago and it is only now that I am getting around to publishing it.]
This year’s fair seemed a lot less hectic than previous years – or perhaps I am (finally) relaxing in to it. I certainly feel more open to seeing what is going on rather than having an agenda or feeling that I need to be at every talk, performance, and event. The smaller meetings that are moderated and have between six and eight participants (a mix of exhibitors and professional networkers) are a great way to get to know more about other artists’ projects. Each meeting has a theme or staring point, the ones I attended looked collaborations and ‘curator as conceptual artist’, from which departures are made in lively discussions that weave in and out differing approaches, practices and understandings. The relative intimacy of these meetings encourages openness in talking about aspirations as well as frustrations and failures but nearly always with a good dose of humour and a shared sense of solidarity. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be able to sit down and chat with artists from Poland, Hungary, Spain, Finland, the Netherlands and other areas in Sweden. Comparing our experiences and getting some idea of the different cultural and political climates that we live and work in gave me a great deal to think about.
The two public ‘Art Shots’ events re-worked the pecha-kucha format and gave each presenter ten minutes to talk to ten images. Again it was impressive and inspiring to see how much people achieve, and to hear about hugely differing means of support. The activities of 14+ Artists (Tanzania), Drunk and Storm (Madrid), Photoport (Slovakia), Galerie SAW Gallery (Canada), Alma Martha/Kalshnikovv Gallery (South Africa) and Verkligheten (Sweden) well reflected the diversity of the artist-led scene around the world with tales of massive state investment to stories of passionate commitment that far exceeded meagre material resources.
The idea of running a gallery/showroom in my apartment has been on my mind since last year’s fair. It’s a far from ideal place to do something like that and I am not sure that I am the kind of person who is comfortable opening my home to strangers on a regular basis. Whilst listening to how other artists are doing things it suddenly struck me that the corridor immediately outside of our new studio could be an interesting space for showing art. Obviously any artist showing there would have to take the space for what it is – a corridor(!) – but it would enable me to invite artists to Enköping and even organise projects and events from a physical space! Tired, inspired and a little ‘over stimulated’ I returned to Enköping and asked Klas what he thought about the idea of me renting the corridor and running it as a ‘contemporary art venue’. He liked the idea. So now I have somewhere to develop ‘things’ with other artists!