We continue our series of three quick questions, and today we are talking to the artist Karl Georg Staffan Björk. His piece "Uitzicht" was chosen as this year's cover image!
Hi Karl Georg Staffan! Who are you?
I am a swedish artist living and working in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Recently I have mainly been making site specific sculptural installations that deal with and reflect upon situations that alter human perception; situations where scale, position, structure and function have an impact on our spatial awareness, both in real-time and as perceived through a memory or a thought.
Could you tell us a little bit about 'Uitzicht'?
"Uitzicht" (Dutch for 'view') is an installation based on my (infrequent) longing for the nature of my homeland Sweden and all its characteristic features; a wild and varied landscape, huge forests and steep hills, specific flora and fauna, fragrances and sounds (silence), and distinct seasons. But at the same time, it is an interpretation of the Dutch landscape; a landscape that is predominantly artificial – based on land reclamation and strict planning for maximum utilisation of land in terms of infrastructure such as housing, agriculture, transportation and recreation.
Based on this mixture – lack, fascination and longing – the installation was made as a contribution to the semi-artificial Dutch society, by means of transforming a memory of a viewpoint (in reality located in my hometown Huskvarna in Sweden) into an actual site in Amsterdam.
"Uitzicht" thus formulates a response to the typically Dutch phenomenon 'polder' (to reclaim land areas from the sea); establishing an artificial hillside inside of a residential building in the middle of an Amsterdam suburb, about 5 meters below sea level. The basic structure of the viewpoint consists of the floors and walls of the Modernist housing complex 'Het Breed' in Buikslotermeer – an area which itself is located in a 'polder'. The installation forms a scenography based on a personal memory, which is simultaneously complemented by the viewers' experiences, impressions and ideas of this suddenly non-Dutch landscape.
What do you look forward to the most at Supermarket?
Although I won't attend Supermarket this year I know that all these great big and small alternative art spaces will get together, meet and present their work for each other and the public, where the main goal is to get to know each other and inspire!
Click here for more of Karl Georg Staffan's work.
Supermarket celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. How did it all start?
Andreas: It started as a happening. There was a meeting between artists’ initiatives held in a new space at Konstnärshuset in Stockholm. The newly established commercial art fair Market came up, and all of us were quite annoyed about how exclusive it was, and someone bursted out: “Let’s do a Minimarket!” The space already had exhibition booths - toilets and shower cabinets - thus it became a kind of parody of an art fair.
Pontus: Minimarket was us playing with all the usual art fair ingredients. We divided a really small space into Hall A, B and C, and there was this mad fair director who held an opening speech every 20 minutes and so on. We also rented sound equipment to announce mysterious activities going on in the exhibition. We were ten artist-run galleries who loved our visitors... and the visitors loved us!
Which year was it?
Andreas: 2006. A lot of people showed up, and already then the idea of having an art fair in the whole building was born. And the year after we changed the name from Minimarket to Supermarket.
Meggi: I joined the team as a volunteer in 2007. I had seen a flyer at a participating gallery in Gothenburg, where I lived back then.
What has happened at the artist-run art scene over the last ten years?
Pontus: Art has in general been marginalised. Media focuses mainly on dance, music and food, while art is only reported on when there has been a scandal. In many countries censorship is exercised, and artists have to flee for their lives or they get imprisoned. In those countries the artist-run art scene may be the only watering hole for contemporary art.
Andreas: Today artist-run galleries collaborate internationally to a larger extent than ten years ago. Supermarket has inspired other, similar art fairs in Russia, Norway, Serbia, Greece and Finland. I believe it has increased the self-confidence and the level of ambition among artist-run galleries. For many artists the goal is no longer to be associated with a commercial gallery. At the same time you get the feeling of us being perceived as a threat; there are probably many who dismiss exhibition spaces run by artists.
Is there a special event in Supermarket’s history you can remember back to?
Meggi: When we visited the artist-run gallery Duplex10m2 in 2011, a gallery in Sarajevo that was drained of energy after working with almost no resources for several years. They hesitated about participating in Supermarket 2012 as they didn’t know if the gallery would last that long. However, due to their participation in Supermarket, they got new energy and contacts. Hence instead of closing down they grew into Duplex100m2 and have since participated in Supermarket several times.
Andreas: When Johan Söderberg and Trio Electromundo performed at the opening night in 2010, and all the participating artists found each other on the dancefloor. It was a performance of world class and everybody was so happy, and we felt really proud!
Pontus: I’m always surprised by the number of people that show up! Ever since Minimarket the art fair has been crowded with people enjoying its insanely creative chaos. There was a moment at Kulturhuset when they had to turn off the escalator because of all the people, and last year at the opening at Svarta Huset the queue ended way outside the building.
Pontus: It will be an amazing art fair with a lot of partying as we celebrate our 10th birthday! Gosh, we never would have imagined it when we arranged Minimarket in 2006!
Meggi: Supermarket has throughout the years visited different locations in Stockholm. Perhaps we will establish a more long-term collaboration with access to a large venue. The future will tell.
We are happy to announce that Supermarket 2016 will be held 20–24 April 2016.
For the second time Svarta huset (“The Black House”) on Telefonplan will be the venue. The building is located next to the famous “Konstfack” art school – the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design.
The area is defined by LM Ericsson’s classic 1930s industrial buildings, reimagined with new content. The city centre is only an easy 13 minutes away by metro, and the station is right next to Svarta huset.
From October 20 to November 20 we welcome artist-run spaces from around the world to make an online application. For more information and how to apply, visit this page.
Supermarket 2016 will also be celebrating its 10 year anniversary!
The goal of Supermarket – Stockholm Independent Art Fair is to provide a showcase for artists' initiatives from all over the world and to create opportunities for new networks in the Swedish and international art scenes. It is also an art fair that strives to offer the visitor an experience, rather than focusing on sales. Artist-run galleries regularly staging public exhibitions in their own exhibition spaces and other artists' initiatives that arrange exhibitions and events with invited artists can apply to exhibit at Supermarket 2016. Individual artists or artists' groups founded only for applying to Supermarket will not be considered.
Application Deadline: 20 November 2015
Supermarket dates: 21–24 April 2016
Press viewing and Professional Preview Wednesday 20 April.
The Supermarket project committee
Today we’re talking to Seçil Yaylali who’s exhibiting with gallery Pasaj from Istanbul at Supermarket 2015. Her piece ‘‘Love to Love’’ was chosen as this year's cover image for Supermarket Art Magazine!
Hi Secil! Who are you?
I’m a visual artist based in Istanbul. My art practice is mainly on participatory art projects. I have done projects in different countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, Italy, Spain, Germany, Palestine. I think life is more meaningful when you share with other people even the process of creating. Instead of a huge artist ego, exchange brings you a bigger satisfaction.
Could you tell us a little bit about your piece ”Love to Love”?
“Love to Love” is an artwork inspired by the pieces of skin of molasses layers produced in Anatolia. They are eatable and delicious. They are cut in the shape of a Hittiten alphabet letter which means “love, to love”. This product has been produced in the same land of the Hittites (in the middle of modern Turkey) and is still on the markets. I produced many pieces during several participatory events and workshops, then I asked participants to send by post their piece to someone they love around the world. So this sweet creates a communication between people and also past and today.
In the last step, I produced some light-boxes with a particular resin that hold the molasses down.
What do you look forward to the most at Supermarket?
First of all, I’m looking forward to see the whole supermarket exhibition. Such a fair sounds very human and alternative, I really liked the whole concept. Then I will be happy if I can meet some artists that we can do productive collaboration. In Turkey we have lack of funds for arts and culture therefore it creates a limited vision, we need to look further to widen our horizons. On the other hand Istanbul is one of the most requested destination with its unique atmosphere, structure, geography and life. I’m really curious and excited to be part of supermarket.
Click here for more of Seçil’s work.
We’re continuing our ‘Three quick question’ series with an interview with artist Tobias Dirty from gallery Urgente in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At Supermarket 2015 they will show art works from four artists exploring the idea of portability and mobility related to the difficulties exporting art outside Argentina. On this theme Tobias has created works that can be folded and transported in standard suitcases.
Hi Tobias! Who are you?
I studied at the National Arts University in Buenos Aires and have been doing both solo and group exhibitions and art fairs during the last years. I currently run Urgente together with a group of other artists. My work focuses on social issues such as gender theories, sexuality, work and discrimination through a wide range of media: drawing, sculpture, installation and performance. I reflect on these topics through physical experiences, forcing the spectator to participate and relate to them in a personal way. I really like to manipulate cliches and preconceptions to think about art’s real use and its potential as a reality transforming force.
Could you tell us a little bit about "Vagabond"?
“Vagabond” is a piece from the solo show I’m having in Buenos Aires at the same time as the art fair. It’s the result of a series of works about young people, their role in society and how they are perceived. It consists of a chart comparing young people and “vagabonds” (French for hobo). Also, when I made the actual piece I always had in mind how difficult and corrupt steps I had to take to export the piece properly, affecting how I made it and even its materiality. It’s because of those absurd bureaucracy processes that most, if not all, artists and gallerists end up hiding artworks in their luggage. So I thought of the piece in terms of functionality, I thought of a piece that could be folded, wrinkled, not ruined, and actually being complete by the fact that it was transported like this. I’m also showing another piece that is actual clothing and will be packed as such in my bags.
What do you look forward to the most at Supermarket?
I’m sure this experience will be fun and productive; personally I would love to get to know the other projects at the fair, and even go to the ones from Stockholm. It would be great to find a group with common interests and even some friendly bonds.
For more art from Tobias, go to his Tumblr!