The story of this little gallery begins over 10 years ago in Fanø, where Kerry and his partner Anna opened an exhibition space and a design shop focused on young artists and Scandinavian design. Eight years after the opening they picked up and left Fanø and started the gallery in Copenhagen to get closer to the artists and to develop the gallery. But Fanø and the gallery there is still very special to them, and they spend more than two months there and are still housing at least three exhibitions every year. One during Easter, another in the summer and the last in the fall. Many of their guests, buyers and friends of the gallery from all over Europe, as well as artists, have followed them for a very long time and their exhibitions in Fanø are still well visited. Kerry describes the duality as having the best of both worlds: the beautiful space in Fanø, and the opportunities that Copenhagen offers. Developing the gallery, getting closer to the artists and participating more actively in the art scene are all important aspects of growing. But above everything, the passion and excitement that Kerry shows is truly inspiring to experience, and I really understand why they have established such a strong base of buyers and friends. I hope to become one of them.
Kerry - curator
Kerry is one of the curators at Gallery Kant, and I had the pleasure of talking to him over an quite excellent cup of coffee in the gallery last week. Having been a barista for many years, there is always a possibility to score extra points on serving good coffee, and he did. I talked to Kerry at the opening of the current exhibitions before escaping to Sweden for the amazing crayfish weekend, and asked if I could come visit on a bit more quite day to properly see the exhibitions and talk to him about the gallery. The art scene in Copenhagen is constantly changing and growing and I was interested in hearing about the history of the gallery and how it has evolved, the artists and their profile, and his thoughts on the art scene.
Since they moved to Copenhagen, Kerry says that the art scene has changed and become a lot more professional, as well as incredibly competitive. Strategy and ambition has become key words in an industry where everyone wants success. Making clear decisions about the program, and really make it work, as well as reaching towards something bigger and greater than where you are currently at is important. It takes a long time to build a gallery, especially when working with mostly young artists, and requires you to be in it for the long haul with years and years of dedication. In an industry where everyone is climbing on each others shoulders to be seen, passion must be a good source of fuel for dedication. Kerry's interest in art grew strong while he was living in London in his 20's, despite not having a lot of knowledge about it. When he later moved to Denmark art was a really good way of getting acquainted with Danish culture and history, through literature, poetry, history and visual art.
The gallery has longstanding relationships with a lot of their artists, many of which they have taken with them from the time in Fanø. Many of the exhibitions they have, show artists that have a history with, or that have been recommended by other artists. Many of them are friends of the house or have some kind of connection to the gallery. Promoting young talent with potential for growth is what they focus on. If you, like me, are interested in art, but find it a bit intimidating to visit a gallery I advise you to get over it. Because while museums are great, with their diversity and interesting, big exhibitions the gallery scene offer something quite different. Entering a gallery is a very different experience from going to a big museum. The spaces are smaller, there is not an overwhelming amount of pieces and you might even get the pleasure of talking to the curator about the exhibition. Galleries are more intimate and often have a quite consistent, yet diverse profile, meaning that if you start following a gallery you like, chances are that you'll encounter other exhibitions and artists that you'll enjoy.
I like Gallery Kant for many reasons, but one of them is that they focus on mixed media artists. Artists that works on idea based series, with different medias and let the idea of the series set the medias they work with. Both artists showing right now are working with two different medias, and I think that it gives the exhibition a really interesting touch, because the different medias reflect on each other and makes you see the entire series in a more fulfilled way. Their exhibitions they host are not based on a particular line within the arts, but on these narrative series, including works from a very broad artistic field. The exhibitions are up between a month to six weeks, so there is a rich opportunity to see works from different artists during the season. The first exhibition opened a few weeks ago.
You can currently see two solo exhibitions at Gallery Kant, both by Norwegian artists. Lars Morell and Espen Dietrichson both contribute with gorgeous pieces, and these exhibitions were the reason behind why I wanted to do this article on the gallery right now. I really enjoy them, and I bet you will too. It's almost weekend and the perfect time for some exploring!
Lars Morell - Recent works
Lars Morell (1980) lives and works in Oslo where he graduated from the National Academy of Fine Arts. For his second solo exhibition at KANT Morell presents "Shadow Canvas" and "Silent Codes", respectively recent paintings and bronze sculptures. In the dusty mauve paintings one catches a glimpse of machinery, which was used to seduce the audience, when magic and magic art had its heyday in the early 1900s. He has stylised the mystical and theatrical forms, composed them with unexpected gravity and reproducing them as blurry silhouettes. The shapes in the dark patinated bronze figurines are cast over the same motives and appear as empty imprints of what was once there. All pictures of Morell's work is shot by the artist himself.
ESPEN DIETRICHSON - RECENT WORKS
Espen Dietrichson (1976) lives and works in Oslo, where he attended the National Academy of Fine Arts. His practice spans photo collages, sculpture, drawing, installation. The source material for his work refers to urban landscapes, architecture and geometry.
For his first solo exhibition in Denmark Dietrichson presents a number of large photo collage silkscreens, ink washes and sculptures. The large photo collages are elaborate variations from Porto, Lyon, San Francisco and Los Angeles although these cities are barely recognisable in the single work. Composed from his own photographs each collage comprises between 40 to 50 images. His most recent series of sculpture-objects are geometrical compositions finely crafted in walnut. Both the silkscreens and the sculptural-objects are thematic variations and fitting to what the artist calls “a captured moment of abstract energy”.
On buying and OWNING ART
One of the things I look most forward to when I hand in my thesis and get a grown up job, is having more money for both fun and important things. One of those things is art. I already have a little list in my mind of what I would like to buy, but at the moment I have nowhere close to enough money to buy even the more affordable pieces. Kerry explains that there are in rough measures three kinds of customers: the art collectors, the big foundations, and smaller private clients. He tells me that the group of private clients are growing as the art scene is catering more and more to a younger and more diverse market. They are often in the process of establishing themselves, with safe professional jobs and an interest in art. It's not necessarily the knowledge about art, but the drive to own something unique and beautiful, something that touches them, something that they are drawn to. Kerry explains that his favourite part of being a curator is the dealing and selling, to see someone fall in love with the works they have selected. He is very passionate about what they are showing, so to see that same passion, excitement and enthusiasm in a buyer is very rewarding. Collectors and foundations might have both more money and interest in investing in pieces, but there is plenty of art to be enjoyed that is a lot more affordable, and within the reach of smaller buyers. The feeling of falling in love with a work is quite wonderful, and having the opportunity to buy it must be even greater. It feels like there is a potential collector growing inside of me, just waiting to get out. Not so that I can invest in works from blue chip artists, but so I can fill my life and my home with art that I'm passionate about.
But what determines the price of a piece? Prices are set in collaboration with the artists, and there are several factors in play when setting the price. It can be elements like what their history and experience is, their reputation and where their work has been showed earlier, or currently, and for many pieces the cost of the production is a heavy factor. The latter explains why paintings and sculptures are so much more expensive than paperwork, prints and editions. Photographs, or pieces like Espen's are prints, and often made in editions of everything from a couple to hundreds, which play a huge part in determining the price of each print. Paintings are at the top of the hierarchy, leaving only one single piece for sale, which makes it all that more special, as well as more expensive to produce. Gallery Kant focuses on young artists, and this too plays a part in the prices of the works they sell. With galleries and museums becoming more accessible our interest in art has changed, and with prices of prints being quite affordable there is an opening for a whole new group of buyers.
Art has always been something I have been interested in, but that doesn't mean that I never get bored or impatient in museums. I do, believe me. That's why galleries are great. They are smaller and much more approachable, and even though it can be a bit daunting to enter an empty gallery there is really no shame in leaving if you don't like the exhibition. Chances are that you'll find something you really like and get to talk to someone like Kerry, who is very passionate about what he does and no matter whether you like the pieces that is inspiring in itself. Knowledge about art means that you can see the references the works draw on, but the experience of art requires no such thing. Art and traveling has always had a very strong connection to me, and when I visit cities like London or Paris there are certain museums I always go back to. Berlin is a whole different story, as the city offers an incredible variety of galleries that leaves you with the wonderful option of spending an entire day gallery hopping through the city, only interrupted by coffee breaks. I want to do the same in Copenhagen sometime. Who want s to join? Paris is very special to me, and there will never be a reason to small to plan an escape to the city of lights. Gallery Kant is going to participate in FICA (Foire Internationale d'Art Contemporain) which is kind of a big deal! It's a very important art fair for modern art that is happening in Paris every year, and it's also a stepping stone for galleries. It's an exhibitions where you are noticed, and it can potentially open important doors. I wish I could go visit Gallery Kant in Paris. What better reason to go to Paris than to see art and eat croissants?
If you want to go see the exhibition, it's open until
September 19th, right here:
St. Kongensgade 3, Baghuset
Tuesday - Friday 12.00 - 18.00
Saturday 11.00 - 16.00