Just a quick note and a few photos:
I did not enter Den Frie’s Open Autumn Exhibition (Kunstnernes Efterårsudstilling) this year because my absolute biggest art challenge that I could have undertaken was rejected in the first round – my Otto Frello portrait. So when that happens, you know that this is not a place you wish to exhibit. They are looking for something else and I will not feed that to them. Instead I found out that the ground in front of Den Frie belonged to the council and not the gallery, so I booked that space from the council and proceeded to do a LIVE performance, or happening for a week from the opening day. It was liberating being able to question the status-quo and use the council’s space to question the art world’s censorship. It must be said that I was difficult to overlook and there was a fair amount of interest in what I was doing.
Here are some photos from the Happening.
Left. A photo of me talking to some of the people who came to the opening. Right. A portrait of Danish art critic Peter Michael Hornung who reviewed last year’s exhibition and gave it only 3/6 hearts. He wasn’t impressed. This year’s exhibition was, in my opinion better, but I agree with Peter that there are probably a great many people who art part- or full-time artists who do not enter for this exhibition because of its censorship style. He also said that getting into this exhibition is not credited with a public breakthrough like it used to. These were the kind of quotes I used on my board.
Left. The weather was misty, rainy, windy, but not freezing cold, which was the one thing I had worried about. I was very grateful for my tarpaulin! Every morning of the week. I had to go and check for a lake in the tarpaulin. Every day except one, I found one. Right. Last year, Torben Sangild, one of the censors came over to where I was painting and engaged with me. He wrote an article and gave about 200 words to my critique of the censorship method, trying to explain why it is done the way it is done. I liked him for it as he helped put a focus on the issue which helped open up a debate on-line.
Left. Den Frie can be seen behind me with some of the visitors on the opening night. Right. Jan Falk Borup commented on Sangild’s article. He pretty much stated that the censorship method in general wasted a lot of people’s money because they were already disqualified because their work just didn’t fall into the category of what either the censor board or the gallery is looking for.
Left. Just before they closed the doors I and a friend managed to sneak in through the doors to have a quick look round the gallery. We took a few snaps. Right. A quote from an art blogger who stated that Den Frie doesn’t really introduce us to anything new and hasn’t done that for a long time. In fact this year’s exhibition looked more like a retrospective exhibition from the last 30 years.
It was a brave move to seek permission and work on something of this scale just outside the gallery. Brass-necked even. But I believe in asking questions like this of the art establishment because I will not be the only painter who feels ostracized. And I also wanted to make a statement that just because you can paint portraits that look like they belong in the Golden Age, doesn’t mean you can to performance art and the likes. See you next year 🙂