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Copenhagen  |  Denmark  | 

Simon Friese

Building its foundations on the Nordic tradition of collaboration, CHART Art Fair has made a name for itself as a true Nordic cultural experience.

Not only focusing on contemporary art, CHART expands its horizons so that it covers Nordic architecture, gastronomy, design and fashion. We sat down with CHART Fair Director Simon Friese to talk about the collecting scene in Denmark, what collectors can expect to see at CHART, and where he hopes the Nordic collecting scene is headed.

IC

When did your interest in art first come about?

SIMON FRIESE

Art has always been part of my life. Coming from a creative industries background, art has always been present and I am very happy to be able to mix all of my passions in what we do at CHART. Arts has natural crossovers with architecture, design, gastronomy, music, etc.. And we work together with all these practices to create CHART.

IC

The Danish collecting scene is still relatively small – how are you hoping to boost the art market and collectors scene in Denmark and Scandinavia with CHART?

SIMON FRIESE

It is relatively small but very strong. We decided to focus on Nordic galleries as a response to this. We have an increasing international interest in CHART and in the region and we wanted to focus our attention on strengthening the region.

Throughout the previous editions we were able to attract more international collectors with each edition, as well as having a strong core of local collectors that support not only CHART but also the local galleries and artists. We are creating an experience rather than just another art fair. People will be able to not only see the most interesting Nordic galleries but also have a great sense of our architecture, design, food and fashion.

Installation view at CHART 2016. Photo: I Do Art Agency
Installation view at CHART 2016. Photo: I Do Art Agency
Installation view at CHART 2016. Photo: I Do Art Agency
Installation view at CHART 2016. Photo: I Do Art Agency
IC

CHART not only offers a chance for visitors to see great Scandinavian art, but to also see the “Nordic tradition of collaboration” – could you tell us some more about this tradition and what we can expect to see?

SIMON FRIESE

We have made a decision on showing all the galleries and artworks in unison as an exhibition rather than with independent booths. This way galleries work together to present their works as a shared presentation. We do not have artificial walls or gallery events outside the fair but instead big communal events.

For us, the social aspect of CHART is essential as these are spaces and projects that we have created for visitors not only to see art but to experience it.

IC

What influences your decision when creating a collector’s program for CHART?

SIMON FRIESE

We want to give local collectors the most interesting international artists and galleries while giving international collectors and visitors a good overview of the local scene. To be able to do this we have created “CHART SOCIAL” which is more than a collectors program, but a social initiative that welcomes collectors, visitors, artists, galleries and locals. Alongside will be “CHART EMERGING”, the platform for young and upcoming generation of Nordic artists curated by Helga Christoffersen, Assistant Curator at the New Museum, New York; and “CHART ARCHITECTURE”, the competition where students from Nordic architecture schools are invited to participate and design pavilions or the Kunsthal Charlottenborg courtyard to host the fair’s restaurants and cultural partners that will participate in the “CHART SOCIAL” program.

As part of the CHART SOCIAL program, Laure Prouvost will create a series of new large-scale works around the city; Martin Creed will be part of the opening concert; we are having collaborations with the city of Basel to create a Swiss – Danish exhibition; and a collaboration with HAY to create a series of posters that will be sold in their stores worldwide and launched during CHART; or with CORPUS developing an annual project exploring performance and visual arts. Accompanying all of this we will have talks curated and moderated by Mark Rappolt, editor-in-chief of ArtReview. Here, renowned Nordic and international art professionals will approach key issues of arts, design and architecture. Some of the participants are Hans Ulrich Obrist, Stefanie Hessler and Richard Parry amongst many others.

Finally, in the courtyards, we will change the opening concert to take place throughout the whole weekend to become part of our “CHART COURTYARD” program which will include performances by Martin Creed, Katharina Grosse, Stefan Schneider and Lorenzo Senni amongst others. In addition to the opening concert there will also be a weekend-long program of talks, live and DJ acts, performances, visual installations, gastronomy, architecture and other cross-disciplinary projects.

TOMÁS SARACENO, 2016. Courtesy Andersen’s Contemporary, Copenhagen. Photo: Studio Tomas Saraceno & I Do Art Agency
TOMÁS SARACENO, 2016. Courtesy Andersen’s Contemporary, Copenhagen. Photo: Studio Tomas Saraceno & I Do Art Agency

Coming from a creative industries background, art has always been present and I am very happy to be able to mix all of my passions in what we do at CHART.

Simon Friese
TORIL JOHANESSEN,Words and Years – Feminism in Theory, 2015. Courtesy OSL Contemporary, Oslo
TORIL JOHANESSEN,Words and Years – Feminism in Theory, 2015. Courtesy OSL Contemporary, Oslo
OLAFUR ELIASSON, Small Rhombic Core Lamp, 2015. Courtesy i8 Gallery, Reykjavík
OLAFUR ELIASSON, Small Rhombic Core Lamp, 2015. Courtesy i8 Gallery, Reykjavík
FRANCES GOODMAN, Candy Yum Yum, 2016. Courtesy SPECTA, Copenhagen
FRANCES GOODMAN, Candy Yum Yum, 2016. Courtesy SPECTA, Copenhagen
ROB PRIOTT, Kingsman the Secret Service (film still). Courtesy the Artist and Rod Bianco Gallery, Oslo
ROB PRIOTT, Kingsman the Secret Service (film still). Courtesy the Artist and Rod Bianco Gallery, Oslo
IC

How would you like to see the Scandinavian collectors scene grow in the future?

SIMON FRIESE

I think is important not only to grow the scene but also to keep it strong. For this, we work on building relationships between people in the art world: the collectors, gallerists, artists and institutions. Another key factor is to cultivate an interest in collecting amongst younger people, to encourage the next generation of collectors.

Over the last five years, we have learned that to strengthen the Nordic art scene we had to create a network of galleries across the region that supports each other. Our collectors are an intrinsic part of this network. At the fair we work with first time collectors but also with some of the most established collectors from the Nordic region and internationally, creating an open environment where all levels of collector can encounter contemporary art of the highest quality. Much of our program has been envisioned to create spaces for collectors, artists, galleries, artists and art professionals to exchange ideas and network while experiencing Copenhagen and its rich cultural and gastronomic offer.

IC

What can collectors expect to see at CHART this year?

SIMON FRIESE

They will see the most interesting Nordic galleries and projects, but also they will be able to be a part of CHART. Through visiting our architecture pavilions that will host the most fascinating food, or joining us for our opening concert or on one of the talks with top curators and art professionals, all the visitors and collectors will not only have a fulfilling experience but will see be able to see and know more about what is happening in the region and further afield.

IC

What tips do you have for any art collectors out there that are planning on attending CHART or any other art fair this year?

SIMON FRIESE

My main advice is to go filled with curiosity. We have created an extensive program that will inspire and surprise our visitors. Every person that attends CHART will have a unique experience and our ambition is to have a lively and fun ambiance at CHART whilst still showing high quality art.

Installation view at CHART 2016. Photo: I Do Art Agency
Installation view at CHART 2016. Photo: I Do Art Agency
Installation view at CHART 2016. Photo: I Do Art Agency
Installation view at CHART 2016. Photo: I Do Art Agency