5 Questions with… Konsthall323
Konsthall323 is an art centre in a car. It started in a Mazda323 and, after a period of renovation, opened again now in a Volkswagen Golf Variant. Five questions regarding institutionalization, the white cube, coffee and gasoline.
1: Konsthall 323 deals in several layers with the idea of institution. Konsthall323 is an art centre in a car. The exhibition space is necessarily non-static; the number of visitors visiting the art centre at the same time is always limited. The position of the artist is also a particular one. From the ideas behind Konsthall323, what defines an art centre? How is it in the case of Konsthall323?
Frida Krohn & Ylva Trapp: When we started Konsthall323 we had no big, white, empty room waiting to be filled by us. We had a light-blue old Mazda 323. So we decided to use the car as our Art Centre, and we realised we had a number of new advantages for this art-space; flexibility, intimacy, the ability to transport equipment and a great architecture for photos. But above all, we created the possibility for us to take charge, to define what was important in our context, we made ourselves the directors. This might be the most important definition for us; that we make all the decisions.
2: You have been driving your project independently and, sometimes, together with other institutions. Are the traditional institutions accepting the rhythm that something like Konsthall323 offers? How does it work?
FK&YT: One of our mottos is to be fast. This is sometimes impossible to combine with applications for funding or exhibitions when you are asked to plan things years ahead. Also in relations to other institutions this is sometimes a bit complicated, but it can also be an advantage when our institution is put in relation to a more stable, bigger one: our benefits also come out clearly.
3: What is important in calling 323 an Art Centre? Is the process of institutionalization helping its reception?
FK&YT: To call our space a Konsthall (Art Centre) refers to big institutions. We want to be this kind of art-space, even though our space is a car. We are not a gallery (where the art is sold), we are not a project-space (our activities are short-time but our work is permanent). We are an Art Centre. And yes, it helps to be an institution. In our institution we set up the rules! In our institution we can be silly and smart, we can be sweet and sharp, we can be fun and intelligent. And this is not so easy for us outside of Konsthall323.
4: I remember interviewing Katarina Sjögren (from Crystal Gallery) and she saying that it would be great with a more punk scene in the Swedish art context. Would you define Konsthall323 as a project against a more traditional way of acting? Is antagonism something important for Konsthall323? Or is it something absolutely far from your ideas?
FK&YT: Yes we see ourselves partly in opposition. But only antagonism in a friendly way, with free coffee in cute thermoses. Cute is the new punk. We do collaborations with some institutions, but also think quite a bit of doing things in opposition to other institutions.
5:There are some international examples of self-institutionalism in contemporary art. From Thailand to Denmark, from México to the United States… What are your references? Do you have connections with former experiences in Sweden?
FK&YT: We usually don’t talk much of references, that would not be very punk. But we invite people we are interested in to have conversations in the back seat. Last spring we did a series of conversations on the topic “Do you have to be two to stand the art-world?” about artistic collaborations and this winter we were invited to an exhibition in Umeå about Alternative Galleries, so we do have friends and connections. We’ve also done other public projects before. Like a student gallery in Umeå, Galleri60e, an arts-space that was defined by a tape; the place framed by the tape became the temporary art-space.