Short-term Contracts, curated by Kaspar BonnDen Frie, 2024

On Short-Term Leases was an exhibition series focusing on the inflation of housing rent in Copenhagen and on how artists today work and live in the city. It seeks to present the conditions that artists are working under. Who has the right to exist in the city? Who decides the development of the city? How do we create a more diverse urban space?

Curated by Kaspar Bonnén, On Short-Term Leases consisted of three successive exhibitions at Den Frie. They referred critically to specific cases such as the current city development in Gellerup, By & Havn’s conversion of Amager Fælled as part of an expansive building project or the demolition of the backyard around Astrid Noack’s studio at Nørrebro. Other works raised general questions about the economic power structures governing art and society, or they echo the average dimensions of a typical studio space in Copenhagen.

In addition to the three exhibitions at Den Frie, On Short-Term Leases also comprised parallel exhibitions at the studio collectives AGA Works (in collaboration with SixtyEight Art Institute), Holckenhus as well as at Nikolaj Kunsthal. During the exhibition period works from these other exhibitions gradually be accumulated at Den Frie. The exhibition space will thus function both as a reflection and accumulation of the series as a whole.

On Short-Term Leases is part of Den Frie’s exhibition series Dacapo focusing on artist-run exhibition spaces and other collective art formats.

Red-Eye (12m2), 2023, indfarvning og maling på tarlatan, 400 x 300 cm
Photo: with Hannibal Andersen & Kevin Malcolm 

Red-eye (12m2) is a new painting stretched across the ceiling of Den Frie's Minus 1 room. Referring to a recent report indicating that the majority of artists in Copenhagen have a studio approx. 11-15m2 available to work in, the scale of the painting refers to the limits of my own studio and the conditions, physically and logistically, we collectively work in.

Painted and dyed on transparent tarlatan material, the surface's open weave does not hold colour on top, but where it rather seeps and filters through. The image incorporates surveilling eyes, in relation the predominant element of two large low, round lights in the room, alongside patterns generated from various building materials as template. Further mark-making and visual elements reflect the process (folding, stretching, restitching) of working beyond a tenable scale. The work functions as a visualization of the artists' workspace above the viewers, to shed light and focus on the spaces in which we work.

Photos: Hannibal Andersen