Dansk Folkekunst took its first tentative steps in the spring of 2014. The following year, the association of artists wrote its Manifesto, expressing their visions, goals and agenda for how this newly formed group could operate in a constantly changing art scene. The desire of Dansk Folkekunst would be to move, to be able to move and be a movement in itself.
Dansk Folkekunst is a dynamic artists association of 31 artist from Denmark and abroad, which is self-generating and partly self-curating.
The intention of the artists association is furthermore to create a greater awareness of diversity; to be able to show the different ethnicities and social platforms of the national contemporary art on an international art scene.
Dansk Folkekunst reflects the development of society
on a global level. Therefore, there is a diverse repre-sentation of nationalities in the Artists Association.
Dansk Folkekunst exhibits only outside of Denmark.
Dansk Folkekunst has compassion.
Dansk Folkekunst believes that art can transcend through time, space and place and thus set new agendas.
Dansk Folkekunst believes that everything is connected.
Dansk Folkekunst, Copenhagen, April 2015
Danish Divers’ity in a New Artists Association
Interview, kunsten.nu june 3, 2016
By Marie Krøger Pramming
Dansk Folkekunst / Danish Folk Art is a newly established artists association consisting of thirty-four artists who live and work in Den- mark. They have written a manifesto. Their current exhibi- tion, Transfer, is being shown at The Esztergom Castle in Hungary.
It is Danish Folk Art’s intention to bring their national con- temporary art scene into focus abroad. The national, though, should not be understood as a defined concept. Danish Folk Art is precisely an attempt to disarm and dismantle the idea of a national identity as a fixed concept that is frozen in time and place, writes the association in an e-mail exchange. It is the artists associations idea to do this interview over e-mail.
As the name itself hints at, Danish Folk Art has a wide reach. It looks as though the main premise for the project ‘Danish Folk Art’ is openness to artistic expressions and narratives.
Danish Folk Art is made up of many artists with a wealth of impressions of our shared world. This is where the strength of the project lies - in its diversity.
They write, “Our exhibits are never homogeneous nor are they singular productions. Our point of departure is a heterogeneous group of artists that mirrors the composition of the real world’s cultures and populations”.
The association’s works range from the painterly, as seen in works of, amongst others Linda Bjørnskov, to user-driven projects like those of Jesper Aabille. The work can be about intimacy, everyday life and the personal and can also span social experiments and political agendas.
The Transcendence of Art
Danish Folk Art plans to exhibit exclusively outside of Den- mark making the purpose of the culture clash its central idea. In this movement out of the country lies the question of how a work or artistic practice remains relevant in other contexts. It is the association’s wish to ‘meet the other lands they visit and exhibit in with great respect and sympathetic insight’. As such, it is the physical presence and meeting local popula- tions that is a priority for Danish Folk Art. In Transfer this cul- tural exchange is handled head-on in Simone Aaberg Kærn’s collaboration with the Hungarian film director Marcell Ivanyi in their video work Point of Contact (2016).
The exhibition’s title, Transfer, refers to the movement that makes itself felt in our fluid, global world. Danish Folk Art explains: ‘Contemporary populations travel, communicate, and move freely across borders and time zones’. Therefore, art must move and be moving.
According to Danish Folk Art it is precisely art’s ability to exceed time, space and location that makes it possible to change a given agenda. In its wealth of expressions, art is able to erase sharp boundary lines. They emphasize: ‘we are advocates for dichotomies dissolving each other rather than holding their ground. Art is a unique platform for dissolving opposing relational concepts’.
Movement As the Only Constant
For Danish Folk Art movement is a necessity. ‘We acknowledge move- ment as the only true constant in life. We move, we are a movement and we believe in being moved, and they continue ‘We move in a specific way in that we move out of the country rather than closing ourselves inside it’.
Movement for Danish Folk Art isn’t a coordinated or completed act. Rather, movement reminds one of the myriad of fluctuations that constantly establish new shifts and spread out- wards. ‘It is a necessity for us to spread ourselves outward so that in that looking forward we can develop rather than shut down into our indi- vidual and depleted cultures’. ‘Humanity has always evolved through its meetings with foreign cultures and ideas, both intellectually but also in terms of its survival’, writes Danish Folk Art and goes on to explain how Hungary as a ‘melting pot’ mirrors their own ideas of the value of com- plexity and imperfection.
Art shouldn’t be a competitive arena but rather a profession where exis- tence is illuminated on many differ- ent levels. As a unified and diverse unit we can live up to this ambition.
A Political Project?
The name has a political ring to it, an almost teasing ring when one realizes that the national and the popular neither can nor will be corralled according to Danish Folk Art. I ask them if Danish Folk Art is a statement that we, as Danes, are not in touch with our commonality. To that they answer that perhaps we are too in touch with it. They go on to explain, that the idea of a common national identity is as paradoxical as the idea of a superior race. Everything is forever in fluxeven our national identity. What we today consider our national identity actually originates in the diversity we have inherited throughout history and from regions far from Denmark. It would be more precise to name our national identity Diversity.
There is no doubt that Danish Folk Art is a movement with something to say. ‘At the moment we experience a powerful polarization in Europe. Borders are closing, not only physically but in relation to our cultural narrative and sense of belonging. When our intellects isn’t sufficient in comprehending complex correlations then our mechanisms of resistance make us close ranks, both as individuals and as a society. It is a shame and an impoverished development’. In conclusion, it is this route that Danish Folk Art is attempting to illuminate.