A paradigm shift is on its way in the art world
The Homeless sculptures meet people in a new way. I see a grandmother having a chat with her grandson about what it's like to be homeless, and that’s fantastic.
Trade organization Viborg about exhibiting the Homeless People
The art scene is changing. Social art and arts role in society is increasingly being debated in the cultural and political scene. And in recent years, we have begun to receive more inquiries from cities and business organizations that want to exhibit art with social focus in their public spaces.
Business and tourist organizations are tired of exhibiting art without edge or attitude. Instead, they want to use art to focus on current issues and problems in society. At the same time, they themselves make an effort to support and establish a dialogue with the citizens, to ensure that the topics are discussed in a proper way.
The new thing is that the social and commercial focuses seem to go hand in hand - here are a few examples from our own exhibitions:
Sculpture opens for a religious debate:
Last year our controversial sculpture Fundamentalism was exhibited in the center of the Danish town of Varde. It soon became clear for the town that the sculpture and the religious debate that followed was also a tourist magnet. The sculpture is one of Galschiøt's most controversial pieces. It shows the darkest quotes from the Quran and the Bible, and people came from all around to country and from abroad to see the exhibition. Suddenly, both the municipality and the local businesses realized that the cultural dialogue project was actually a positive asset for the city’s economy.
The business organization ProVarde about the exhibition
It is very likely to have had a positive effect on the business revenue. At least it has branded our city and many tourists may have experienced our town for the first time. (...)
Some came in buses (to see the sculpture) and they stayed quite a while on the square because the sculpture opens up for contemplation and dialogue.
Sculptures of Homeless People:
Last year, the Trade organization of Viborg exhibited Galschiot's sculptures of Homeless People in the middle of the city's pedestrian street for two months. The exhibition was a social reminder, but at the same time it attracted lots of local and international tourists. The Trade organization invited a homeless organization and homeless people to attend the opening to highlight the challenges we face and what should be done.
The Trade organization of Viborg on the Homeless exhibition.
The shopkeepers were extremely excited about the exhibition. They could see people spend time at the exhibition instead of just passing by. The sculptures made people spend longer time in the city and all in all the entire exhibition helped us brand the city as a place worth spending a whole day, instead of a few hours.
The exhibitions are quite expensive, but due to the huge success, it is becoming a yearly tradition for the trade organization to exhibit Galschiøt's controversial sculptures during the summer months.
The trend is spreading: There is a great demand for exhibiting Galschiøt's homeless sculptures. In the upcoming exhibition in the city of Kolding, the local business organization has already been in contact with the city's social administration, which will use the exhibition to focus on the exposed group.
While art might be good for business it is worth keeping in mind that:
In the above cases it is a difficult balance between using the economic argument to promote art, culture and social debate, while insisting on focusing on the intrinsic values that must also be the basis on which artists work if the arts are to really flourish.
For too many years, visual art with a clear societal critical attitude has been held out of the established galleries and museums - and this is reflected in public space. This is not just a loss for art but also for public debate.
Lasse Markus Cand. Soc. – Art Philosopher at Gallery Galschiot
We hope that the new trends will lead to a renaissance for artists and art with something (social and political) on their mind.
Lots of greetings
This mail has been sent from Gallery Galschiøt
DK, 5270 Odense N
Ph. DK: (+45) 6618 4058
Fax:(+45) 6618 4158
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