MC: Yes, I was going to ask if Independent was a model for CHART?
SF: Yeah, it is similar, but if you see the surroundings of CHART—which is held inside Kunsthal Charlottenborg—the space is totally different. It’s an old palace from the 1600s, so it’s really special. The architecture is amazing for presenting art, so you really don’t feel like changing the existing dynamic.
MC: What have you learned the most about the Copenhagen art scene since joining the CHART team?
SF: Oh, a lot of things. For galleries that want to run an ambitious business in Denmark, I think they still have to look outside the borders of Denmark and try to get an international clientele built. So maybe there are 20 serious galleries in Copenhagen and all of them are trying to participate in fairs around the world, to find an audience there, because otherwise it would be really hard to run a business that you could actually live from.
MC: Primarily because there’s not a high enough concentration of contemporary art collectors in Denmark?
SF: Exactly. I think it’s still really important for them to look outside of Denmark. And that’s also what we’re doing with CHART, trying to get some attention to not just seeing galleries from Denmark at other fairs, but bringing an audience to the home of the artists that are presented from the Nordic region.
MC: Are the collectors that come to the fair primarily international collectors?
SF: The idea is to establish an international art platform for the Nordic region. The [approach we have] is different from other fairs: The whole fair is built on the idea of collaboration. Everybody shares what they have—all the participating galleries bring in their important clients and the collectors participate in the same program during the fair.
MC: So the thought is if you’re sharing the wealth, you’ll likely reap more benefits in the end?
SF: I think it’s not only the collector’s program that’s built on this, it’s actually the whole idea of the fair. I mean, we work with commercial partners but all the partners are very much involved with the fair. They participate in realizing projects for the fair’s social program and thus invest both time and money. For instance, like the Montana project, which is a Danish furniture company; they are producing furniture for the whole fair and doing bars and designing all of this.
Of course art is the main focus of CHART but we’re trying to actually engage with all the other creative businesses that sometimes are involved with art: architecture, gastronomy, design, and music. So in the two big courtyards of the palace, we’re doing an architecture contest with the Danish companies FOSS and HAY. The contest includes four academies from the Nordic regions and the main judge is [architect] Bjarke Ingels. So everything we actually do with our partners is trying to unite and stand together, and just making a platform that’s interesting to visit for an international and local audience.
MC: What’s new at this year’s edition?
This year we’re doing a non-commercial public program called CHART Social. We’re working with the municipality of Copenhagen on this and we’re working with several foundations that normally don’t support commercial activities. So that’s kind of rare, that we have an art foundation that supports the project as well and the Nordic Culture Fund. We’re also working with Altan.dk, a company focused on building balconies for houses. There’s a performance program curated by Francesca Gavin
, which is free to participate in and it will be five to six performances—five of them are from Scandinavia and the last one is from a British artist. We have a talks program together with [ArtReview
Editor in Chief] Mark Rappolt. And for CHART Social we’re [also] doing an opening concert series, which is free for the public to attend. It’s kind of interesting to have an art fair that ends up in a pretty big concert with 5,000 people in the courtyards. That’s something.
MC: Would CHART ever expand into other Scandinavian cities or take place more than once per year?
SF: I don’t think that we would do something similar at another time of the year; I think we would maybe just try to do something more at the same time in another location in Copenhagen. We will definitely work much harder on expanding, especially our CHART Social program to be able to open up more of the city—also expanding projects like talks, performances, or maybe large-scale art projects. Everything we do, whether it’s a collaboration with a partner or a gallery, it’s always focused on finding the best for the fair and its audience.