EC1 24H Copenhagen 2018 is an exhibition project that took place from April 15th to May 6th 2018 at LOKALE in Griffenfeldsgade, in the heart of Nørrebro. The project consisted of a new exhibition every day for three weeks, meaning that each show was installed, unfolded and dismantled within 24 hours.
With the 24 hours as the main frame, EC1 24H wanted to allow for exploration and openness of working methods, media and processes, while questioning the current standards of the gallery space and our approach to contemporary art. The project counted over 30 participants from Denmark and abroad and in this article we meet some of them and have a deeper look into their work and the core concepts of EC1 24H.
Norwegian performer and choreographer Runa Norheim, artist of Day #2 in the programme, participated with a scripted piece that functioned as an investigation of performance conventions. In relation to immateriality, she believes that all art exhibitions are non-stationary.
"No art operates in a vacuum, but always stands in relation to a range of elements: the surroundings, the local community, the politics, the media, and so on. I think it's very important that we as artists don't forget the context we operate in. What we produce is always in a dynamic relationship with the art of our own time, as well as with art history", Norheim says.
For her, it's precisely in the multifaceted that art finds its enormous power. "An isolated artwork rarely changes the status quo, but as part of a wider and sometimes contradictory discourse, it can potentially open new ways through what is static and established. EC1 24H tries to demonstrate that."
Danilo Milovanović, Bosnian artist of Day #19 in the programme, comments on temporality by saying that it's part of our era. "Everyday objects are designed to be transitory. A big percentage of contemporary artworks are temporary installations, or documents of temporary works, which are meant to show an idea rather than to exist as a material piece of art. We deal with temporality in all spheres of our life", Milovanović explains.
For him, EC1 24H was a possibility to visit Copenhagen and produce a site-specific work, which commented on our perception of private property in the public space and involved the visitors as an active part.
He opted for using EC1 24H as a laboratory for new ideas instead of a showroom for previous projects. "Also, this is what I prefer to deal with in my practice: process, time, action, transition", he says.
One main feature of EC1 24H was that a new perspective was adopted daily, giving the visitors the possibility to experience a spectrum of expressions: from performance to installation, food-lab and radio broadcasting.
Jayne Dent, British artist of Day #17, presented a music piece which was designed for the occasion. "I took the opportunity to make a new work specifically for EC1 24H, inspired by the format and by the fact that it would coincide with the May 1st holiday. I wanted to create something which could somehow mirror the celebrations going on around the city", Dent says.
She adds that she loved the practical limitations of EC1 24H: "It gave the work a sense of urgency and provided energy to the performance. In terms of my process, it felt more like writing and presenting a piece of theatre than an exhibition, which hopefully came across to the audience".
To work within a limited timeframe was a challenge for the curators as well. Paola Paleari, one of the organizers of EC1 24H and curators of Day #12, #19 and #20, says: "Knowing that the shows I was curating were supposed to have a one-day lifespan was very demanding and romantic at the same time. It's like realizing that the beautiful butterfly emerging from the caterpillar after weeks of preparation has only a few hours of life: the focus shifts from how the show looks like to how the whole process unravels itself".
For her, the carpe diem philosophy embedded in EC1 24H is far from being light-hearted. "It actually requires focus and volition to embrace the moment, instead of hoping it will work out in the future. On the other hand, I am a picky curator who likes to have everything ready, set-up and in good order. But here, once the general frame was created, I just had to surrender, let go and follow the flow. It was actually a very good psychological exercise."
The repetition of the format for 22 consecutive days was crucial to stress the spectrum of nuances of an artistic unfolding that doesn't have a solid form, but rather presents itself "here and now". But how to preserve and communicate such a project? This is the main question behind the choice of constituting the EC1 24H archive: a collection of 21 objects that each artist donated as representative of their day. On the last day, this archive was displayed and became the final show of the project.
Accordingly to Julie Jane Nissen, part of the EC1 24H team and curator of Day #2 and #3, there are many ways to capture and remember an artistic happening, for example through photographs or personal accounts. However, these stories depend on who is talking, what the person has experienced and his/her subjective interest and understanding of art.
"The archive was more than just a record of facts and played both a functional and symbolic role. It was built up along the project and changed character according to the objects that were left behind, mirroring the structure of EC1 24H. It kept track of each of the 21 exhibitions, putting them in relation to each other. At the same time, it was an autonomous entity with a sense on its own; therefore, the archive was both retrospective and generated new artistic experience and aesthetic value", Nissen says.
FSK – Foreningen for Samtidskunst er en non-profit organisation, som arbejder for at skabe samtidskunstprojekter, -udstillinger og -netværk i Aarhus, Danmark, Norden, Europa og verden. Intet projekt er for småt, og intet projekt er for stort. FSK har bidraget til idoart.dk siden 2018