Artreach

10. February 2012 to 26. February 2012

A huge turd and a local archive on Amager topics. A kitchen garden in a concrete backyard on Nørrebro. A homepage, brimful with knowledge on, for instance, young Pakistanis' or Moroccans' cultural heritage and identities. These are only parts of the results yielded by the large outreach project "ArtReach", curated by Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, in collaboration with three different artists and artists groups in three different Copenhagen neighbourhoods.

During the period from February 10 to 26, the exhibition ArtReach presents the opportunity to see the results of as well as the process behind the outreach art project of the same name, which has engaged artists and local residents in actively creating relevant and social contributions to the city. Nikolaj has been collaborating with three libraries/cultural centres - the "Kulturanstalten" on Vesterbro; the Blågården's Library/"Støberiet"; and Sundby Library/"Kvarterhuset" - which have each had a locally anchored artist or artists group attached, in order to establish a dialogue with the local residents on contemporary art.

A mobile local archive, a communal garden, and identities on a homepage
On Amager, it was the artists group Parfyme who in the Summer of 2010 roamed the highways and byways of this part of town, bringing with them a pushcart with a huge sculpture of a turd. This in reference to the slang denomination for Amager, Shit Island, the locals of which they asked questions such as for instance, "Where on Amager do you get the best kebab?" After this, they asked the respondent to suggest the question that the next interviewee be presented with. The outcome has thus become a kind of local archive on various Amager matters.
The artists group YNKB in co-operation with Morten Bencke went for a different approach with their project on Nørrebro, in which they established raised garden beds with juicy plants and herbs in this highly urban part of town. The ambition is that "The Communal Kitchen Garden" shall supply the people's kitchen at "Støberiet" with fruit and vegetables.
On Vesterbro, Kenneth Balfelt, together with the consultation and analysis firm Hausenberg and a group of young people, created the site GrApp your identity!, aiming to provide children and young people with other ethnical backgrounds than Danish with more knowledge on their cultures of origin and identities. This is a site of stories, pictures and comments from the countries from which many of these young people's families hail - Morocco, Pakistan, Turkey and Denmark. At the ArtReach exhibition, everybody who is interested in doing so can produce film and knowledge for this site.  As far as the two latter projects are concerned, considerable efforts have gone into securing  that they may both continue beyond the duration of the ArtReach project period.

ArtReach has been supported by the Danish Arts Council and has run for two years. The project has been trying out new curatorial practices, based on a close collaboration betwen communication and exhibition competencies, and anchored in newer museological research.

From the beginning of the project, CYRK Productions has been documenting the artistic and curatorial processes, resulting in various films which can be seen as a part of the exhibition.
A publication of articles will be issued, discussing topics such as: outreach; being rooted locally; socially engaged and user-run art processes; as well as, of course, the actual ArtReach project.