Supermarket 2024

Applications for Supermarket 2024 are closed.

25-28 April 2024

Juxtapose Art Fair

Interview with Juxtapose Art Fair

Juxtapose Art Fair is the latest addition to the small range of art fairs focusing on non-commercial artist-run initiatives. Its first edition will take place on 4–6 June 2021 in Aarhus, Denmark. 

Supermarket asked the three founders and directors of Juxtapose Art Fair, Pamela Grombacher, Sasha Rose Richter and Jacob Juhl, about their motivation for setting up a new art fair for artist-run spaces, what can we expect from the first year of the fair and their future vision of the fair. We also discussed the recently launched open call for participants. 

You can read more about the application to Juxtapose Art Fair here (deadline 1st September 2020).

Who are you and how did you form the founding team behind Juxtapose Art Fair?

The Juxtapose board is Pamela Grombacher, Canadian curator, Sasha Rose Richter, Danish curator and Jacob Juhl, Danish artist. In early 2018 Jacob and an artist colleague, Lars Bang, started talking about organising an independent art fair in Denmark. However, neither of them felt they had the experience or the time to do it on their own, so Jacob started asking around in Aarhus for partners with more organisational skill and experience. Sasha showed a keen interest right off the bat, and as she had been working with Pam on a number of projects she suggested that Pam be a part of the board as well. 

Why did you feel the need to start a new art fair for artist-run spaces?

There is so much happening in the independent art spaces right now and the scene is really booming! There is a lot of fresh energy and willingness to try out new and daring formats that you just don’t see in museums or established galleries. But most of these initiatives are still a well-kept secret to most people – the audience is mainly other artists and curators. We feel that the independent platforms deserve a much wider reach and hope that we can contribute to that by presenting some of them in a popular public space that is visited by people from all walks of life.

What can we expect from the first year of Juxtapose Art Fair, and what do you hope to achieve on a longer horizon?

We are launching the first edition of Juxtapose Art Fair on 4-6 June 2021. We’ll kick off with an opening party on Friday night, followed by a diverse program of activities over the weekend. The fair will unfold throughout Godsbanen, which is an old freight train station that now serves as a cultural center in central Aarhus.

The fair’s main exhibition will take place in Godsbanen’s Rå Hal (“raw hall”) – a huge space that combines modern and historical architecture, with concrete floors and an arched wood ceiling. With our open call (deadline 1st September) we encourage artist-run initiatives to imagine how they could utilise this space in creative ways. Throughout the weekend exhibitors will each give a short talk to introduce their initiative, and in the evenings there will be a series of thematic panel discussions and debates.

In Godsbanen’s central foyer you will see a curated exhibition by artists who are members of AIM Network (Artist Initiative Meetings Network), which will focus on the artists behind the network’s various artist-run initiatives. We are also collaborating with Artist Run Network Europe (ARNE), a new project supported by Creative Europe, on a one-day conference that will take an in-depth look at some of the most pressing issues facing the artist-run sector today.

We are now fundraising for a visiting curator programme that aims to consider the role of curators in the artist-run sector, imagining different ways in which freelance and institutional curators can support artist-run initiatives. We have also invited local artist-run exhibition spaces to be affiliate partners, which visitors can check out through our guided walking tours around the city center.

We can’t wait to see what kinds of ideas and collaborations might grow out of the inaugural fair. Looking forward, our main priority is to learn from this experience and make sure that Juxtapose Art Fair has value and impact for the participating artists, and the larger artist-run sector.

Our plan is to continue as a biennial, following the first edition in June 2021. It is difficult to imagine what the world will look like in 2023 and beyond, especially given all the recent uncertainties surrounding the pandemic. Like everyone, we are thinking about issues related to travel, and especially its impact on creating a sustainable and inclusive fair – and that will definitely carry forward in our planning of future editions.

What is different about Juxtapose Art Fair in comparison to other artist-run art fairs?

We are in many ways inspired by Supermarket – how it showcases a wide variety of different artist-run projects, and creates opportunities for the participating artists to meet and learn from one another. We are so excited to work with AIM Network, which originated in Supermarket’s Meetings programme, and with Artist-Run Network Europe on Juxtapose’s conference and internal programming. This format is unique in Denmark, especially in the region (Jutland) where we are based.

Our focus is on highlighting the diversity of the artist-run sector. This is in part to create visibility around the sector, and in part to celebrate the artists who make up this sector. This is why we have chosen not to adopt a thematic framework for the fair – to allow more room for artist-run initiatives to showcase their unique profiles, without having to adhere to a specific curatorial theme. 

You recently launched the open call for participation in the first year of Juxtapose Art Fair. Who can participate and what criteria and qualities are you looking for? 

The call is open for artist-run initiatives, for example artist-run exhibition spaces, artist collectives, independent art publications, and online art forums. Our goal is to make the public here in Aarhus curious about the kinds of independent projects that operate outside of more familiar, institutional settings like museums and commercial galleries. Artists are invited to apply on behalf of an initiative they run, rather than on an individual basis.

Successful applicants will paint a clear picture about their initiative – what it is, why it was founded, how it operates, what projects are shown, etc. Through the open call we want to find out: What is your initiative’s profile? What is its focus? What is the ethos? What is the overarching goal? 

Our goal is to select participants with very different profiles so that, when shown in juxtaposition to each other, the diversity of the sector is impossible to ignore.

Juxtapose Art Fair Board: Sasha Rose Richter, Pamela Grombacher and Jacob Juhl
Photo credit: Jacob Juhl