Discussion on Thursday 3 May: Frame Espresso – Collectivity and value(s)

Art is always changing, and institutions should be able to adapt to the conditions of artistic production – the small or midsize art centre plays an important role in its capacity to adapt and transform according to what artists are doing, while also providing stability and continuity.*

Frame Espresso discussion invites artists, curators and organisers to reflect together on the role of small-scale art organisations in the field of Finnish contemporary art. Often founded by collective initiatives that have gained an established place in the local context, they act in between artist-run spaces and museum institutions while significantly different also from commercial galleries. As both art and the surrounding society are in rapid transformation, what might this role mean today, or tomorrow?

The discussion takes as its starting point a new Nordic report on the agency and value of small- scale art institutions. The report argues that these organisations play a central role in the ecology of contemporary art, yet under the pressures of current economic and political turns there is an urgency to rearticulate this – in qualitative rather than quantitative terms: they nurture experimentation and emergent practices, hold close connections both to their artistic communities and audiences, network actively locally as well as internationally, and create delayed value in the art ecosystem. This is not a challenge solely addressed to the organisations themselves, but requires a collective effort involving all the players in the field.

The event will begin with a brief introduction to the key findings of the report and comments by a number of small institutions. For those interested in reading the draft version of the report beforehand, please email dahlia.broul@frame-finland.fi

The event is open for all, without prior registration. It will also be streamed live on Frame’s Facebook page, where it is possible to join the discussion via comments. The language of the event is primarily Finnish, but we will facilitate participation in the discussion also in English. Find the Facebook event here.


Frame Espresso – Collectivity and value(s)

Thursday 3rd of May, 10-12 

Location: Photographic Gallery Hippolyte, Yrjönkatu 8-10, 00120 Helsinki


Frame Espresso discussion series in 2018 focuses on the significance of collective practices in contemporary art amidst the societal transformations today. The discussions will continue in the Autumn with a focus, on the one hand, on the potential means for the diverse actors in contemporary art to work closer together in the development of the field. On the other hand, the discussions will direct attention to the challenges that collective practices pose for the institutional structures of recognition and valuation in the art ecosystem.

* Agencies of Art: A report on the situation of small and medium-sized art centers in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, Jonatan Habib Engqvist and Nina Möntmann, commissioned by Nordic Network for Kunsthalles, published by OK BOOK, 2018 (forthcoming). Presented at the symposium The Agency of Art, in Oslo, 9-11 March 2018.