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techne, n.: A convergence between art, craftsmanship and architecture

21st of June – 3rd of August 2014

With a renewed fascination for traditional crafts and skills, this year’s summer exhibition, techne, n.: will cast light on various traditions of craftsmanship and making in the context of art and architecture.

Each year Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art organises a summer exhibition, which spotlights one or more new trends and innovations within a given field of contemporary art. For this year’s summer exhibition at Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art the Berlin and London based collective KWY has instigated a number of collaborations which include participants from Denmark and further afield. They have conceived a number of purpose made works that collectively present a contemporary vision: a synthesis of art, craftsmanship and architecture creating new spaces, forms and languages.

Re-purposing the Greek term ‘techne’, defined as “An art, skill, or craft; a technique, principle, or method by which something is achieved or created, also, a product of this, a work of art’, as ‘A convergence between art, craftsmanship and architecture’, the departure point for the exhibition was Ruskin’s treatise on machine production and the necessity for a human connection with the means of making as well as Wagner’s theories on the future of art and the Gesamtkunstwerk. The proposition is to reinvigorate the debate on what it means to collaborate and make. The founding of Den Frie and the concurrent Skønvirke period represents a particularly important chapter not only in Danish cultural history but also within its equivalent European movements. J.F. Willumsen’s building, with its eclectic references and imbued spirit of a ‘total artwork’ is the perfect embodiment of these ideas. The exhibition is therefore a timely re-enactment of this ethos.

Within the five perimeter rooms of Den Frie, five teams of artists and architects have collaborated, creating projects specifically for and unique to each space. Each project defines a chosen architectural element or typology including ‘plinth’, ‘wall’, ‘bridge’, ‘garden’ and ‘roof’. They vary in scale, material, colour, texture, and technique and define the spaces with the personal imprints of their makers. The works stand as architectural artefacts or fragments that recall the sociologist Henri Lefebvre’s notion of space as a purely humanistic one, where objects we encounter confirm our presence to an ever-exchanging, living world. In the central space, each team’s approaches, processes and means of making have been documented, interpreted and reimagined. The breadth of techne, n.: spans from textiles to ceramics, from the hand-made to the machine-made and from art to architecture.

KWY is a multidisciplinary platform investigating the nature of collaboration within the context of specific projects. KWY was founded in 2009 by architects Ben Allen and Ricardo Gomes in Berlin, and curator and editor James Bae in Los Angeles. KWY’s projects are collaborations between the principles and invited specialists. Recent collaborators include artists, writers, curators, educators, designers and other architects. With few initial preconceptions, each project begins with dialogue and analysis between the collaborators. This process-oriented methodology often leads to diverse thoughts that are otherwise unexpected and unimaginable.

Ben Allen (UK), James Bae (US), Jan Bünnig (DE), Jesper Carlsen (DK), Ricardo Gomes (PT/DE), Asako Iwama (JP/DE), Gianna Ledermann (CH), Akane Moriyama (JP/SE), Anders Hellsten Nissen (DK/DE), PioveneFabi (IT), Julian Stair (UK) and Hither Yon (US/DE).


Friday the 20th of June
From 5 – 8 pm


Read more about KWY here