A Kassen is a Copenhagen-based art collective which name in Danish refers to an unemployment fund. Its four members, Christian Bretton-Meyer, Morten Steen Hebsgaard, Søren Petersen and Tommy Petersen, met in 2004 at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and have engaged in a collaborative practice ever since. On Wednesday November 19th they will give a talk at Stroom in The Hague as a part of The Knight’s Move lecture series.
A Kassen’s approach to art is conceptual and ranges from performative installations to sculptures and photography. What fascinates them is the reality they live in — they like to explore their surroundings and the social patterns they interact with. Coming to a new site or a new setting and trying to look at it in a new way is what challenges them.
The collective’s artworks and interventions are often humorous and always in the search of a poetic potential. They enjoy playing with materials as much as they enjoy engaging in the meanings of those materials. “How come a window glass from an architect building is more interesting than the exact same window glass bought from a shop?” is what intrigues them and fuels their art creation, in this case in Windows to the World.
In The Color of Things project the art collective photographed objects that were later pulverized and mixed with a binder. The liquidized object was then painted on the wall next to the photo of the object.
When asked about the role of the public space in their work, they say that making work in public space is a great way to interact with people who don’t go to art galleries and those who avoid something just because they know it’s art. By putting it into a public space they give people a chance to enjoy their humorous experiments without knowing it’s art, at least not right away. Sometimes they ask for permission to act out in the public and sometimes they prefer to hide it. “All cities have areas that should be redone in a new way. We are interested in changing forms and changing use,” they explain.
Moving banal and trivial objects from their original surroundings and then hiding them in a new one is their strong point. The change that occurs with the move is often so discrete and subtle that can often go unnoticed and if it gets noticed it contains strong elements of humor and surprise: “A lamp post in the city of Malmö is turned and situated on a nearby balcony.” Passers-by can easily miss it, but those who happen to look up are awarded with a great laugh.
A Kassen works as a close group and are often inspired by one another as well as by other artists and things in general. A quick scroll through their web page will give you a lot to laugh and be inspired about.
On Wednesday November 19th, A Kassen will give a talk at Stroom in The Hague about a wide range of their projects — the good ones and the bad ones. Click here for more information and to make a reservation!