The artist as the frame

On the third day, the artists were transported through the hilly, North Jutlandic countryside to Kirsten Kjærs Museum, where their third teacher, Pia Skogberg, awaited them with her daughter, Viola La Spina. The museum lies tucked into the edge of a forest – through the trees you see the signature red painted walls. It is a building where you can sense the ad hoc approach to expanding the museum’s space that has happened over time, as it has an eclectic charm that can be described as a summerhouse, a scout hut, and an art institution mashed together.

Our hosts welcomed us and ushered us into the museum’s residency house and invited us to dine on homemade bread rolls and drink water. “Eat up, we are heading into the forest”. The participants were then each handed a bag and the group, led by Pia, went out the door and headed into the trees. “Now, it is important you all stay silent for the entire walk. Just focus on collecting things for your bag that you like.

At the end of the walk, the artists erected a small monument at the edge of the forest using the things they had gathered.

In the distance, Viola sat in waiting with a kettle and some cups. The participants were invited to a tea ceremony in the moss.

Imagining the task at hand, designing and facilitating an art event centered on mental well-being, had acquired a very action-orientated approach the previous days. Questions such as: “How do I engage, how do I unfold, how do I do it?” had become prominent amongst the participants, and therefore there was a certain relief in understanding that audiences themselves have rich inner lives and a great potential for reflection and expression. As the questions grew silent, the answers came by themselves. Facilitating a quiet moment could bring with it a significant impact.

And so, the theme of the artist as a frame for facilitating reflections and gently guiding the experience of an audience emerged. We were reminded that by creating a space where control is handed back to people great things can happen.

Text and pictures by Lasse Fischer