Q&A / ART

”There is a long way to go to break the gender glass ceiling”

PAOLA BJÄRINGER
The Misschiefs founder on their new pop-up in Stockholm.
August 24, 2020

Why is it important to launch a women only pop-up during Summer Design Days?

— Female artists and designers are still way too under-represented in their industries. There is a long way to go to break the gender glass ceiling once and for all in the art world. Misschiefs and this pop-up in Stockholm is a feminist response to the lack of representation of women in the arts, an open call to art galleries, state actors and private companies involved in art to actively push for more gender equality.

What can one expect to experience in the pop-up?

— To be surprised! The goal of Misschiefs Takeover as a temporary pop-up art studio and exhibition is to change the rules of an outdated and tired art industry. A new generation of art professionals have new ideas on how to produce, show and sell art in the future, especially as the world goes through an unprecedented crisis in travel restrictions. Art has to be physically lived. As we are forced to think locally, the issue of access to exhibition space and art studio is central. The real estate prices in major European cities have exploded in recent years, forcing artists and smaller galleries in the outskirts further and further away from where the clients are. This is a real problem, we need to build new strategies to enable small businesses and individuals willing to support local artists to get access to cheap square meters in city centers. 

Ok, so what can be done?

— This first Misschiefs Takeover on Linnégatan 4 has been possible thanks to the support of a major Swedish real estate company who is offering Misschiefs this incredible location of a 500 m2 ex-factory space. My idea of offering free art studio space to a selected group of women artists enables the public to see for themselves what the everyday real life and creative process of an artist is today, as well as buying directly from the artist on-site. Everyone should feel welcomed, in a more human way than in a regular gallery space. 

Tell us about the artists participating? 

— The pop-up at Linnegatan 4 gathers 20 women artists and designers in total, eight of them are working daily in their designated art studio space (Minna Palmqvist, Farvash), two have site-specific art installations (Nachla Libre and Emma Dominguez) and the 10 remaining are represented through their art and collectible design pieces on display. There is a changing central stage visible from the street. So the space changes and evolves continuously.

Tell us about the background of Misschiefs, how did it all start?

— When I moved to Stockholm four years ago I was struck by the visual uniformity of both public and private spaces. I wanted more diversity, both in art/design content and physical context. Who gets to speak where and when is highly regulated in the Swedish cultural landscape, unofficially of course. Misschiefs comes from a desire to broaden the worldwide famous and loaded term ‘swedish design’, both at home and abroad. 

And what about your own background? You have an exciting multi-cultural story?

— I am born in Sweden and moved to Paris when I was two years old, so I am essentially French with a Swedish passport! I studied and worked in London for five years, my master in gender studies at London School of Economics was a turning point together with my meeting with French designer Matali Crasset who became like a mentor. I opened Gallery Slott in Paris in 2009 specialising in usable art or collectible contemporary design, which at the time was a new thing. Misschiefs is my first production with Swedish artists and designers only. I am a producer and curator of contemporary art and design with a focus on gender equality, diversity and transversality.

This is a special year. What kind of transformations do you hope to see in your field during 2020?

— I expect and hope for more generosity and collaborative ventures in the art and design world in the form of collective out-of-the-box thinking. This pandemic is forcing us all to pose and re-evaluate. We need to start by our own way of living, consuming, producing: what are the best strategies to invent a more logical global and local ecosystem? The creative philosophy and actual work of Matali Crasset in form of urban, local and object specific reflections is an excellent starting point for anyone interested in learning more about how designers and artists can help us all to lead more meaningful and less polluting lives.

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