“Our goal is to reach out to both everyday folk and artistic colleagues. And we have succeeded, there’s something really exciting about a mixed audience – it’s a meeting place for different generations and walks of life”
Art Lab Gnesta is where experimental links between art and society take place. It is founders Signe Johannessen and Erik Rören’s burning passion for relations between art and artists, society and art institutions, which continuously drives the work forward. In practice this means a never-ending stream of exhibitions, workshops, discussions, art events and publications in and around the old brewery in Gnesta.
“Our audience is a delightful mix of locals and visitors from further afield. Many come from Stockholm to visit our events and exhibitions. Our goal is to reach out to both everyday folk and artistic colleagues. And we have succeeded, there’s something really exciting about a mixed audience – it’s a meeting place for different generations and walks of life,” says Signe Johannessen.
The couple Signe and Erik started to work with the idea back in 2007.
“We went to the Royal Institute of Art and started thinking and planning. We wanted to live in the countryside and work with social issues and contemporary art. We started looking and the more sites we saw the more our ambitions grew.”
When Signe and Erik finally found the old brewery in Gnesta, it was no more than a ruin. After much hard work its doors opened in 2011. And in just a few years Art Lab has become a natural meeting place in the region and been recognised in artistic circles in both Sweden and abroad.
“Art Lab Gnesta is our super-ambitious baby that just couldn’t stop growing,” explains Signe Johannessen and laughs.
Art Lab Gnesta is often seen as a provocator with attitude. The idea is to raise current issues, beliefs and problems, and be able to discuss them in reality – here and now.
I am often asked what it’s like to run a meeting place like this in such a small district as Gnesta. But for me Gnesta is perfect – it’s a place that people can relate to and acts as an example of Sweden. We stand physically in this Sörmland railway town but our sights are firmly set outwards, and we have become a site of discussion and creativity.
When Signe and her husband are not working with Art Lab Gnesta, they are themselves active artists.
“There’s often an uneasy feeling within contemporary art today if you’re not right in the thick of it. I’m not bothered about that. I live and work in a place I love and genuinely want to be, Gnesta is quite simply where I have chosen!”
Art Lab Gnesta is the place for experimental art. There is always something going on here for visitors to get to know or visit – discussions, installations, exhibitions, publications, films and public decorations
Art Lab Gnesta
Bryggerihuset, Bryggargränd 4
646 31 GNESTA