Wallspace | New Art Space Eindhoven
Wallspace Eindhoven | Overview exhibition space in preparation for the first exhibition Under the Pavement, The Beach | 03.12.2018
07 December 2018
by Marijn Dekker
Art Space, Gallery & Publishing House
Stadhuisplein 6, 5611 EM Eindhoven
New Art Initiative | Blog
A New Space for Contemporary Art
A space for contemporary art, design and books, exhibiting the work of starting artist in a transdisciplinary context, while also breaching the stigma of fine art as an exclusively elitist form of expression. This is the mission of Wallspace, the new art space located in the city center of Eindhoven. Whilst showing me around, the founder and main curator Pernilla Ellens explains that Wallspace has a multifaceted purpose, functioning as both a gallery to exhibit and sell contemporary art, a project space for interdisciplinary events, as well as a publishing house for contemporary art books, zines and critical texts. Although each exhibition will have a balanced combination of diverse art disciplines and artists, the initiative currently has a special focus on the connection between contemporary art, design and artist books. Wallspace will open its doors to the public on the 8thof December 2018, presenting its first exhibition: Under the Pavement, The Beach. What can we expect from this new art space?
The Founding of Wallspace
Pernilla Ellens explains how Wallspace started out as her initiative in collaboration with Wallstreet, a restaurant and hybrid cultural space located in the same building. This pop-up restaurant focuses on researching alternative economic systems in conjunction with the capitalist economy. Although Wallspace embodies a similar anti-establishment ideology, Pernilla describes that the main goal of Wallspace is to provide a medium to artists to exhibit their work and connect with other artists or cultural professionals, as well as with a new, broader audience. Wallspace therefore strives to function as a bridge between art and the general public.
Its central location at the heart of Eindhoven plays a key role in this. With this initiative, Pernilla Ellens wishes to show the visitors of the art space a different aspect of Eindhoven: a city with an interesting palette of artistic expression. Pernilla describes how Eindhoven is quite often depicted as a brain-port and design hub, an unauthentic impression which city branders have attributed to the city over time. As opposed to this static and one-sided image of Eindhoven, she tries to show Eindhoven as a lived-in city, one that is constantly influx which creative initiatives and artistic potential. A potential which Wallspace seeks to uncover, explore, and present in a humane, authentic way.
The Wallspace Manifesto
This mission and vision are grounded within a set of ideological ideas, which Pernilla Ellens recorded in a manifesto. This set of convictions serve as the central rudder and thrust behind Wallspace’s exhibitions, events, publications and activities:
“WE WANT YOU, TO RECLAIM THE CITY CENTER, CHOOSE EXCHANGE VALUE OVER USE VALUE, CREATE A NEW CULTURAL OFFER, SURROUND YOURSELF WITH SYMBOLIC WEALTH, CONSTRUCT BEAUTY, CHANGE THE CAPITALIST SYSTEM FROM WITHIN, EXHIBIT, RIOT, AND LEARN, ALL IS POSSIBLE, AT THE NEW LOCUS OF FREEDOM, WALLSPACE”
As one might expect from the eminent activist undertones and intertextual references to Marxist, Situationist, Queer and Feminist discourses, Wallspace’s manifest is all about integrity and authenticity, offering both an alternative to and resistance versus the established institutions of the cultural field as well as the entirety of neo-capitalism as a system, by providing the freedom to express and create new value.
This results in a focus on diversity, and ethical, durable relationships between Wallspace’s core function as a gallery on the one hand and its exhibitors and connected artists on the other. Pernilla Ellens describes how she was motivated to provide this platform to young, starting artists because she feels there is so much value left unexplored due to the limits and complacency of the established cultural institutions. Wallspace is an organization that seeks to offer all artists a stage to exhibit and sell their work, adding new value to the city. There are always free spots in the yearly planning of exhibits for artists seeking a place to show their works. The selection criteria include an ethical component as well, since their financial situation and career prospects are taken into consideration as well.
Bridging the Gap
Simultaneously, Wallspace tries to bridge the supposed gap between the fine arts and the broad general public. It is Pernilla Ellens’ firm believe that art is something which everyone can enjoy, and something which therefore carries great value. Wallspace seeks to provide the opportunity to experience this value, to anyone open to give it a try, trying to get rid of the aura of elitism so often associated with the fine arts. In order to address a broad spectrum of audiences, Pernilla has done several things to lower the threshold as much as possible.
Entrance to the gallery is always free, and whilst displaying the gallery’s huge glass windows overlooking the main square in front of Eindhoven’s Statehouse, Pernilla explains how this location is ideal to reach a broad audience. Her goal is to not only reach the typical art loving groups which often visit galleries like these, but also different audiences which do not usually visits art museum or galleries. This goes for both random passersby, the inhabitants or visitors of Eindhoven, as well as the politicians located directly in front of the gallery, seeking to display Wallspace’s exhibitions to draw them in and convince them of all the value and beauty of art.
Due to its location in a multipurposed building, Wallspace is also inherently a hub of activity where multiple disciplines and multiple visitors gather. Being part of the same building which houses the Wallstreet restaurant on the ground floor, as well as many artist studios and even a radio station on the upper floors, ensures that the gallery is always a meeting grounds of various audiences and creators, as well as a hybrid space where multiple disciplines coexist and even co-create. The aspect of co-creation, can be found in format of transdisciplinary exhibitions.
To illustrate the value of combining multiple artistic disciplines into one exhibition, Pernilla specifically talks about the combination between fine art and music. Contrary to the fine arts, which often has a very narrow and specific audience, contemporary music often addresses a broad spectrum of different audiences. By connecting the two of them together through overlapping events – for example a DJ playing during an art exhibition – Wallspace offers its visitors the opportunity to experience new types of artistic expressions during a harmonic confluence with an already familiar one, therefore lowering the threshold and attracting new audiences to the arts.
This specific approach to art gives shape to a variety of activities organized by Wallspace. There will be a new exhibition every month, with plenty of flexibility in the timetable for new aspiring artists to join in on a short notice. In addition, Wallspace will regularly organize special events to complement the exhibitions, engage visitors and to accommodate a broader public, such as drawing sessions and artist talks. Last but not least, Wallspace will also function as a small-scale publishing house under the name Blitzbooksfor both artist publications, critical texts, posters as well as zines. Pernilla explains that this form of publishing affords the ability to spread your own ideas and images, creating a different voice within the cultural discourse, and providing critical minds with the opportunity to express their worldviews.
Official opening: Saturday 8 December 2018, 20:00.
Exhibition: Behind the Pavement, The Beach.
Location: Stadhuisplein 6, Eindhoven (The Netherlands).
Regular visiting hours: Thursday and Friday, or on appointment.