Places and hearts – #8 Altan, Vestfossen

Altan is a project space situated on a balcony at Arena Vestfossen. Established in 2017 by Kenneth Alme. Kenneth Alme is an artist and lives and works in Oslo and Vestfossen.

KubaParis
Is “home” the place where you’ve been born?

Kenneth Alme
Home is where I grew up, in the North West of Norway and home is where I live, in Oslo. My studio in Vestfossen is a home and I feel at home in Frankfurt, where I lived for a while.

KP
What do you see and feel when you look out of the window?

KA

Right now, there is a pigeon on the balcony. I had to zoom in so the quality is not the best but he seems friendly enough.

KP
How would your best friend (partner/visitors, guests) describe your rooms?

KA
Tidy but not obsessive. Clean apartment and a messy studio.

KP
How do you decide what artist you exhibit?

KA
No specific way or method except looking at and working with art. I enjoy going on studio visits and try to find artists that I think can work in specific spaces.
At Henie Onstad Kunstsenter outside of Oslo there is an office space that I have always found beautiful that belonged to one of the founders of the center. Last June I got the possibility to use this space and invited the artists Yves-Michele Saß, Stefan Fuchs, Philipp Reitsam and Simon Lässig from SPREEZ in Munich to do a sort of site specific project. They worked on their respective works in Munich with only the photos of this very specific space as reference. This meant some uncertain factors to relate to, but the result was very, very good, which I believe came, in part, from a space that demanded its presence and the artists working along with it.

The Board Room, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, 2016

KP
Your favorite art space?

KA
I want to mention the nomadic spaces Just Married and Jir Sandel who have done projects in Brussels, Osaka and Los Angeles, just to mention a few.
I have always liked Ginerva Gambino in Cologne. SydneySydney in Sydney as well. Unfortunately never visited it, but there is especially one exhibition, 2024, that I like. There are several good spaces in Oslo. 1857 have a very strong program and one of the most amazing spaces I know. NoPlace have been around for several years doing an impressive number of exhibitions and projects. I think Galerie Buchholz and Barbara Wien have strong programs as well.

KP
Why do we need independent art spaces?

KA
Because they are independent. Independent spaces are usually not ruled by money or commerce. This means they can focus on the narrower aspects of the art scenes. There is also liberty involved, which should never be taken for granted.
Independent art spaces may also work as a prolonging of the art academy, where you are encouraged to make errors and mistakes to grow and develop. Independent art spaces can work in a similar way. They form an arena where the experimental focus is high and the danger of failing is minimal.

KP
What means independence for you?

KA
Doing this; my own work, collaborations and now Altan

KP
For what Altan stands for?

KA
The word itself, altan, means a balcony without an overbuilt construction or a roof. In German it is called Ein Söller. The project space Altan is situated on an actual altan, ein Söller, outside of my studio and on this I have built this crude construction, sort of an lean-to, out of wood and tarp. The walls are open so you are somewhat exposed to the elements.
One of the inspirations for Altan was Martin Kippenbergers project MOMAS in the early nineties, where he defined an unfinished construction on the Mediterranean island of Syros as The Museum of Modern Art Syros and then inviting artists to exhibit there.
That is one of the things I find interesting; the power of definition that artists have. That by being artists we can define spaces, rooms, stairs, roofs and seemingly unfit spaces as legit arenas to do projects in.

Christopher Wool and Martin Kippenberger in front of MOMAS Photo by Helmut Middendorf

KP
Something you ‘ve always wanted to say?

KA
Keep your toolbox organized