Stockholm Airport Exhibition Brings Art to Weary Travelers

By Michaud, Paul | Art Business News, November 2000 | Go to article overview

Stockholm Airport Exhibition Brings Art to Weary Travelers


Michaud, Paul, Art Business News


STOCKHOLM--"What other art gallery in the world has the chance to attract eight million visitors over the span of a single show?" asked Thomas Adlercreutz, a young Swedish entrepreneur who came up with an idea that seemed so simple he was surprised nobody else had ever tried it before.

The idea was to take advantage of an already existing structure--in this case Stockholm's Arlanda Airport--and tackle the challenge of bringing in works of art that would prove innovative. Indeed, the goal was to make passage through the facility much more than the simple run-through associated with most airports.

A year after his first show at the airport, Adlercreutz likes to tell listeners about the unmitigated success of his idea and show them his scrapbooks which contain no fewer than 500 articles on his "flexible art gallery"--his expression--that appeared in the major world press.

But, not one to sit on his laurels, Adlercreutz has lost no time in coming up with a second show--"Alive"--which is presently at Arlanda and runs through Nov. 30. Adlercreutz's first exhibition--known as "The Alien Artspace"--was already was highly acclaimed by both passengers and critics. The reason, according to Adlercreutz, is that "we proved that we could be at the same time highly innovative, in exhibiting sculptures and the like which were certainly some superb examples of contemporary art, but also managed to tie in the exhibits with the airport proper."

At the center of the first exhibition was the creation of a unique meeting point--the area where passengers, who've lost their way, have the chance to meet up--by the incrustation (done by artist Michkael Richter) in the airport's floor of four magnificently large letters, BUSS--the Swedish equivalent of KISS. "People fell for the idea immediately," said Adlercreutz, "and it became evident that what began as another simple idea that nobody else had tried turned out to be so successful that we certainly ended up raising the temperature in that particular terminal."

An airport official commenting on the success of Adlercreutz's exhibits, admitted that the Swedish entrepreneur's idea has certainly managed to tie in well with the airport's own considerations in authorizing him to mount his "shows." The official said, "the witty installations such as `Buss' certainly have become an important part of Arlanda's quest for self-improvement, and its desire that the usual ordered rows of seating be replaced by friendly meeting places such as those imagined by Messrs Richter and Adlercreutz. …

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