There are always several exhibitions running at any one time here, each with its own direction, so as to suit different tastes. The exhibition space covers an area of 1,600 m². Our visitors should ensure they have plenty of time! For anyone looking to recognise themselves and their own life, and see an exhibition that looks at normal people’s lives and situations, a visit to Virserum Art Museum is a must.
Art is communication. Art must therefore be based just as much on listening as on interpretation. People’s images and experiences are central to Virserum Art Museum. We often use artists who work out in the field together with people, gathering all kinds of material through filming, interviewing and listening. But the work can also have a pedagogical and activating role, for example in youth projects which focus on young people’s own activities. During the work in the field, the artist learns to really see and meet people who normally do not visit art exhibitions. The artists are not only able to gather material and be influenced by the context; they also meet their intended audience. What will work for them? The process in the field is an artistic and social process, perhaps the most important part of the work.
Virserum Art Museum is the art museum of the rural community, of the periphery. We see our work as a democratic mission. The museum works closely with its local audience and endeavours to be a natural part of the community’s life and social, democratic and economic development. Some exhibitions are the result of a collaboration with the audience. We want to present an image of life and Sweden of today which contrasts the ever more commercial and urban-centred image often presented by the media. This perspective is the key to breaking the prevailing consensus in the world of contemporary art. Important concepts for us to work with are gender, class and geography.
Exhibitions and projects are different parts of humanity’s great tapestry. The exhibitions do not consist of different works; we see each exhibition as a story in itself and a holistic work of art.
Young people in depopulated areas are in many respects marginalised. Like the youth of the suburbs, confidence and interest in having influence through the established political institutions is low among the youth of rural communities. The rural community is also the periphery of society, which means the youth of rural communities are doubly marginalised. Several youth democracy projects have been conducted in Kalmar county by Virserum Art Museum, the most recent being Radio XX.
Art can be used to glorify power and make the powerless even smaller, but also to question and offer a voice and thereby power to the individual citizen. Art is the best storyteller and life is the best story.