Kling & Bang Gallery brought a bar to Frieze, London:
Drinking in the Art, the Icelandic Way
As we reported in our last issue, Kling & Bang Gallery in Reykjavík was invited to contribute to Frieze Projects 2008, a special invitational part of the annual Frieze Art Fair. Their response was to package up their recently defunkt Reykjavík hangout and recreate it in the London exhibition. So Sirkus Bar, long a favourite drinking hole for the hip, young and arty of downtown Reykjavík, was resurrected with all its original interior and the fascade, complete with a sign featuring puffins. Guests were simply invited to come in and have a drink.
The response was tremendous and guests not only ejoyed the opportunity of a drink in the middle of an exhausting day of art gazing but also seemed to fully appreciate the gesture and the atmosphere of the installation. Carole Cadwalladr of the Observer rated it among the top five projects in this year's Frieze.
"The best thing this year – and argulably any Frieze – is Sirkus, the Icelandic spot which consisted of one of Reyjavik’s most famous dive bars ripped out and shipped over for the fair complete with their own Djs and scary Icelandic salty liquorice shots. Francesca Gavin of DazedDigital was even more enthusiastic: The best thing this year – and argulably any Frieze – is Sirkus, the Icelandic spot which consisted of one of Reyjavik’s most famous dive bars ripped out and shipped over for the fair complete with their own Djs and scary Icelandic salty liquorice shots."
Veteran critic of the Guardian, Adrian Serle featured Sirkus on his video blog and also wrote about it in his review: "This is no ordinary Icelandic clip joint. It is art or something like it. But a beer is a beer, and you don't have to pay for a glass of foaming Thule with Iceland's funny money."
That Adrian was really there is confirmed by James Westcott, writing on artreview.com: "I found Adrian Searle sitting at the bar relaxing after filing his piece for the Guardian. "Out there doesn't exist," he shouted over the music."
Finally, if all this still seems odd to you, you can get a psychoanalyst's perspective from Coline Covington on The First Post.
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