Art brought to business minds

Interview with Christoffer Faurschou, co-founder of CBS Art 

2017 does not only mark the 100 years anniversary of Copenhagen Business School; it also marks the start of a new era for its more than 20.000 students and 2.000 employees. In February 2017, CBS inaugurated CBS Digital Art Space, an exhibition site for video art and a branch of the student organisation CBS Art, which Christoffer Faurschou founded with two fellow students in 2013. The launch of CBS Digital Art Space is a manifestation of art’s justification in a learning institution which typically is categorized by a high amount of logical, rational thinking. Artland met with Christoffer Faurschou for a talk about CBS Art and art’s capability for influencing our imagination as well as its ability to create room for thought, irrationality, and new creative processes. 

Christoffer Faurschou, co-founder of CBS Art

Tell us about CBS Art. What is it?
CBS art is a student organisation for all students and employees at Copenhagen Business School. Our vision is to make the people of CBS more familiar with the art and diffuse the interest for it. Several students have never been to an art institution so there is a severe barrier which has to be overcome. With CBS Art we attempt to bridge the prevailing gap that exists between the art- and the business sector. We wish to unite the two worlds and in that meeting create possibilities for new ways of thinking and acting. Simultaneously, the organisation was created with the intention of showing the students that the art world is not a closed country. On the contrary, art fosters discussion, and we really wanted to create a place where everyone can contribute in his or her individual way without feeling misunderstood or unqualified. Everyone can participate in the organisation, and we hope that we can make art a more natural part of the students’ reality by exposing them to it in their everyday life and make it possible for them to experience and sense it first-hand.

… and what do you do?
Specifically, we arrange Art Crawls where we, in the course of an afternoon, visit 2-3 exhibitions and end with a glass of wine and a bite to eat. In addition to that, we do Art Talks where we invite different representatives from the art scene to give insight into the different parts of the art world and its processes. The last branch on the tree is CBS Digital Art Space, which is a permanent exhibition site for video art that opened in February 2017.

CBS Art Crawl

What was your main motivation for founding CBS Art?
I founded the organisation in 2013 with two fellow students. I had just started my education at CBS and quickly got a sense of the vibrating community with a bunch of cool student organisations – however, there were no organisations for art. The art world seemed so distant for the common CBS student and I wanted to change that. As an institution CBS is highly driven by a rational way of thinking with business always present to the mind, and for many students experiencing and relating to art is not a natural part of their everyday life. That is why CBS Art was created – as a meeting place between art and business.

Can you highlight some of your previous projects. What have you seen? Who have you talked to?
We have had numerous exciting and interesting Art Talks. If I had to highlight any particular, the Danish art photographer Søren Solkjær visited us and shared stories from his own experiences in the art world. We experienced a great enthusiasm from the people who showed up, bubbling with an infectious curiosity and plenty of questions. In addition to that, we have been visited by representatives from four different art institutions (Thorvaldsens Museum, Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Nikolaj Kunsthal, and Faurschou Foundation), all of whom have dealt with organization theory, which is an obligatory module at Copenhagen Business School. The students received insight into how art institutions are structured, and how they operate. Organisation is important in the everyday work of the speakers, so they were able to contribute both something new and familiar and managed thereby to connect the two worlds.

CBS Art Talk with Danish photographer Søren Solkær

In February 2017, you opened the doors to CBS Digital Art Space which will exhibit video art selected and curated in collaboration with Danish and foreign artists and art institutions. The first year and a half Louisiana Museum of Modern Art provides a number of video works to the exhibition space. How did that collaboration come into place?
CBS Digital Art space was two years in the making before it became a reality. I, as a student representative, am a member of the school’s art committee. In that context, I proposed the idea of a permanent exhibition space for video art. To my great satisfaction, the committee embraced my idea, and supported the project, and from then on it began to take shape. I was in liaising with a number of art institutions, all of whom saw the potential in the project. We met general positivity regarding the project and – to our great satisfaction – we ended up collaborating with Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. We had several preliminary meetings with the chief curator from Louisiana, Anders Kold, who challenged the project and helped improve it. It was a great process, and we discussed a number of things, such as the placement, sound level, and so on. After that, the fundraising for the project began, and it luckily payed off thanks to Bikubenfonden. We have received great internal and external feedback. The project is not commercialized, and many people find that sympathetic. Nobody makes a profit – except the profit of amazing art – and that is, after all, a great profit by itself.

Christoffer Faurschou at the opening of CBS Digital Art Space

In the symposium ‘The Art of Entrepreneurship and the Entrepreneurship of Art’, which took place at CBS in April 2017, you discussed how art can facilitate innovation along with the speakers Lars Nittve, (founding Director of M+ and Tate Modern), Erlend Høyersten (Director of ARoS, Aarhus Kunstmuseum), and Peter Hanke (Conductor and affiliated with Said Business School). Can you elaborate on this?
In my presentation, I focused on CBS Digital Art Space for a talk on “How art facilitates entrepreneurial thinking through passion and irrationality.” I presented my view on how a business institution can create a space for art, which is not driven by commercial interests, but which function as a channel for absorption, preoccupation, and creative impulses. Also, I talked about a student who thought that the first piece we exhibited was a commercial – Me and My Mother (2010) by the Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson. This exemplifies many students’ way of thinking when it comes to art. We surround ourselves with projects we want to benefit from. CBS Digital Art Space, on the other hand, is a space for creativity with no hidden agenda. In my presentation, I highlighted the term ‘artfully entrepreneurial’, because I see a clear connection between being an artist and being an entrepreneur. Both are driven by an immense passion, the ability to think differently, and the courage to be irrational and take chances. I really do believe that knowledge and imagination goes hand in hand.

Can you tell about the future projects for CBS Art?
We want to incorporate art directly into the architecture of the school. At the moment, we are working on some concrete projects, which we cannot talk much about just yet, but I dare say that it is an effort to bring place specific art into the space where students go about their daily lives. It may be an atypical comment from a CBS student, but I want to separate the art from the commercial and present it on its own premise. In the future, we would like to work with more art institutions, artists, festivals, and other participants, who help drive the culture forwards. With CBS Digital Art Space, Louisiana has helped set the bar high. Right here, in the middle of Denmark’s biggest business school, we have a space that exhibits the art freely and allows us to think big, differently, and irrationally.

CBS Digital Art Space

Bio Christoffer Faurschou

  • Co-founder of CBS Art and Founder of CBS Digital Art Space
  • Student Representative at CBS Art Comittee
  • Project Associate at LEAD Agency
  • Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Business Administration and Organizational Communication (2013-2017)