The man in the middle. Synergies between art and fashion

Interview with Kristian W. Andersen, Director & Creative Director at Code and CIFF

Copenhagen is experiencing a golden era. The visual arts, fashion, food, film, music and architecture scenes are alive and kicking. Kristian W. Andersen, Director of Code Art Fair and Copenhagen International Fashion Fair, is one lucky guy. He finds himself right in between two creative, vibrating fields: art and fashion. Leading up to Code (August 31 – September 3), we met with him and talked about his role as the man in the middle and his mission to create opportunities for talents to work together across industries, nations individuals and institutions presenting their ideas, passion and work.

Kristian W. Andersen

As a director of Code Art Fair and Copenhagen International Fashion Fair (CIFF), you find yourself working in between two creative sectors. How do you see these two support each other, and do you seek to explore the synergies between these two in any specific way?
First of all, I would like to say that I feel like a very lucky person. I get to work with the two of the most interesting and creative industries. It is not just a job – it is a personal passion.  In other words, there are no real boundaries between working hours and free time. Same goes for art and fashion. The fashion industry and the creative talents have always been inspired by art and the creative geniuses in art  – current figures and works, or master pieces created years or centuries ago.

With CODE Art Fair and CIFF we seek to explore, develop and encourage this close relation both in a more subtle way behind the scenes and through direct collaborations. This year both Code Art Fair and CIFF will host an event in Los Angeles in October liaising the bonds between art and fashion – Denmark and the US. The vision is to create opportunities for talents to work together across industries, nations individuals and institution presenting their ideas, passion and work.

It seems that Copenhagen is experiencing a kind of golden era at present – not just within the visual arts, but also thanks to a vibrant cultural scene that encompasses music, urban development, festivals of film, fashion, and architecture. How do you explain all this creativity currently taking form in the city?
Copenhagen has often been described as one of the most desirable cities in the world. For almost a decade it has been rated either number one or among the top 5 most lively cities. It naturally draws a talented, curious and ambitious crowd. Combined with one of the world’s most interesting food scenes – “the Danish mentality” for openness and freedom of speech and expression is a fundamental setting for both CIFF and Code Art fair and other creative industries.

Code and CIFF both have an ambitious international profile. How do you view their role and impact on the global art and fashion scene?
During the last four years CIFF has established itself as a global leader within the fashion industry and as one of the most innovative and relevant platforms for young talented designers and a long range of established brands looking for new ways of expressing themselves in a very updated and dynamic environment. We constantly seek to re-define the platform – creating the space and support for talents to be able to express themselves and their work on their conditions.

CODE art fair has the same fundamental rule. We aim to work with the best and most relevant artists and galleries in order to present a “must go to” annual event within the art industry. We seek to introduce both Scandinavian and international collectors to both master pieces and new relevant rising stars.

You once said that “Today is already yesterday. At CIFF, we’re focused on tomorrow and the day after.” Can you elaborate a bit on that, and would you say that the same approach goes for Code as well?
You should always be aware of the past – learn from it – but never dwell on it. It makes both you and the people around you fall a sleep. Or even worse self-absorbed. What really matters is to constant challenge yourself – your partners and audience. In order to do that – you must stay hungry – sometimes foolish and very curious. That’s why you should enjoy today –this very moment, but be very excited about what tomorrow can bring – what is your next dream, and in this case – directing CODE to constantly follow the artists – the young ones on their rise, giving them an opportunity to express their ideas and work, support them in ways that goes beyond a traditional art fair. And of course challenge and engage with the established masters and galleries to find new ways of collaboration or project – whether it’s at the show itself, downtown Copenhagen or in 2018 in various cities across Europe.

So, tell us, what can we expect for tomorrow and the day after? How do you see Code and CIFF developing in the future?
This season, which is the 2nd season for CODE, the program is very exciting both in terms of content, relevance and social activities. The list is very long so please check the VIP program. Also I’m very proud and grateful to our two main contributors – Statens Kunstfund and Det Obelske Familie Fond in order to make it possible for us to create a very very nice open and free program for all citizens of copenhagen and Denmark at large.

2018 – CODE’s 3rd season is in the making. We are not ready to reveal much yet – but what I do want to say is that you can look forward to meeting us in several European capitals in 2018 – overseas end 2018 and of course all this is connected to a special theme for CODE in Copenhagen and a high profile collaboration between art and fashion.

Code 2016

About Code Art Fair
In 2017, Code 2, the fair’s second edition, will present leading as well as emerging galleries from all over the world. The exhibiting galleries are selected by a curatorial team in a mission to exhibit progressive and thought-provoking presentations, providing the viewers with enriching artistic experiences.

Dates & Hours
August 31 – September 3, 2017
Code 2 (in Bella Center):
Preview: Thursday, August 31, 11-16
Public Vernissage: Thursday, August 31, 16-20
Fair: Friday, September 1, 11-20, Saturday, September 2, 11-18
Code on Sunday (in central Copenhagen):
Sunday, September 3, 11-16

Address: Center Boulevard 5 2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark

About CIFF
Copenhagen International Fashion Fair is the largest and longest-running fashion fair in Northern Europe. Over the past five years, CIFF has become a major bi-annual destination for the international fashion industry. Along the way, it has reinvented the trade show concept and earned the reputation for being one of Europe’s most dynamic and innovative sales platform.

Twice annually, the CIFF platform welcomes nearly 2000 brands across more than 60,000 square meters of exhibition space. The CIFF platform encompasses CIFF, CIFF KIDS and CIFF Showrooms, nearly 15,000 square meters of luxury showroom space housing more than 500 brands on a permanent basis.

Upcoming editions: 
31 January – 2 February 2018
Opening Hours: Wednesday – Friday 9am – 6pm