Interview with Julie Alf, Director of ENTER Art Fair

by Artland Editors

From 29 August to 1 September 2019, visit and experience the one-of-a-kind ENTER Art Fair in Copenhagen. With the conventions of an art fair combined with state-of-the-art digital tools, this event is set to be one of the most exciting things in the art world.

We sit down with Director Julie Alf in advance of ENTER Art Fair to talk about what she’s looking forward to and what we can expect.

Artland: Hi Julie. We at Artland are looking forward to ENTER Art Fair and excited about our partnership. Could you tell us about your expectations for ENTER Art Fair, given that it will be taking place for the first time this year?

Julie Alf: Our goal with ENTER is to create a unique international art event showcasing contemporary art from all around the world that attracts both experienced art buyers and those who are not yet well-versed in the art world. The coupling of a physical contemporary art fair in an analogue form with an innovative virtual version has already elicited great interest and curiosity. Through our partnership with Artland, we hope to generate more interest in contemporary art and encourage people to think of new ways of presenting and experiencing art. 

Artland: What inspired you to start ENTER Art Fair?

Julie Alf: The lack of an art event that was relevant to both Danish and international galleries inspired me to find a team ENTER. After meeting the talented Caroline Bøge, Fanny Christoffersen, Irene Camplomi, and Mattis Curth and Claus Risvig from Artland, I felt like we had the perfect team for such an ambitious event. We also wanted to explore how the dissemination of art in the digital world could be combined with the physical aspects of experiencing art in an interesting and meaningful way.

Artland: Yes, the digital and virtual aspects of ENTER are part of what makes it really interesting. Can you describe how the virtual part of the fair will work?

Julie Alf: In short, ENTER will present a new virtual version each month of the fair, powered by Artland, where the galleries’ current exhibitions will be displayed through 3D recordings, and will be updated continuously throughout the year. Like the physical fair, the virtual fair will consist of a VIP room, a program for art collectors and one art program in digital form. Through this digital scaffolding, the relationships and experiences from the physical fair can be extended and maintained year-round. Moreover, art lovers will have the opportunity to follow the extended program of the galleries, and more artists will be able to reach a wider audience. Although there is already plenty of art online, it can still be difficult to find relevant and interesting art, even for the initiated. With the virtual exhibition, we hope to offer a more accessible and curated experience for viewers.

Artland: How do you imagine that the fair will evolve over time?

Julie Alf: We have many exciting plans already in the works for the next three years, but first and foremost we hope that it becomes an event that people will remember and look forward to year after year. Another part of our vision is to be at the forefront of digital art communication, and we hope to be able to take the concept and the fair’s galleries to the other capitals in the Nordic countries.

Artland: Could you elaborate on what that partnership with Artland will mean for ENTER?

Julie Alf: Young people are also often driven by curiosity and technology. Through our partnership with Artland, we hope to awaken the interest of a wider group who may not have had much experience with art before. We would like to make everyone feel welcome in the art world— Enter the art world. Enter the art fair.

Artland: What are you hoping these 3D recordings of the exhibitions will add?

Julie Alf: Artland’s 3D film of the galleries’ exhibitions will allow the virtual visitor to see exhibitions from all over world year round. 3D recordings cannot replace the experience of a physical exhibition, but it can be a really good alternative if you can’t just travel to Copenhagen, Cuba or New York to see an exhibition with your own eyes. We’ve tried to highlight our focus on the digital media and VR (Virtual Reality) works by having a a section for digital artwork and a prize for an artist working with VR.

Artland: Do you think one can evaluate a work properly via virtual reality?

Julie Alf: I believe so. The physical encounter with the art and the relationships you form between people are still, in our opinion, indispensable aspects of an art fair. However, a 3D experience is quite close to reality. Though there may be details that cannot be seen or felt without a physical viewing, it adds to the accessibility of art fairs and exhibitions in an important way.

Artland: What makes Copenhagen particularly interesting as an art city?

Julie Alf: Earlier this year, Lonely Planet appointed our capital as “… the epitome of Scandi cool” and since then, we have encountered many art collectors around the world talking about Copenhagen. We have world-class museums with eg. Copenhagen Contemporary, which will be right next to Enter Art Fair. In addition, there is the National Museum of Art, the Glyptotek, Thorvaldsen’s Museum, and of course the Louisiana Museum of Art, which although not in the center, should be visited by anyone interested in contemporary art. In addition, Copenhagen also makes waves in the field of architecture, fashion and gastronomy. Geographically, Copenhagen is the hub entrance to the rest of the Nordic region, which makes the city interesting in relation to the international art scene.

Where ENTER is taking place is particularly fascinating. Refshaleøen is already known for its wide range of exciting eateries, from street food food stalls to gourmet food at Amass and Alchemist. In case that isn’t enough, there will also be a champagne bar and snacks at ENTER, which go very well together with art.

Artland: That’s great to hear. Just to round off Julie, could you tell us what are you most looking forward to at the fair?

Julie Alf: I’m looking forward to seeing the team’s dedicated work and our partnership come to fruition with this ambitious new fair. I also hope to see a lot of happy people who feel enriched by the innovative art experience at Enter Art Fair.