Lise Skou

Lise Skou holds a BA in Nordic Literature and History of Art from the University of Aarhus (DK). Her practice investigates notions of precarity, labor, value, care, new economic narratives and capitalist logics of existence. Current projects include The Feminist Supermarket at Ormston House in Limerick, Ireland (2020-2021).

October 2018, Aarhus, Denmark

Kelly Lloyd (KL): Have you come to some… this is the problem of working with collectives is when it doesn’t work, it becomes this theoretical thing of being like, does that mean that collectives don’t work? Or does that mean that like, anarchy doesn’t work or, you know, did you have a moment when you had to close the shop where it was like, okay, alternative economies don’t work?

Lise Skou (LS): I believe you can do something else, but I just don’t know how. And I also know that it needs to be done. But that’s like a road that…I don’t know. And you mentioned solidarity earlier, and I think that’s one thing. Solidarity among artists is not there, basically. Because if I’m invited for a show and they don’t want to pay me any fee, and I say, ‘Well then I don’t want to do it,’ then there’s somebody be right behind me who says, ‘Ah! I will do it!’ So as long as we do that than we will never get to any point where institutions will pay artists for their work.

So actually, I think you’ve met me at a point where I’m quite negative about how to manage this as an artist. Because I have been living very much off scholarships and the Danish Art Council and funding for, I don’t know, 10 years maybe? But it’s very very fragile, and also my reason for wanting to try with this shop, The Exchange Library, was because I was aware that it was fragile and I wanted to have my own economy so that I would be independent. So that I didn’t have to sit down and write 5 applications every 3rd month. So that would give me some time to do what’s important: making the art, not just writing about it. Or not just writing applications, I mean. So that’s my reason for doing it in the first place is I wanted to have this sustainable economy, be independent and then I could do all that interesting stuff that I wanted to do.

And now it turns out it didn’t work, and recently I have had had to find myself a cleaning job to make the money to pay my rent. So, I’m like, ok, fuck it. Trying to do these socially engaging critical projects, trying to build up new structures, it doesn’t make me survive. So, I am now in this, and it’s a bit… I have a bit of an identity crisis at the moment because this job is like 20 hours a week, which is quite a lot when you also have 2 kids, so all of my time right now goes into cleaning and driving my kids back and forth from school. So being an artist, I’m like ok, but what does that mean? Where am I? Who am I in all this?

September 2020, London, United Kingdom

KL: What will the future look like?

LS: Lise Skou, nyt til salgsprint, 2019