Text written in 2012 for the project report and retrospective at The Art Museum of Gotland

The Pineapple Project Room – mobile space for contemporary art
Sparwasser HQ Berlin

The exhibition space as a tool for artistic practice – a relational project

My idea to start an exhibition space was born in the summer of 1995. The fundamental reasons were the lack of exhibition possibilities for younger artists in Malmö and the non-existing contacts with foreign colleagues at that time. Much was due to the economic crisis in the beginning of the nineties which drained the art scene of energy and power. Dynamics and pluralism were gone. We artists thought nothing was happening. This serious situation gave birth to my idea to launch a research project based on questions concerning the economical conditions for production and presentation within art. Interesting for me was to examine a structure change in the balance between the actors of the art scene which should lead to a broader socializing of the art scene or a form of relational aesthetics. My inspiration came from the values and attitudes of the early punk movement where one of the paroles was "Just Do It!", that is engagement and challenge. In the seventies Joseph Beuys raised the theme of "Social Plastic" which also influenced the social character of the upcoming exhibition space. During 1996 the name Pineapple was born. It was the only word that one morning stayed on my lips after the dream of the night. 1996 became a year of preparations and applications. Both Sune Nordgren and Lars Nittve, at that time directors of Malmö Konsthall respectively Rooseum (later Baltic CCA in Gateshead respectively Tate London and The Modern Museum - Stockholm), gave references to the first application of economical support to an artist run platform.

The goal of my project The Pineapple was to fill the empty gap in-between art institutions and commercial galleries. Important was a "non-commercial" attitude based on alternative strategies. The working method consisted of openness, flexibility and close relations to the art scene, its producers and consumers, to generate a creative flow. To reaching good dynamics established artists were mixed with unestablished, young and old. Communication, artistic collaboration and networking, which during the years led to a worldwide net of contacts, were of special importance. The frame was a borderless environment. Process, presentation and reflection were parts of a contemporary research labour. The choice of a physical and mental mobility should make it possible for The Pineapple, like a chameleon, to pop-up in different contexts.

Short summary

First exhibition project started in January 1997 and continued throughout the spring. The exhibition space was in connection with the artist material shop Drewex. Six exhibitions with a Scandinavian touch. My efforts with The Pineapple was parallel to my regular art works which delayed the next project, a club event, to take place in April 1998. Behind the name "The Pineapple goes Goody Bar" a whole night was carried through at the Hipp Restaurant in Malmö with performance, video and installations by 16 artists. Then The Pineapple restarted in its own space in August 1998. The strategies were deepened. Bjørn Wangen, artist colleague joined. The homepage was published. Net Society opened as a web-gallery with digital art works. Collaboration and exchange projects started with artists and galleries in Sweden and abroad. We showed artists from Europe and USA in Malmö at the same time as we presented local artists abroad, among others a participation at the international art fair ARCO in Madrid. The activities with a permanent space continued until December 1999.

Thanks to new support money for The Pineapple to develop new projects Sparwasser HQ*, at Torstrasse in former East Berlin, could open in June 2000. The initiators were myself and artist Lise Nelleman from Denmark. A fusion of ideas laid behind exhibitions, artist talks and events. What started as a gallery project turned out to be more like a club. From March 2002 until the autumn of 2005 The Pineapple was joint owner of the cooperative owned Galleri ID:I in Stockholm. Here was presented among others the 10-point course at the Malmö Art Academy "The exhibition space as a tool for artistic practice" with myself as the tutor and The Pineapple Videobar which was lunched during 2005. One year earlier, in March 2004, the CD-rom gallery "Spaceless" was published with a release party at the digital gallery Electrohype in Malmö. "Spaceless" was an examination of the digital exhibition space in the size of a CD-rom disc. At that time the activities of The Pineapple had been without a permanent physical space since 2001 and was now working more like an operative platform with running productions of exhibitions, collaboration projects, events and new media nationally and out in Europe. The Pineapple Videobar, which was a mobile video platform, run until spring 2007 with video screenings among others at Malmö Konsthall, Dunkers Kulturhus, Supermarket at Konstnärshuset in Stockholm and Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin. At European Social Forum in Malmö 2008 a huge program was presented containing exhibition, film, video program, Latin american music, tango, performance and a micro-economic workshop. In the workshop was included a minor mapping of biological farmers in Skåne in the south of Sweden. It was an attempt to get knowledge about their economical strategies in comparison with giants as Sony Ericsson. At the same time The Pineapple Testsite run an ecological cultivation trial in an allotment garden which today is surrounded by "the new Malmö". This means new and even bigger shopping centers, a gigantic arena, the train to Copenhagen, parking places and soon an enormous event park. That area was earlier one of the most fertile in the whole of Sweden. During 2008 we also made bus tours with young immigrant kids from the youth recreation center of Flamman (the Flame) in one of Malmö's bigger suburbs. When we made an excursion to the sculpture Nimis we even met the artist himself Lars Vilks who today is under guard by the police because of a homicide threat.

Between 1998 and 2006 The Pineapple was run by myself and Bjørn Wangen, Norwegian artist living in Malmö. In 2004 we reorganized into an association with board members. Magnus Denker (photographer), Bjørn Wangen (artist), Cecilia Wendt (artist) och Annika Wiström (curator) and myself. Later also Lena Mattsson (artist) joined as member of the board. Our different exhibitions during the years have showed a lot more than 300 artists. 2003 I got the Dynamo Award from the Arts Grants Committee in Sweden for my engagement in art and for developing the Swedish art scene. Finally I would like to Thank all the artists that have been participating in our different shows, all the visitors during the years, all foundations and institutions for economical support and to my colleagues that I have been collaborating together with. Thanks to Angelica Blomhage, Gotlands Konstmuseum and Per Björklund, technician at the Travelling Exhibitions in Sweden for the realization of this retrospective exhibition of The Pineapple archives.

Today The Pineapple stands in a crossroad; either shut down or carry on with a new project.

Have Fun!

Torbjörn Limé

Artist and director of the Gotland School of Art. Founder of The Pineapple Project Room

*Jürgen Sparwasser was the football player of the National team of East Germany who made the winning goal against West Germany in the World Championship of football 1974. It was the only
time that DDR won over BRD..