open form is a nomadic open studio platform founded in Athens in 2017 by Denise Araouzou. open form invites artists to reinterpret the concept of the open studio by engaging in conversation with an audience about their processes, methodologies, references and sources of inspiration without a finished work on display. Instead of focusing on the exhibition of objects, open form approaches the artist’s practice as an immaterial organism, constantly adapting and responding to external stimuli, while fundamental interests and processes remain intact to feed more ideas. Each artist approaches open form differently however a common denominator in each case is the interaction with the public. 

open form is directly inspired by the work of Polish architect Oskar Hansen who established and developed the philosophy of Open Form. At the International Congress of Modern Architecture (CIAM) held in Otterlo in 1959 Hansen proposed the idea of open architecture; friendly, inclusive and adaptable to its users, as opposed to the closed form architecture of Le Corbusier. Open Form was devised as a series of apparatuses to be applied to architecture but extend to urban development, design, society and art as well. Open Form’s objective was to create links between existing human activities, their flux and their setting, while simultaneously responding and adapting to and for them. For example, Hansen envisioned the museum as a flexible and adjustable structure that evolves together with the unpredictable and mutable qualities of art practices. Hansen was also a professor at the Sculpture Department of the Art Academy in Warsaw and conducted workshops, set exercises and organised events that centred around the concept of Open Form. His aim was to encourage his students to reconsider their subjectivity, their practices and the invisible limits exercised on architecture, society and art. In 1952 he created his own curriculum as part of the Solids and Planes Studio (initially at the Faculty of Interior Design under Jerzy Sołtan), and from 1955 he did the same at the Faculty of Sculpture. 

For example, Polish sculptor Przemyslaw Kwiek studied under Hansen and methodically documented successive formal and material transformations of his sculptural work. At the centre of his projects was his recognition of the documentation of the process as the work itself. Axel Wieder and Florian Zeyfang explain in Open Form, Space, Interaction, and the Tradition of Oskar Hansen: “In many works from this period, there is no clear separation between documentation and work of art; instead the works open a tense field in which the visual space and the space of the physical environment are questioned in relationship to each other.” [1] 

Considering Hansen’s rejection of the hierarchical relation between artist and recipient, open form asks that artists instead of relying on their work to speak on their behalf, to communicate directly with their audience. open form has taken Hansen’s theory as a frame of reference in order to construct this nomadic platform. Nevertheless, open form always considers the context wherein it takes place and the hospitality that is demonstrated by the artist to welcome both friends and strangers into their practice and into a space of discussion where they are asked questions and listen to feedback on their work.

The studio could be perceived as an extension of the artist’s ideas, visions, illusions and hallucinations into the physical realm. Often it is a transitory space that can take numerous forms, constantly in flux between the digital, the cerebral and the physical variants of itself. open form defines the studio in loose terms and welcomes the individual artists’ interpretation of it. The overall intention of open form is to create in-between (third) spaces, outside strictly art-affiliated spaces, where these conversations can take place and open up to people who are not exclusively within the art scene of the city but come from different disciplines and can enrich discussions through other perspectives, languages and methodologies. For each event the location changes according to the concepts and needs of each artist. What remains as a guiding factor for open form is the transitory stage between physical space and headspace, between an idea and its physical outcome. 

[1] Axel Wieder, Florian Zeyfang, “Introduction,” Axel Wieder and Florian Zeyfang (eds.), Open Form, Space, Interaction, and the Tradition of Oskar Hansen, Sternberg Press: Berlin, 2014, p. 12.