Richard Dore is an artist based in Sweden.
In September 2013, Richard Dore had a residency in Fittja where he researched how we relate to kindness in the public sphere and conducted a series of repair workshops in the residence apartment. Richard participated in Fittja Open 2013.
Richard Dore is conducting a series of workshops before and during Fittja Open. You can get help with everything from sewing machines and bicycle repairs to getting your own portrait drawn and signed by the artist. Workshops are open to all.
Joanna Sandell: You have focused on the subject of kindness during your stay in Residence Botkyrka, why?
Richard Dore: Because kindness, something as basic as spontaneously helping your fellow human being, is something that is treated with scepticism in Sweden. Perhaps the thing is that people in Sweden somehow seem to make a connection between kindness and religion, and in Sweden atheism is pretty much what sets the agenda, at least on a superficial level. But I don’t think this truly reflects how people are in Sweden. In the nineties, when I was a Motorbike courier in England and used to deliver to wealthy people’s homes, I remember that I felt sorry for them, because they could not see the beautiful landscape because of the high walls surrounding their homes. At the time I lived in the stables of an abandoned house, but I remember feeling rich.
JS: So how did you approach this subject of kindness?
RD: I try things out on myself. For example, I asked someone to keep an eye on my bags when I went in to shop. And I go to people’s houses in order to fix their bikes or sewing machines. There is always someone in need of help when it comes to repairing a bike or a sewing machine. It is something that most people own and something that often needs to be repaired.
JS: This practice of yours is called “ social practice” within the field of contemporary art, but is it really art?
RD: I think it has a lot to do with the act in itself. When you’re doing a performance you might just be drinking a glass of water, but it is absolutely crucial how you do it and what issues are brought to mind in relation to the performance. In the same way, I want my actions to start a conversation regarding kindness and what else it might link to in philosophical terms.
JS: You have once said that an English artist from London is of interest to the Swedish art world, but not an English artist from Gothenburg, why is it so?
RD: I think it is a fear of the local and an over-reverence for that which is foreign, preferably American. People seem not to value what is already here on a local level. But things don’t need a stamp of approval in New York before they take root in Sweden. The human experience is here as well.