Gallerist Q&A - Public Service Gallery

In this series, we talk to the founders and directors of leading galleries from across the Nordics. Meet Aleksandar Stojanovski and Peter Gerdman from Public Service Gallery to hear about the personal stories behind them becoming gallerists, and the principles they work by

Image of Aleksandar Stojanovski, Axel Söderberg & Peter Gerdman from Public Service Gallery

Courtesy of Public Service Gallery

How did you get into art - what were your previous work experiences?

Art has always been an important part of our lives – we are lucky that it grew from an early-age interest into a deep passion, and eventually into our day-to-day profession. We have different backgrounds, including banking, research, art market analytics and entrepreneurship, as well as professional experience from different countries - this all contributes to how we have conceived of runing the gallery.

Can you tell me about the first artwork you sold? Your first exhibition?

Public Service Gallery opened in Stockholm in January 2023, with a solo exhibition by the wonderful Danish artist – who we are happy to call a dear friend since - Oliver Sundqvist. His bold, colourful and over-the-top sculptures inhabited the entire gallery space. We were proud and humbled by how well this exhibition was received, which exceeded even our most optimistic expectations. The works ended up with both seasoned collectors as well as first time art buyers, which was an inspiring start for our new gallery.

Installation view from 'Symphony Hour' by Oliver Sundqvist. Public Service Gallery's first exhibition in 2023

Courtesy of the artist and Public Service Gallery. Photo by Pierre Björk

How would you describe your job title? What are your primary responsibilities as gallerists and to whom?

I suppose we are more or less like any other new gallery, part-time gallery director and part-time handyman. Our primary responsibilities though lie with our artists, our collectors, and our community. Our aim is to handle business transparently and respectfully, in a supportive and nurturing environment.

How do you balance the commercial aspects of running a gallery with supporting artists’ artistic careers and practices?

Linking back to the previous question about our primary responsibilities as gallerists; it is at times a hard balancing act. Everything starts with the artists, and we try to do everything we can to help them further their careers. This is our central goal.

Artist Gianni Politi and Caterina Antonaci, together with curator Edoardo Monti at the opening of 'Disrupted Harmony', curated by Edoardo at Public Service

Courtesy of Public Service Gallery. Photo by Peter Gerdman

What makes your gallery stand out/unique?

We’re not a mononym-based gallery; there are no surnames on our front door. We think that has given each of us the ability to bring our strengths to the partnership. Central to the gallery, from its very inception, was the idea to bring exciting voices and conversations from around the world and introduce them to a Scandinavian audience, be it from Prospect Park in Brooklyn to the Aurelian Walls in Rome. Public Service aims to be a meeting place for artists, art lovers and the wider art community in Stockholm.

What is your advice for someone who wants to start collecting? What are some do’s and don’ts for collectors?

We would encourage everyone with an interest in art to visit galleries and interact with artists when possible - to take the time to discover one own’s visual aesthetic or conceptual drive. It is important to be happy to live with an artwork, and remember that one collector’s motivation might not resonate with another’s – so, in a nutshell, to follow one’s own eye and taste, and take the time to develop this by seeing as much as possible, both at public institutions and commercial spaces. Then: start small. Buy what you like and look at smaller sized works on paper for instance. It’s a wonderful medium that typically has a lower starting price compared to canvases. Trust us, it will very likely be your most prized possessions in the future.

Image of a friend of the gallery wearing Public Service tote and t-shirt

Courtesy of Public Service Gallery. Photo by Aleksandar Stojanovski

How do you navigate the balance between the physical gallery space and online presence in today's art world? How do you see the relationship between galleries and artists evolving in the future?

We are first and foremost a brick-and-mortar gallery and believe the experience of seeing an artwork physically can never be compared to its digital equivalent. However, as it is necessary in today’s world, we do maintain an active presence across certain channels and some collectors have found their way to us this way. Similarly, we must admit to having discovered interesting artists through various online platforms.

If you were to open a gallery space in a new city - where would it be?

This is a constantly changing topic of conversation at Public Service, and while we have big dreams for the gallery with other venues in the future, we are primarily focused on solidifying our presence in Stockholm for now. However, if we are allowed to dream big, I would say that we are currently thinking most about either Paris or NYC. That might change a few times before we get there though. Perhaps we might go somewhere even sunnier and warmer (as we are doing this interview on a cold and rainy day in Stockholm).

Exterior view of Public Service Gallery

Courtesy of Public Service Gallery

"We are first and foremost a brick-and-mortar gallery and believe the experience of seeing an artwork physically can never be compared to its digital equivalent."

Aleksandar Stojanovski & Peter Gerdman

Directors of Public Service Gallery

Established in 2022, Public Service Gallery has quickly become a cornerstone in Stockholm's art scene. Located in a former bank in central Stockholm, the gallery is dedicated to shape an innovative program with a global outlook, showcasing the most exciting early to mid-career international artists from around the world to a Scandinavian audience.

Image of the Public Service Gallery founders Aleksandar Stojanovski, Axel Söderberg & Peter Gerdman.

Photo by Pierre Björk