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Artistic Queries Worth Meditating On

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As the previous art exhibitions picked raised more questions than offered answers, the current listed selection of shows eclectically broadens the ‘interrogations’.

Within the sphere of innovation, they query language’s limitations in defining abstraction and if that could diminish our pleasure in the abstract. They make us conscious of how our perception changes when a well-loved medieval tale has been artistically reworked, and they heighten our realisation that our enjoyment of one activity can profoundly influence our creative output in another.

On matters pertaining to the cultural, they wonder of ways our assimilated lenses define home, impact the extent animals figure within our consciousness, and consequently determine how we differ ourselves from them.

In their reference to the psychological, we are drawn to muse on how upbringing affects our view of isolation and loneliness; and perhaps its significance in defining our reactions to what gets us fed up.

Lastly, but not the least, they dwell on the micro and macro cosmological physics and esoteric bearing on our cognisance.

 

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Exhibition: The New Baroque
Artist: José León Cerrillo
Where: Andréhn-Schiptjenko, Hudiksvallsgatan 8
When: 4 May to 22 June 22

Mexican José León Cerrillo explores genuine abstraction’s possibilities through printed posters to drawings, diagrams, sculpture, installations and performance; concretizing the abstract as a series of failed forms; a void’s representation or language’s absence that inevitably points to certain contradictions in the way we think about abstraction.

“The New Baroque” offers the idea of serialization with a self-cannibalizing gesture to explore language’s limits as repetition; turning the void into an abyss of content as Cerrillo transforms the entire gallery space into a reflection upon itself and its history, revisiting it through memory as it were.

Pushing the concept of the site-specific, freestanding wall-elements are covered with overlaid images of his previous exhibition “The New Psychology”; creating multiple memories, meanings, shapes and repetitions, taking the event’s moment of perception and marking it; turning it into a symbol and returning it to literal flatness by doubling the sculptures as wallpaper, a monument in reverse.

 

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Exhibition: After Isaac van Amburgh and his Animals
Artist: Eva Marie Lindahl
Where: Stene Projects, Brunnsgatan 21B
When: 4 May to 3 June

Eva Marie Lindahl’s PhD research project “Reframing the Non Human Animal” at Edge Hill University in the United Kingdom is based within the interdisciplinary field of Critical Animal Studies, with one foot in contemporary art and the base in Malmö.

Part I explores how non-human animals are framed within culture and the physical, as well as ways of challenging them through artistic practice while re-drawing, re-sizing and re-writing classical oil paintings in which non-human animals participate primarily or even hidden materially in the artworks; using anthropomorphism as a tool for imagining new readings and voices from these animals.

Part II investigates the possibilities of a contemporary vegan art practice and the consequences it has in Lindahl and her co-workers’ own art production’s development in making the animals go from invisible to visible, to be accounted for and transformed into art material.

 

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Exhibition: Full Speed Ahead
Artist: Marianne Lindberg De Geer
Where: Färgfabriken, Lövholmsbrinken 1
When: 6 May to 26 November

Artist, playwright and director Marianne Lindberg De Geer’s large retrospective exhibition of MLDG’s paintings, films, sculptures, collages and audio works also involves her as a playwright and as an active voice in contemporary debate sparked by these artworks.

So her work “I am thinking of myself” portrays her naked as an anorectic body and as an over weight one – the latter a sculpture that has been the target of vandalism several times. Its hundreds of collages have her placed as Jesus, Freud, Palme, Mona Lisa, etcetera, etcetera, in historical situations, changing the images’ meanings.

“There is no longer a basic security. There is no hidden agenda of invisible confidence. MLDG activates the angry, desperate and despairing ugliness that is not easily replaced by the expensive order of beauty and quality when you are fed up. The people you meet in her art and drama are exposed, there are no golden parachutes,” said Aase Berg in the prologue to Five plays in 2012.

“For thirty years, Marianne Lindberg De Geer has been touching and upsetting people with her… luminous oeuvre – one of Sweden’s at once the most consistent and unpredictable… [Her] popularity easily obscures the fact that much of what she has done have also been controversial,” said Dan Jönsson, DN in 2010.

 

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Group Exhibition: KOMMANDE UTSTÄLLNING – LJUS
Where: Konsthantverkarna, Södermalmstorg 4
When: Till 23 May

What is light? What are the possible interpretations? These twenty-one artisan members translate that philosophical question into artistically conceptual ideas, with tangible materials molded into a vast myriad of distinctive shapes:

Anna C “ConnieSellsFlorida” Hultberg

Anna Fjällbäck

Anna Rutz

Ann-Britt “Amba” Haglund

Anne Carlquist

AnneLouise Messing

Ann Karlholm

Ann Louise Gustavsson

Charlotta Eidenskog

Hubert Hydman

Jenny Edlund

Karin Jaxelius

kina Björklund

Mia Fkih Mabrouk

Niklas Ejve

Pamela Wilson

Petra Thorgren

Sara Nermansdotter

Sven Möller

Ulla Carlsson

Yoko Yamano

 

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Exhibition: Gesamtkunst with Myself
Artist: Constance Tenvik
Where: LOYAL, Kammakargatan 68
When: Till 27 May

In a video of three acts that emerges beyond as paintings and sculptures, the adaptation of the tragic medieval tale of Tristan and Isolde’s love is played out by New York-based Norwegian Constance Tenvik taking on schizophrenically multiple personalities – including director, disco interlude, sailors, a hunter with a trumpet, the ship, the sky, a servant, as well as the ghost and lover from the past – with the dialogue enacted through the objects in the room and sound, rather than being bound together by verbal dialogue.

The plot:

Rather than Isolde being a princess known for her magical healing powers, Tenvik’s take renders her with a witch-like complexity and mysticism that is interrupted by the irrationalities of love as she tries to poison herself and Tristan after his efforts in hiding his passions for her is taken so far she wallows in misery. Fortunately, her maid exchanges her poison with a love potion to heighten the passion between the Breton nobleman and the Irish princess. Unfortunately, when Tristan is severely wounded, Isolde’s healing powers become reversed; with Tristan so over excited to see her it hastens his death in her arms, which catalyzes her decision to die too.

 

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Exhibition & artist: Mattias Frogemar
Where: Galleri Hera, Hornsgatan 36
When: Till 10 May

People and animals in Mattias Frogemar’s paintings move in a surreal environment where nothing can be taken for granted; raising both admiration and amazement.

“My paintings in acrylic and oil are often inspired by [the] theater and circus, and I like to make portraits of fictional actors – sorrowful, pathetic and comical. [All] watched with dramatic sceneries. I am fascinated by artists, [along with] the conflict between their driving forces and the difficulties [experienced] in being constantly judged. I am looking for my motives at the intersections of reality’s role performances and the estrader’s art; [with] themes [of] open landscapes, skies, clouds and ancient farming landscapes,” shares Frogemar.

 

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Exhibition: Secret Life
Artist: Kristoffer Axén
Where: Domeij Gallery AB, Luntmakargatan 52
When: Till 13 May

Kristoffer Axén‘s image-world expands to include new works on paper and paintings into his otherwise exclusively photographic oeuvre, tied together by his obsession with human isolation and loneliness – an idyll attached to childhood, where a darkness surrounds the landscapes, the interiors and the often hidden or distorted faces, and where figures exist in a vacuum, sealed in their own worlds in a place between dream and reality.

The essential here is not with any specifics, like the ’who, where and what’, but the gravity lies with the suggestive atmosphere that veils Axén’s image-world – the underlying, the not visible.

As such moods constantly search where that which drives us is that which never allows for rest, while looking for light, for nature – hard and silent, for fear of sickness and loss, for memory as comfort; all shared human conditions anchored in the deeply personal.

 

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Exhibition: Beyond / Beyond
Artist: Madeleine Aleman
Where: Candyland, Gotlandsgatan 76
When: Till 14 May

Madeleine Aleman’s “Beyond/Beyond” shows a series of charcoal drawings and cartoons directly after meditation, while an audio file reads her ‘inner journeys’ that preceded the signing; all accompanied by more equally meditatively written texts and charcoal sketches as inspiration – this time by art students in her studio. Hence she dialogues in a hypnagogic state with her performance art to put coal on paper, which in turn converses with the art school students’ texts written after she has taught them Terry Evans’s meditation technique; making the method, process, and exploration central to the exhibition.

With its origins in a lecture at the Para Psychological Society in Stockholm in 2016, the drawings in the suite “Axis Mundi / Berlin” hence investigates contemporary brain research in China, where researcher Evans has found that a medium’s mind achieves the same brain waves previously measured in Tibetan monks during meditation. After a meditative course at Evans’s training center, Mountain Meditation, Aleman used the brain technique to sign, back off, adjust and discard the charcoal sketches in this exhibition.

 

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Exhibition: In Put Out Put
Artist: Olof Inger
Where: ANNAELLEGALLERY, KARLAVÄGEN 15 B
When: Till 21 May

Olof Inger’s new sculptures and paintings arise from his observation of our bodies’ and their surroundings’ constantly rotating and pulsating forces, with the fundamental property of channeling energy – like bodies and antennas.

Shaped and stitched out of material found in sport and sport facilities, Inger uses his personal history to create the sculptures, which in turn drive his paintings to embody motion of energy and the relationship between body orifices and structures, with colors representing external and internal parts as well as the interaction between these two. Round shapes demonstrate the entry and exit points of the body – all connected to external energy factors, and we are beings of energy and vibration, as small bodies of a greater universe.

 

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Exhibition: Städer som badar i svart och vitt
Artist: Karolina Nolin
Where: Galleri Bergman, Sturegatan 32
When: Till 6 May

Karolina Nolin’s paints what inspires her – walking the streets in different small and big cities, and attending many equally diverse art exhibitions. And in ways similar to how she uses a cookbook; taking a recipe and adding or leaving ingredients out to create her own twists; personalizing her food in the process.

Hence she throws out the rules to turn the monotype technique she uses into a technology that combines with her style – a monotype / mix technology, with black and white grounds infused with a lot of colour; rendering her for-adult pictures with a children’s boxing illustration.

 

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Exhibition: Ett hem
Artist: Jenny Granlund
Where: Galleri Charlotte Lund, Johannes plan 5
When: 4 May to 21 June

Departing from her usual oeuvre of monumental drawings in pencil on paper, where meticulous patterns spread and interweave infinitely with each other, Jenny Granlund has embarked on a series of ink drawings illustrating the home she grew up in, with flowing patterns replaced by figurative imagery that retains the same richness of detail; charting room after room, with nooks, crannies and typical time-specific interiors.

So peek in through the windows of a spacious family household in the 1970s or 1980s, and wonder about what we perceive of the daily life that goes on here among the generous furnishings and boldly patterned wallpaper. And in turn muse: What is a home? What does it want to present, or hide? Who and what determines whether it is a home or not?

 

Photos and information credits: The respective galleries and artists

About Wai Lin Coultas

Wai Lin Coultas
Wai Lin is a Singaporean married to an Australian. Besides being mad about putting her own twists and fusions into recipes from diverse continents, she spends her time writing and subbing for an Aussie newspaper as well as covering the contemporary arts scene in Singapore as a gallery docent and online reviewer. She and her hubby love Stockholm's exciting arts and culture, along with the food and wine it offers.

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