We welcome in 2017 with a selection of art exhibitions that bear foremost in the mind how many of us customarily kick-start each new year – making a list of resolutions.
The artworks are, thus, those inspired by determinations of what artistically and personally to embrace and what not to; tapping on the art makers’ instinctive affinity for the land – natural or otherwise -, its people and their lifestyles; along with bringing to bear on their visual creations their additional skills and talents that are beyond the artistic.
Exhibition: Among Islets and Skerries
Artist: Axel Sjöberg
Where: Sven-Harrys Konstmuseum, Eastmansvägen 10–12
When: Till 12 February
Having begun his life on Skeppsholmen, where the Stockholm archipelago begins, Axel Sjöberg eventually settled in Vira bruk in Roslagen – his mother’s hometown, given his fondness for the skerries, its people and lifestyle.
Working at the General Staff’s printing institution, he learned how to make illustrated lithographs for magazines and books to pay for his study at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. But he did not become a graphic artist: printing became forever associated with having to earn a living.
One exception was his published book of texts and illustrations, “Among Islets and Skerries”, in 1900, after living some years on the islands of Sandhamn and Långviksskär, where he had acquired houses and a studio. Both nature and the people, who daily fished, hunted and farmed in the archipelago, were of such equal importance to him, he became the foremost portrayer of scenes from their harsh life in the outer islets.
To capture his visual impressions as quickly as possible, he became an extremely skilled water colourist; his artistic documentation echoing August Strindberg’s literary stories set in the archipelago.
But he, and only he alone, also captured on canvas his other life long fascination – that of mountains and alpine wildlife, allowing the majestic scenery, untouched by human activity, to speak for itself.
Exhibition: Toys “R” Us
Artist: Louise Enhörning
Where: Loyal Gallery, Kammakargatan 68
When: Till 7 January
A Swedish photographer, Louise Enhörning’s move to Paris really kick started her artistic career; with works exploring her close relationships with her subjects, as well as with the physical environment – all broaching still life, abstraction, portraiture and landscape with the same sensitivity.
After a decade in Paris, Enhörning looked to the natural landscapes of her native country for a new body of work. Instead she found inspiration in the unlikely setting of a suburban shopping mall car park. In these “Toys’R’Us” images amongst the coloured metal, the plastic and the grit, the cars transcend their innate ordinariness to demonstrate the symbiosis of man with his man-made environment.
“Toys’R’Us” is Enhörning’s third book as well, following “Swedish Girls: A Tribute” – her first, published in 2014, and her “Closer” in 2015.
Exhibition: Site no. 16 Trail
Artist: Gustaf Nordenskiöld
Where: Stene Projects, Brunnsgatan 21B
When: Till 14 January
A Stockholm-based artist, designer and curator, Gustaf Nordenskiöld‘s ceramic works deal with issues of natural forces and archaeological investigations in the present. Visible method – along with an interest in the function and interaction between man and the collection of objects – are central, alongside their use, materiality, status and value.
Often he lets the manufacturing process become part of the finished work, leaving traces of it in the object, as a memory of its making. By using the random and the controlled in a procedure, he makes work that raises questions about its being and creation.
His method-oriented ceramics can, therefore, take its expression in an object or in a documented performance.
Exhibition: Winter Show 2016
Artists: Amy Feldman, Ditte Ejerskov, Ellisif Hals, Hanna Ljungh, Hans Jörgen Johansen, Johan Nobell, Leontine Arvidsson, Olof Inger, Oskar Hult & Simon Debree
Where: Annaellegallery, Karlavägen 15 B
When: 10 to 15 January
From artists based in the north Americas to within the length and breadth of Sweden, their diverse range of artworks span from windows into nature’s unconsciously primordial world – appearing as objects in shadowy landscapes, and biomorphic forms – to explorations of the paradoxical qualities of spontaneity and restraint playful and intimate gestures of human experience; simultaneously deliberate and whimsical within an ongoing process of invention and discovery, where organic forms, fabric, smears, scratches and scribbles form spaces between language and the pictorial.
Artist: Lena Nemes
Where: CandyLand, Gotlandsgatan 76
When: Till 15 January
A designer, milliner, costume designer and set designer, Lena Nemes’ 6 watercolours on paper and 2 embroideries on fabric proffer colours applied with a fine brush, as well as patches and stitches sewn side by side; forming stylized images of the characters generally used to distinguish words from one another and to create readable sentences where punctuations indicate direction and rhythm. Her pictures, thus, offer more interpretations than the written language’s defining limitations. Freed from words and regaining ambiguity, her images’ colours, shapes and frequencies of light formulate a language that speaks to us in ways we only necessarily need time to comprehend.
Her 2 sculptures in various types of wood, metal and textile materials embed within their flowers shapes of a mathematical poetry embodied in her paintings and embroideries as well. As the images of flowers explain themselves, no words are needed to read their petals.
Artist: Klara Kristalova
Where: Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Fredsgatan 12
When: 14 January to 12 February
Relating to a sculpture tradition that has its roots in several hundred years of history, Klara Kristalova is a storyteller who uses the sculpture’s plasticity to build small micro worlds, where something peculiar has just happened or is about to.
Having acquired a higher artistic education in the late 80s and early 90s – during a period when modernism was seriously challenged – her works, however, never show any tendency towards a programmatically motivated spirit of revolt; owing to the fact that her father was Eugen Krajcik, a Czech artist in exile with an anything but dogmatic attitude towards the conventions of modern art, and Kristalova’s own consistent ambition to lower the highbrow tone inherent in most artistic expressions.
So the Swedish-based Czech steers clear of the rhetorical aspects of art; instead dealing with small narratives, dreams and nightmares that punctuate the invisible part of our daily existence, where our expectations take shape, and where neuroses bloom and memories mutate.
This often results in her work acquiring a bizarre, slightly unsettling quality, compelling us to come face to face with the physical embodiment of our own inner demons.
Artist: Jonas Falck
Where: Galleri Eklund, Karlavägen 15
When: 14 January to 4 February
A Swedish photographer and biologist, Jonas Falck may like taking portraits and other photos, but his main passion is wildlife photography.
Falck explains, ”There [are] plenty of great photographers out there, catching moments of beauty. My vision is to learn from them and produce something extra when I can. I do this by taking on new challenges, trying [my] ideas… while making sure what is best for nature comes first.”
Although Falck travels round the world, many of the exhibited photographs are lovingly taken in Uppsala, Sweden, where he sublimely lives.
Photo and information credits: The respective galleries and artists.