The ingenuity of man’s creativity is no better embodied than by artistic creation that seduces all his sensibilities, drawing artists into infinite possibilities and plausibility in techniques, mediums, themes and inspirations; and thus us into seamlessly uncharted wanderings through the art makers’ sublimely convoluted imaginings.
Your Living City poses this question: have the artworks being displayed in this pick of exhibitions been as reflective of this ongoing development of man’s endless originality?
Artist: Tomas Lidén
Exhibition: Photo Chemical Weapons
Where: Galleri Hera, Hornsgatan 36
When: 21 January to 8 February
By chance Tomas Lidén discovered a new way to evoke images on light-sensitive photographic paper, without the need for camera photos or darkroom: he could make pictures by just adding the photographic chemical developer and fixer directly on the paper in normal lighting – partially with different concentrations, for different lengths of time, and with different dilution.
When he experimented painting the chemicals directly into the paper with a brush, the picture painted out; and responded to the paper’s sensitivity too! Brushing with the developer as the light darkened made picture making a gradual process, while strong sunlight correspondingly speeds this up. Brushing with the fixative either stops the process and preserves the lighter areas, or reverses it; making the dark parts brighter.
To control the process completely is fraught with difficulty as the variables are many: the liquids are thin and flows, the paper gets wet and buckles. Even the paper and fluids’ age plays a big role, along with the amount of light in the room.
This combination of control and lack thereof fascinates Lidén with the impossibility of doing exactly as he wants.
Artist: Roland Haeberlein
Exhibition: disorderly order
Where: CANDYLAND, Gotlandsgatan 76
When: 20 January to 12 February
“We have seen social order destroy themselves, we never set ourselves in the ranks. We were anti-authoritarian, conscientious objectors and anarchists,” shares the Munich-born and Stockholm-based Roland Haeberlein.
Having sought happiness among the most insignificant things – the heaps of ruins lining the roads to school – with boyish curiosity, he uses pieces in new roles in his handily painted wood collaged sculptures; impractically assembled in freedom, justice and above all art!
In his swarm of small vital, born-again things of Felfostrade and Sanctimonious heroes, books and chairs, in which chance, humor and magic are given free rein, the quick to call and happily argumentative Haeberlein fondly expounds Schwitters and Siri Derkert, Goethe‘s color theory and Kandinsky while quoting Kropotkin, Bakunin or Rodin‘s will, or singing Brecht and sharing Peter Weiss’ grieving courage – das wehleidige.
In their Atheistic biblical motifs and Yiddish theater, he “builds… furniture pieces (by) looking (at) rhyming words… (with) color and glue bind(ing) together the verse”.
Artist: Niki Lindroth von Bahr
Exhibit: Min Börda*
Where: Stene Projects, Brunnsgatan 21B
When: Till 11 February
* My Burden, 2017 video
An artist and animation director based in Stockholm, Niki Lindroth von Bahr’s films “Bath House” (2014) and “Tord & Tord” (2010) have been screened at big festivals around the world, like Berlinale, Sundance and Annecy.
“Tord & Tord” was also nominated as Best Short film at Guldbaggegalan, the main Swedish film award, and won the Grand Prix of Fredrikstad Animation Festival – both in 2011.
With her newly minted master degree in fine art at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm in last year’s spring, she freelances as a prop-maker and animator for film and theatre as well.
Her new third film – an animated in-stop-motion-technique dystopian musical – will also premiere early this year at the Nordic Animation Forum.
Artist: Klara Kristalova
Where: Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Fredsgatan 12
When: Till 12 February
* The Castle
Having established herself as one of Sweden’s most successful artists with exhibitions in galleries and museums around the world over the recent decade, Klara Kristalova’s Galleri Magnus Karlsson-specific installation is a mixture of tower, mountain and body; displaying a collection of ceramic sculptures holding associations and reflections of our society and personal inner life.
Concurrently on show is a wall of her works in various materials, be it textiles, drawing, watercolor, relief and smaller jewelry-like objects in silver – all enhancing her exhibition’s theme.
Exhibition: 30th Becker Scholar Exhibition
Where: Färgfabriken, Lövholmsbrinken 1
When: 28 January to 12 March
With Becker’s artist scholarship turning 30 this year, the exhibition is a collection by all artists who have received its grant since its inception in 1987.
With Anna Camner as 2017’s grant recipient, the previous include Tomas Lundgren (2016), Julia Bondesson (2015), David Molander (2014), Sara Moller (2013), Elin Behrens (2012), Maria Nordin (2011), Maurits Ylitalo (2010), Per Mårtensson (2009), Ulrika Sparre (2008), Frederick Hofwander (2007), Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg (2006), Albin Karlsson (2005), Patric Larsson (2004), Magnus Larsson (2003), Annika Larsson (2002), Christian Partos (2001), Linn Fernström (2000), Jockum Nordstrom (1999), Thomas Karlsson (1998), Peter Geschwind (1998), Karin Wikstrom (1997), Peter Ojstersek (1996), Richard G. Carlsson (1996), Maria Lindberg (1995), Karin Granqvist & Ingela Johansson (1994), Johan Widen (1993), Ulf Rollof (1992), Anders Widoff (1991), Mats Caldeborg (1990), Annette Senneby (1989), Dan Wolgers (1989), Mikael Ericsson (1988) and Kent Karlsson (1987).
The scholarship continues its aim of supporting new voices on the Swedish art scene, having for years identified a number of prominent and pioneering artists. This year’s exhibition is therefore a piece of contemporary Swedish art history.
Artists & Exhibition: KG Nilson & Bo Gånarp
Where: Grafiska Sällskapet*, Hornsgatan 6
When: Till 1 February
* The Graphic Society
Beginning the society’s new show year are Karl Gustaf Nilson’s serigraphs and objects based on geometric compositions, and Bo Gånarp’s drypoint embroidery and geometric botanical works that contrast both these subjects.
Having worked as professor of graphic arts at the Academy of Fine Arts and taught color theory at the College of Arts, Nilson is primarily regarded as a graphic artist and has created colorful geometric compositions, after translating Josef Albers’ “Interaction of Colours” and getting out his own book “Color Theory” in 1982.
His motifs have evolved: from maps – of roads, water pipes, islands, houses with hexagonal conical roofs and the like, to Concretism characters in the 1980s, to multicolored triangles forming surface-covering patterns – with image dynamics occurring as diamonds and more shapes forming as the painting is read, to scores with staff lines, circles and squares, to a return to maps in the 2000s, to new designs in the present.
Having trained in the fine arts in the 1980s, Bo Gånarp’s works have been represented by various local Swedish governments, the Vasteras Art Museum, the National Public, and people Husrörelsen, collected by Stockholm’s Karolinska Hospital’s Sthlms County Council, and exhibited at Stockholm’s Gallery Eva Solin, Green Palette Gallery and Galleri Engström, Linköping’s GalleriX4, and Uppsala Art Museum.
Artist: David Åberg
Where: Christian Larsen, Hudiksvallsgatan 8
When: Till 18 February
As a butterfly in its development stage as a pupa, the chrysalis is an embodiment of potential, an image of a yet unfulfilled transformation into life and beauty. And hence, an apt focal point of David Åberg’s art – thematically, philosophically as well as the purely technical.
Sculpting the non-existing, virtual shapes and bodies moving freely in a non-gravitational digital space, his chisel is the computer, where material aspects can be reduced to arithmetic.
As the swift development of digital tools increasingly blurs perceived boundaries between our reality and virtual reality, and the movie and video games industries continue to push these limits, his work achieves such photorealism, down to the zoomed in minute details, we can no longer know for certain when to distinguish between what is real and what is not.
His sculptures also represent trans-humanistic notions of the relationship between man and machines, where only the fantastic still distinguishes us from them, echoing our increasing engagement in digital fantasies as we recreate ourselves online, as avatars.
With the possibility of concepts like Artificial Intelligence and singularity making us thoroughly reconsider the nature of our own human sense of self in the near future looming, his works typify a world where illusions of reality can only be exposed through the use of algorithms: perhaps the only way total honesty is to be unambiguously present, is by going beyond creating worlds and characters that could coexist with us, and simultaneously get under our skin?
Artist: Lovisa Ringborg
Exhibition: Night Remains
Where: Cecilia Hillström Gallery, Hälsingegatan 43
When: Till 18 February
In this photographic exhibition, Lovisa Ringborg continues to explore dreamlike states where the boundaries between reality and fiction are blurred, by composing carefully arranged elements to convey a sense of metamorphosis.
As in “Fountain”, where water is captured in a frozen moment; bearing the potential for transformation, the works in “Night Remains” allow the distant to become proximate, the familiar to become uncanny.
Guided by intuition, the post-production phase is essential to achieve the expression Ringborg strives for. With an unusual ability to capturing an ambiguous inner world, she is pointing to the power of the subconscious, leaving us with a feeling of uncertainty and wonder.
“Although echoes of several periods in art history resound in Lovisa Ringborg’s works, the leading impulse is not about other images at all; but rather about creating images from scratch, of something more shapeless. The inner life becomes a source – providing the same meaningful and simple gravitas that once gave rise to the myths,” shares art critic and writer Katia Miroff.
Artist: Hertha Hanson
Exhibition: The past is never dead. It is not even past
Where: Annaellegallery, Karlavägen 15B
When: Till 19 February
In Hertha Hanson’s new series of abstract paintings that embrace their physical form, layers converge into dense patches of saturation, while vanishing traces dart across the canvases. The paint is applied to create space, movement and rhythm on the surface. Broad strokes of color move dynamically across the canvas, forming bodies of color resembling vegetative forms.
Comprising canvases of varying scale, size and color, with visible brushstrokes revealing her hand, the brush and palette knife are thus not only tools, but an extension of the body; making the paintings become active time capsules of their own creation, increasingly reinventing themselves toward their complex spatiality.
Artist: Ian McKeever
Exhibition: Paintings and Painted Panels
Where: Galleri Andersson/Sandström, Hudiksvallsgatan 6
When: Till 18 February
Pioneering British abstract painter Ian McKeever’s two convergent series of works, “Hours of Darkness – Hours of Light” and “Henge”, boldly display his acute sensibility of light and space.
Created in 2014 after he was invited to exhibit at Kunst-Station Sankt Peter, a large Jesuit church in Cologne, Germany, his approach in the “Hours of Darkness – Hours of Light” series is experimental, exploring new methods to propel his senses deeper into the process of painting. Choosing to start by taking fragments of his own “abandoned” paintings, he re-worked and activated them by adhering them onto wooden panels; changing their histories, and creating something quite new and beautiful; revealing his persistent interest in what is possible with a painting, be it its ability to emit a presence of light or its ability to absorb it.
In his human size diptych “Henge” series, he reflects upon the architecture of Neolithic stone circles and earthworks found near his home in Southwest of England, with each half suggesting a physical weight or a lightness, an openness or a closed off feeling. Much like “Hours of Darkness – Hours of Light”, they strongly express his ability to suggest space and structure within its own medium. Hence, a wonderful thing happens when standing in front of these works: their layers and colors shift in space, appearing to inhale and exhale while becoming transcendent.
McKeever says, “In painting a painting one does not set out to paint what one knows, but rather tries to touch those things which one does not know and which perhaps cannot be known.”
Artist: Sara Möller
Where: Domeij Gallery AB, Luntmakargatan 52
When: Till 11 February
Nature itself is embodied in Sara Möller’s latest sculptures: water, moss, trees, roots, organisms, decay, buds and organs are some of the words that emerge when we look at her art – unfathomable moss green glazed ceramic turning forcefully; flowing out in organic forms imbued with strange protrusions or openings. Incorporating materials, like feathers, cloth and fur, the ones with rope and wood penetrate or wrap around her ceramics, just like ancient totems with secret magical messages in native art; forcefully breathing untamed nature’s sensuality.
As two-dimensional renditions of her sculptures, her watercolours form puddles in the paper like amoebas under a microscope, or networks of arteries permeating internal organs; all without a map and compass in unknown terrain, convincing us of being lost and needing once again to find our way.
Photo and information credits: The respective galleries