We are always glad that there is the cliché selection of summer art shows – the lovely, the colourful, the pleasant never ceases to delightfully surprise. And so there are a few galleries selected for just this very promise.
But then there are the exhibitions this summertime that unexpectedly amaze: one creatively displays how yards and yards of fabric can profoundly reflect history, protection, human presence and representation while the other turns the season’s truism on its head by inviting us to find beauty in the sinister.
The contrast between one artist’s determination to get back to the basics of light with photography and the internationally renowned other’s zeal to keep changing art movements lets the astonishment of the innovative discipline’s divergent extent blushingly sink into our consciousness.
And of course, where would we be if we have not the astounding novel forms of art that arise when video artists surrender ownership of their unused film footage to collaborators to creatively produce new masterpieces of their own, when art makers weave old portraits with contemporary backgrounds, and weave science fiction, along with superhero comics, with art theories and history?
Artists: Felice Hapetzeder, Marit Lindberg, Henrikslund Jørgensen & Kristina Kvalvik.
Where: SKF / Konstnärshuset, Smålandsgatan 7
When: Till 4 June
“Carousell” collaboratively broadens discussion by challenging the limits and preconceived notions of what contemporary video art can be through an exchange of archived unused video material amongst four Scandinavian video artists; amounting to letting go of one’s own footage and authorship to give each other carte blanche in producing something new.
Swede Felice Hapetzeder‘s work centers on lens-based practices of video and still image, with documentary’s departure points in life and history connected to personal experiences collaboratively gleaned with others, providing unexpected new entries to the artistic vision.
Norwegian Kristina Kvalvik deals with matters relating to surveillance, the inexplicable and the threatening by examining the limitations of sight and our ability to interpret what we see.
Denmark- and Sweden-based Henrik Lund Jørgensen employs photography and video to investigate notions of time, space and memory, while reflecting on cultural and social forms of representation. Conceived as a collage of images, texts and sounds unfolding layer upon layer, his video work subtly straddles uncertain boundaries between reality and fiction.
Swede Marit Lindberg often involves the intimate conversation in the public sphere, disclosing the hidden and elusive in dreams and memory.
Artist: Charlotte Hedberg
Exhibition: Photo triptychs “all the time”
Where: Galleri Eklund, Karlavagen 15
When: Till 3 June
Charlotte Hedberg’s works get women moving between the limits of the past and the present by setting classic portraiture images of ladies from old magazines and in museums against urban environments from the 2000s – be it a graffiti side of a building, an open door or a sun-drenched wall.
“The women’s looks are more important than their origin, they have a present absence that appeals to me. [And] the pictures themselves tell their story but using photographs from my travels in Europe, mainly Spain, Italy, France and Turkey created a new context for the viewer,” shares Hedberg.
Artist: Marcel Dzama
Exhibition: Revolution Blues
Where: Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Fredsgatan 12
When: Till 18 June
Though “Revolution Blues” comprises New York-based Marcel Dzama’s new works on paper, sculptures, collages and film, drawing is his artistry’s foundation; with his distinctive colored drawings of a fictitious United States, influenced by early superhero comics, science fiction and early Hollywood – all done in saturated shades, self-made fables, a surreal drama and black humor – giving him his breakthrough when he was a young artist.
As his more recent drawings become increasingly complex in imagery and content, his characters have evolved and the plot thickened with references to art history, Dadaism, surrealism, and to contemporary society; sometimes woven with fragments of text and quotes in the form of slogans and manifest, commenting on the current politics shrouding the United States and the World.
These threads are evident in Dzama’s film “A Jester’s Dance”, a Dadaist love story inspired by the fierce love affair between Marcel Duchamp and the Brazilian sculptor Maria Martins, the model of the former’s last great work “Étant donnés”.
Artist: Jean-Baptiste Béranger
Where: Cecilia Hillström Gallery, Hälsingegatan 43
When: Till 17 June
Over his career, Jean-Baptiste Béranger has approached photography in an almost scientific manner. With a deep knowledge of all aspects of the photographic process and with a playful attitude, he challenges our perception in using this medium’s basic elements in all stages of his work. In his new project, he focuses on shape, and by extension on space and its many indices created and made visible, apparent but still out of reach by light.
“Quiddity” alludes to something’s what-ness, the essence of an object. Philosophically referring to something beyond our consciousness but still present in its absence, Béranger visualizes this notion by bringing forth the magic once associated with photography in its very beginning.
Artist & Exhibition: Frank Stella – Recent Work
Where: Wetterling Gallery, Kungsträdgården 3
When: 24 May to 30 June
World-renowned American Frank Stella’s exhibition presents his latest work in the series “Scarlatti Kirkpatrick” begun in 2006, alongside a few older works from the 1980s and 1990s.
Considered a pioneer within the minimalist art movement and one of the most influential painters of his generation – being a generation moving from abstract expressionism towards minimalism, Stella’s early work tried to reduce all external content to just color and the canvas; immortalizing his famous quote: “What you see is what you see” into the unofficial credo for the minimalist art movement.
During his long career Stella has moved from being minimalist to maximalist: his recent sculptures are vivid, colorful and filled with movement, symbolic of his creed of eternally developing and in turn surprising us.
Artists: Mathis Altmann, Magnus Andersen, Gina Beavers, Brian Belott, Nicholas Cheveldave, Alex Da Corte, Tatjana Danneberg, Debo Eilers, Jana Euler, Michael Fullerton, Cy Gavin, Henning Hamilton, Adam Helms, Uwe Henneken, Henry Hudson, Henrik Olai Kaarstein, Ed Kay, Oliver Laric, Sean Landers, Leigh Ledare, Austin Lee, Jason Matthew Lee, Sven Loven, Jimmy Merris, Caroline Mesquita, Stuart Middleton, Oliver Osborne, Djordje Ozbolt, Athena Papadopoulos, Erik Parker, Jon Rafman, Ry Rocklen, Samara Scott, Tobias Spichtig, Evelyn Taocheng Wang, Rob Thom, Jinsong Wang, Grace Weaver, & Jonas Wood
Exhibition: Summer Show
Where: Carl Kostyál, Artillerigatan 64
When: Till 23 June
No season is more ridden with clichés than summer, and summer shows are rarely an exception, with their curious mix of pretty landscapes, still-life flower arrangements and portraits of famous people, elected by a jury of academy members (or famous people).
For nineteenth century painter John Constable – known for his Romantic renderings of English country life – the Royal Academy’s annual exhibition represented “the time of year when the devil comes and spews art over London”.
Negating Constable’s belief, this exhibition subverts a traditional summer show by bringing together 40 artists whose work turn conventional aesthetics on its head, and locate a new kind of convulsive, rebellious beauty that dares to reveal the grotesquery of fine art; making no rigid distinctions between the digital and the “real”, and uncovering the dormant loveliness of the vulgar and the popular.
So suspend the normal rules of society at this most sinister summer show to allow other systems of meaning to emerge.
Artists: Louise Bourgeois, Angela De La Cruz, Meta Isæus-Berlin, Riitta Päiväläinen & Ulf Rollof
Exhibition: Fabric Works
Where: Galleri Andersson/Sandström, Hudiksvallsgatan 6
When: Till 17 June
Using fabric elements in their practice in a highly personal and individual way, the works by this collection of artists reflect on history, protection, human presence and representation.
For New-York-based Paris-born Louise Bourgeois fabrics had always played an important role in her life: from a young age she had helped out in her parents’ tapestry restoration workshop and after a lifelong gathering of household items such as clothes, napkins and bed linen, she began in the mid 1990s to cut and re-stitch the lived materials up into art to attain psychological repair of her fear of being separated and abandoned.
For Spaniard Angela de la Cruz’s ”Deflated”, the paintings hang frameless like coats at 153 cm above ground as a representation of her actual short height, and as her deflated self after she has had her stroke.
For Swede Meta Isæus-Berlin, “Oblivion” is about the time our bodies carry, layer on layer, an evasive vision that may, has or will happen; where matter is charged with an emotional and poetic energy located between wakefulness and dreaming.
Finn Riitta Päiväläinen is fascinated by the history that cannot be found in library books, official files or archives. This “unwritten history” surrounds us all the time – as can be felt in the rip of a coat, in the place worn thin on an armchair; with dialogues between nature and objects as part of her ongoing deeper looks into our subconscious through the exploratory combination of cut and sewn ribbons and water reflections, creating a mystical scenography in desert-like places.
Swede Ulf Rollof’s work draws upon his dream while living in Mexico, where bullocks in the dark plowed fields in the light of intense fires. To keep these animals from burning their bodies, he decided to get a tailor to create a protective suit for them, allowing his dream to take physical shape.
Artists: Patrik Andiné, Fredrik Arvidsson, Malin Borin, Cueva, Carl-Fredrik Ekström, Carin Hildebrand, Annika Johansson, Johanna Karlin, Mikael Lindblom, Camilla Lundberg, Martina Müntzing, Kenneth Pils, Nina von Schmalensee, Christian Simonson, Bjorn Stampes, Gunnar South, Johan Wiking & Amalia Årfelt.
Exhibition: Mejan 95
Where: Domeij Gallery AB, Luntmakargatan 52
When: Till 17 June
“Mejan 95” gathers all the Spring of 1995 graduates from Mejan – the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm – to showcase their 18 individual oeuvres, with many as established and well-known names in art circles and as highly active artists with several exhibitions behind them.
Its broad spectrum of painting, sculpture, drawing and photography presents what the last batch of Academy of Fine Arts students with studios in both Mejan – the Royal Academy’s traditional premises on Fredsgatan – and Skeppsholmen have developed and refined through 22 years of artistic practice after graduation.
Artist: Eleanor Lakelin
Exhibition: Rhythm Of Time
Where: Konsthantverkarna*, Södermalmstorg 4
When: 27 May to 21 June
* The Swedish Arts & Crafts Association
One of Europe’s most skilled and most interesting wood artists, Eleanor Lakelin’s “Rhythm of Time” shows a representative selection of sculptural vessels and other woodwork from the “Contours of Nature” and “Time & Textures” series.
The latter’s new tall vessels are made in Wellingtonia and inspired by the erosion of Basalt rock, while the slate coloured pieces achieve those hues with an iron solution or with tannic acid; with the white achieved correspondingly after being ‘pickled’.
“I am fascinated by wood as living, breathing substance with its own history of growth and struggle centuries beyond your own,” says Lakelin of her inspirations.
Information and photo credits: The respective galleries and artists
Artist: Thomas Müller
Exhibition: Colour Of Love
Where: Miva Fine Art Galleries, Grev Way 10
When: From 13 May
Halmstad-born Thomas Müller began as a skilled decorative painter. But since 1990 his engagement in the arts has been received by the art world with great enthusiasm, with many of his works currently represented in both public environments and private collections.
Müller’s paintings always have a philosophical depth and meaning, along with a concurrent humorous and enigmatic atmosphere; all achieved through his experimentation with fantasy, symbolism, tänkvärdhet and underfundighet.