We continue to use the fascinating theme of Swedish-based artists and their art in determining November’s selection of exhibitions. This time with a focus on the myriad range of mediums, techniques and points of inspiration employed, along with the messages they endeavour to communicate. And hopefully, these in turn will inspire many of you to artistically answer Moderna Museet’s call to upload your own contributions to its Acclimatize project.
Exhibition: MAD HORIZON
Artists: John Skoog and Emanuel Röhss
When: Till 4 December
Where: Index – The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation, Kungsbro Strand 19
At the exhibition’s center is John Skoog’s most recent film Shadowland, screened within an installation developed together with Emanuel Röhss, along with works by other Swedish artists and related archival materials – all serving as background for events unfolding over the course of the exhibition to explore its central themes of relationships between landscape and identity, as well as the role moving images has in creating and mediating places.
Shadowland was filmed in California, in places that have been used in seminal Hollywood films to represent other parts of the world – from Switzerland to Afghanistan – by carefully re-staging the camera work of the initial film in the US setting. The result: an atmospheric portrait of California as an actor that has appeared on screen in nearly any area of the planet; creating an ambivalent reading of landscape as an image that resonates in film history as well as with the current politics and economy of place.
Emanuel Röhss’ installation brings together material from his Ennis House (Frank Lloyd Wright, 1924) in Los Angeles; a building featured in countless movies as a location for numerous shoots, and used as a placeholder onto which imaginary environments have been projected in production design.
Exhibition: Spotlight #2
Artists: Roger Andersson, Idun Baltzersen, Amy Bennett, Helene Billgren, Mette Björnberg, Thomas Broomé, Carl Hammoud, Kent Iwemyr, Richard Johansson, Lisa Jonasson, Maria Nordin, Anne-Marie Nordin, Charlie Roberts & Bella Rune
When: Till 6 November
Where: Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Fredsgatan 12
Besides introducing current works by a selection of the gallery’s artists, the exhibition puts the spotlight on Bella Rune, Idun Baltzersen and Lisa Jonasson’s art.
A professor of textiles at the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, and who works trans-boundary with sculpture in various forms, along with recently co-curating the Textila Subtexts at Marabouparken, Stockholm, Bella Rune’s project Konsekvensanalys can be physically and virtually experienced through the free app Konsekvensanalys 2.0 downloadable on App Store or Google Play.
Graduating in the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm in 2014, and currently holding a studio grant at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm, Norwegian-born and Stockholm-based Idun Baltzersen draws and makes prints in different scales and techniques, both on paper and fabric – as exemplified by the exhibited smaller detailed works, collages of drypoint on paper, a larger textile work, and a collage of linocut prints.
A four-channel projection of three hundred and twenty-four slides, Lisa Jonasson’s installation Rotpost has lichens, tangled fragments of leafs and seeds pressed and joined together with details of cut paper between the glass slides; all backlit to become detailed black and white images in which figures emerge.
Artist: Angela de la Cruz
When: Till 19 November
Where: Wetterling Gallery, Kungsträdgården 3
Inspired equally by conceptual, painterly, and sculptural concerns, Angela de la Cruz utilizes the canvas to subvert traditional notions of painting, and extend the potential of narrative form.
Aligning her work within the greater discourse of art history, she defies the notion of a painting as a unique, singular object by deconstructing and reconstructing them into recyclable “Commodity Paintings”.
Reinforced with titles such as “Ashamed”, “Off Guard”, or “Stuck”, her works are often physically and psychologically damaged. Her signature form of action painting — resulting in bashed-in and fractured stretchers, and crumpled, torn, or scorched canvases — serves to visualize the dramas their titles invoke, and anthropomorphize human emotions and experience.
Exhibition: Cathay Pavilion
Artist: Karl Patric Näsman
When: Till 27 November
Where: YA! – Young Art, Karlavägen 5
In an era of hybridization, of an economic power shift from West to East, and of low-cost airlines and social media as the new trading ships, cultural dominance is giving way to cultural synthesis, with ideas traveling at the speed of light in a complex net of streams, disrupting traditional systems of value and meaning.
Cultures, commodities and customs are being appropriated, re-appropriated and appropriated yet again – coming into a full circle. So a Danish design chair, influenced by Ming Dynasty furniture and branded as the epitome of Scandinavian modernism, is now being counterfeited and sold to the Chinese nouveaux riches, with heritage becoming a strategic marketing tool and cultural identity merely a defense mechanism against political self-doubt.
In this new landscape, artists become brands and brands become culture. What is real and what is fake lies wholly in the eye of the end consumer, and authenticity is nothing more than a paragraph to copyright laws lobbied into legislation by multinational enterprises. While cultural expressions inevitably become more hybrid and intricate, the powers of capitalisation and consumerism are desperately trying to uphold traditional systems of categorisation and cultural dominance. Countries are incessantly protecting their borders while multinational enterprises persistently fight against copyright infringement and museums refuse to return stolen artefacts.
Exercising this line of thought, Stockholm-based Karl Patric Näsman merges subtle cultural historical references with a truly hybrid artistic practice to lay bare the traditional systems of value and meaning as mere constructs. In Cathay Pavilion, he traces the hybridisation of culture through a string of playful yet highly sophisticated pieces. Simple in shape, they are rich with meaning and narrative.
In an exploration of everything from the commodification of cultural heritage to the role of the artist, he deconstructs concepts of authenticity and appropriation and reconstructs them as idiosyncratic paintings, sculptures and installations. Exhibiting original paintings and sculptures side by side with digital prints and utility objects made to order by Chinese producers, he blurs the line between art and handicraft, high and low, real and fake.
Project: Climate & Creativity – Acclimatize
By: Moderna Museet
Website (in only English): acclimatize.modernamuseet.se
Contribution deadline: 10 December
Acclimatize is a global and digital exhibition where everyone can offer their own perspective on climate change. Pre-launch contributors include established artists like Isaac Julien and Olafur Eliasson, along with Johan Rockström, professor of environmental sciences, Bea Szenfeld, designer, and the kids at the Plantan nursery school in Uppsala.
“The existential and cultural aspects of the climate crisis are just as crucial as the technical and scientific sides. We believe that creativity can change the world. Therefore, we are inviting everyone around the globe to create a think tank to promote commitment to climate issues. The UN has declared sustainability goals for 2030, and with (this project) we can inspire each other to take steps together towards a sustainable future,” says Ylva Hillström, initiator of Acclimatize.
On the Acclimatize website anyone can publish and share works about climate change and sustainability. It could be a picture, a film, a dialogue, a dance, a poem, or something else.
Isaac Julien, Olafur Eliasson and Bea Szenfeld have already uploaded films in which they talk about creativity and the climate. Matilda Tham, design researcher, Pelle Boberg, officer at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, and Supermiljöbloggen have contributed exciting and informative texts on various perspectives on climate change, sustainability and creativity.
Exhibition: On a Line
Artist: Eva Koch
When: Till 13 November
Where: The Main & Small Gallery & Stairs at SKF/Konstnärshuset*, Smålandsgatan 7
* Artist House
Eva Koch’s On a Line consists of video installations: That Dream of Peace (2016), Peace Doves (2016) and Evergreen (2006); weaving together ten years of artistic endeavor characterized by a vision of the world with man as its focal point.
The first film sequences poppy fields – flashbacks from the end of the First World War – with those from the 1930s to the present; of children in different countries playing the same games while bombs fall and red flowers grow in muddy battle fields.
The second has white doves standing in a row, overseeing and observing the surrounding occurrences, or fluttering freely in a dream-like borderland between symbolism and reality, between war and a dream of peace.
The third depicts peer pressure and the cruelty of excluding a child from play; all unfolded back-dropped within the beautiful landscape of the Faroe Islands, an environment that is partially autobiographical, making clear bullying can take place anywhere.
Consequently, a recurring theme in many of her works is the anonymous individual’s memories and experiences viewed from the perspective of the collective. The driving force to communicate human experiences common to many is ever-present in imagery characterized by sensuality and an intensely moving universal appeal.
Artist: Lars G. Säfström
When: Till 6 November
Where: Little gallery at CFF – Centrum För Fotografi, Tjärhovsgatan 44
“If you look at some dilapidated walls … you will soon see the shapes and scenes of various landscapes, chaotic battles and battles, spiritual attitudes, facial expressions, strange characters and a lot of other things…” said Leonardo da Vinci to his students.
Though Lars G Säfström has long known Leonardo da Vinci’s formulations, it was not until a few years ago that he found the renowned Italian’s full text in the French art historian Yvonne Duplessis’ book Surrealism. Only then did these words find their way into Säfström’s creation.
As a result, his recent photographs Rencontres portray imaginative designs full of color that resemble abstract paintings. But instead of looking at the world, he needed only to look within himself for the figures and characters to lie down onto his pictures.
Exhibition: Wind Upon the Face of the Waters
Artist: Johan Willner
When: Till 6 November
Where: Gallery CFF – Centrum För Fotografi, Tjärhovsgatan 44
What is there to believe? The question might seem as great and difficult as it is simple and obvious – it all depends on what is meant.
Most people believe in something, whether it is life, god, science and the future. What does it mean to believe in our modern secularized society, where conviction has become the accepted application to politics and ideology rather than by that of religion?
And what is religion? For Johan Willner, it and its faith are something that concurrently attracts and frightens. So his secular eye follows him through the personal story he tells in pictures and text in Wind Upon the Face of the Waters, but it is also a gaze that searches and tries to understand.
Exhibition: Half Remembered Light
Artist: Heli Hiltunen
When: Till 12 November
Where: Galleri Andersson/Sandström, Hudiksvallsgatan 6
One of Finland’s most established contemporary artists, who moves in between the boundary of photography and painting to visualize the eternal connection between the life and the arts, Heli Hiltunen’s exhibition continues her signature style of taking us on a journey through melancholic landscapes, fragmented narratives, and dream-like states.
Though the slippage and liminality between painting and photography remains important, she claims to be neither a painter nor a photographer, freely moving between her self-constructed worlds and images.
With an exhibition showcasing photography, collage, and paintings in oil, ink, and acrylic. She sublimely and fluidly reinterprets her subject matter within each technique and medium’s possibilities and limitations; resulting in a poetic expression running like a red thread through her show.
Layers upon layers of histories are built in artworks that are then reflected in one another. Together they tell a story about her longing to see the world more clearly, to understand it better, but something is always distracting her from gleaning the whole picture. This feeling is visualized in her works with a dirty window, thumb print smudges, or the sun’s glare limiting us from experiencing the image’s totality.
“In my work… the main theme is memory and oblivion. To remember and maintain a lived experience we often have an image made of it. Subject matter for me is hovering between that experience and its (representation). Thus, memory and remembering is analogous with construction of (a sensory impression),“ shares Heli.
Information and photo credits: The respective galleries