Photos from recent Stockholm shows we have visited


Here is a collection of photographs from a number of exhibitions which we have enjoyed seeing in Stockholm over approximately the last month. If those who see this can, they should try and see these shows before they end. If not, one might still perhaps look out for some of these artists in the future.


VillarRojas2Adrián Villar Rojas at the Moderna Museet – a man inspects the side room installation of the exhibition during the opening


VillarRojas1The ‘transformed’ artefacts on the brightly lit staging of the main room


The Argentine artist Adrián Villar Rojas’s show Fantasma at the Moderna Museet appears like a new surreal, futuristic museum environment. The high-key lighting in the large square space has echoes of a set from Kubrick's 2001. Central to the space, raised to roughly eye-level on a large platform, are a collection of familiar and strange objects which appear to be in a state of flux. This work, and particularly the presentation of it, is both fascinating and appears to pose questions about ‘art’ itself, ownership, human progress and memory.


MAshow3A view from one of the exhibition rooms of The Royal Institute of Art’s (Kungl. Konsthögskolan) MA Graduation Exhibition 2015


MAshow2Hedda Viå comments on contemporary western ideology through adapting images and objects associated with advertising and consumerism


MAshow1Anna Taina-Nielsen – this image shows the artist as ‘worker’ in her performative work


The Royal Institute of Art’s (Kungl. Konsthögskolan) MA Graduation Exhibition, at Konstakademien on Fredsgatan (12), contains the work of 23 of their graduating students. The array of materials and techniques used in the show is in keeping with this institutions tradition for encouraging experimental, explorative practices. Works here utilise installation, performance, sculpture, video, painting, and photography. Much of the artworks have been devised in response to the exhibition and the historical associations of the venue used in staging it. Works question, embrace, critique and poke fun in equal measure, at much of art’s traditions and our modern society as a whole. All the works had their merits and areas of intrigue, but Hedda Viå, Éva Mag and Anna Taina-Nielsen caught our attention particularly. These practitioners artworks, all very different, either have a strong sociocritical dimension, in the case of Viå & Taina-Nielsen, or were visually arresting and presented to convey some interesting connotations about our western history, as Mag has done. However, overall this is a strong show and for those involved, I am sure we will see much more of their work again in the near future. 


Dono2The mechanical Oxymoronia by Heri Dono, from the show at Färgfabriken


Dono1Dono’s The Three Donosaurus at Färgfabriken


Heri Dono is probably Indonesia’s most renown contemporary artist and his exhibition Animachines, at Färgfabriken is a large scale showcase of his work. In the show, Dono gives a magnificently individual insight into the social and political history of his native country, through adapting some of their cultural traditions and imagery. Linking traditional Indonesian culture and animism with inspirations from cartoons and western art, Dono manages to create some unique imagery. Humour, colour, oddities, mechanics and interactive works (there are lots of buttons to press), make this show an entirely new and joyous experience. Absolutely not like anything you have seen before.


Dine1Jim Dine’s sculpture Lopper's Blue Dream, 2013, oil enamel on cast bronze; with the painting Pinocchio's Unhappiness About Those He Cares About, 2013, acrylic and sand on canvas; both at the Wetterling Gallery


An old favourite of ours is Jim Dine. This new work, Heart of Stone at the Wetterling Gallery focuses on the well known story of Pinocchio, with a collection of paintings and sculptures of the well-known ‘little wooden boy’, together with adjoining, found objects. In sticking with his ‘pop’ traditions, alongside this subject is a series of heart paintings, which give more than a slight nod to abstract expressionism and his 60’s contemporaries, Messrs Johns & Rauschenberg. This work is colourful, fun and continues to look at themes relating to reality, and of course it’s opposite(s), which have been a constant point of reference during Dine’s more than 5 decades as an exhibiting artist.


A link to Hasse Persson’s (Artistic Director) fine text for Heart of Stone can be found here



A Brief Introduction to Keith Harrison


Having been banned from the ceramics room on his first day of an Art Foundation course at Bournville, Keith Harrison understandably had no aspirations of becoming a ceramicist in his fledgling stages as a visual artist. However, it seems that this authoritarian experience probably challenged his innate perceptions of what this sort of practitioner could be and therefore led him to confront the conventional notions of fine art ceramics. As a result, this has become the key factor which underlies his work as an artist.


Harrison-3Keith Harrison standing on top of his work ‘Float’, 2011


Harrison was born in West Bromwich but grew up in Birmingham. He studied on a BA Industrial Design course in Cardiff; later switching to Ceramics, largely due to a course he completed during his initial BA. Following this, he undertook an MA in Ceramics and Glass at the RCA, where he graduated in 2002.

I am interested in the opportunities that clay offers in its different states; as a liquid, plastic and solid, and ultimately, the potential for the direct physical transformation of clay from a raw state utilising industrial and domestic electrical systems in a series of time-based public experiments.

The merging of ceramics with performance, ‘action’ and other forms of sculpture and installation, has allowed Harrison’s work to create and occupy a largely distinctive position within contemporary visual art. A vital attention of the work, which is referred to in the previous quote, is a temporal dimension that enables it to be structured and culminate around the delivery of an event, which is integral to the artist’s foremost sensibilities.

After his graduation in 2002, Keith developed various processes and ideas for a number of live public art events. These experimentations have utilised portable household appliances, audio equipment, materials, objects and systems associated with an industrial and domestic base, and the staging of live firings of his ceramic works. These have taken place in various venues such as a living room, science laboratory, café and not-for-profit artist run spaces in Brighton and London. ‘The physical transformation of clay from a raw state’ into something fixed and synthesised, is central to Harrison’s very intentionally somatic process of presentation.

Many large scale works have been produced for public galleries by using the given space to produce these site specific, time based works. Over recent years he has exhibited in venues such as the V&A, Jerwood Space, Camden Arts Centre and mima in Middlesbrough.


keith_harrison_grand‘Grand’ 2008, at the V&A, for his V&A Ceramics Artist in Residence, October 2012 – March 2013


His scrutinising of different conceptions of the firing process, led him to use unconventional heat generators, which began in 2007. In his work ‘20 Whittington Street’ at the Camden Arts Centre, A living room carpet made from chapatti bread dough and spices heated underneath until the smell became unbearable for the audience in the gallery space, was devised for the show. Another exhibit ‘Float’, commissioned for Jerwood Open Makers in 2011; a large piece that was the result of a sequence of smaller scale works and experiments involving sound, combined clay and electricity and included his works ‘Blue Monday/White Label’ (Landmark, Bergen, 2010), ‘Brother’ (mima, Middlesbrough, 2009) and ‘Grand’ (Permanent Gallery, Brighton, 2008).

The post-war, Brutalist architectural designs of 1950’s & 60’s are a major influence on Keith’s work. He has been especially intrigued by the colourful tower blocks found at the Bustleholme Estate in West Bromwich, near where he was born. Their tiled exteriors of bright blue and yellow make these large angular structures disconcerting. Connected to this is his interest in the architecture of Berthold Lubetkin and the Tecton group. Their design’s for animal enclosures at London, Whipsnade and Dudley Zoo tap into Harrison’s curiosity at the notion of ‘social observation of captive animals as a recreational pursuit’ and how this can be aligned with the performative nature of his own work.


Tower-BlocksThe buildings of the Bustleholme estate in West Bromwich, outside Birmingham, that Harrison's work has been informed by


On these sorts of post-war ‘social experiments’, as they are often labelled, and their architectural embodiments, Harrison comments: ‘I am interested in these buildings and more generally the radical social agenda for state architecture of the 1960's relating to comprehensive schools and housing.’ The political/social agenda within the work, which is unquestionably subtle, is still a central issue. An attention on the social arrangement of predominantly working class communities, the controlling, observing and monitoring of them, is a significant focus for the artist when placing some of the work’s subjects.

Harrison states that he wants his work to have a kind of ‘monumentality’ to it. The idea of destruction is always a part of this awareness too and how such seemingly permanent object and forms are actually temporal and can often be perceived archaic relatively quickly. His work ‘Float’ is a fitting example of these principles.


keith harrison & napalm deathThe speaker towers of the 'Bustleholme Project' and Napalm Death during their performance 


Perhaps Keith's now most infamous work was the 'Bustleholme Project'. This was the final proclamation of his residency at the V&A and a continuation of his work with the band Napalm Death, who also originate from the Birmingham area. Using the band's ferocious performance, Harrison had their audio blaze out from a speaker system built and designed by him. This system, the design of which was based on the towers at the Bustleholme estate, were mass rectangular objects with a large speaker system installed inside them; their exteriors tiled in the appropriate colours and placed in the middle of the De La Warr Pavilion auditorium. Naturally the objective was to see these objects begin to fall apart during the performance, largely due to the sheer force of the music emanating from them. However, this process was also helped by an individual who managed to enter the central space where the system was situated and begin to physically attack these structures. Although made for his V&A residency, the eventual Bexhill on Sea venue used for this live performance seemed highly fitting for both Harrison and the band. The stark post-modern design of the building and the bleak seaside landscape made this a decent match for both sound and vision.

What makes Keith Harrison’s work so intriguing and refreshing is that he is using and experimenting with clay in an ostensibly different way. He wants to investigate the potential responsiveness that this material has in different situations and states, and then allow people the chance to experience first-hand the processes and results of these events. The opposing concepts of creation and destruction is crucial to these projects and his inclusion of other objects and material established factors such as sound, heat, movement, smell etc., makes Harrison’s work brave, unpredictable and overtly multifaceted.

Keith Harrison and Napalm Death: 'Bustleholme' by Jared Schiller.


Announcements & Changes for Spring 2015


Pipe spring 2015 

As we are always trying to keep Pipe interesting - primarily to us, those who write and run this blog - we are, as a result of this approach, often considering new projects, texts and directions, which will best achieve this. We like to work on the assumption that, because we are ‘of this world’ and thus have preferences which are in all probability, shared by others, we therefore suspect that any new direction we do take may be of interest to other folks also. This outlines the case here.

It has been sometime since any new ideas have been declared by us. In this moment, we plan to return to one of the fundamental principles of this project. Being, we want Pipe to reflect and to show our own inclinations and preferences, which exist around our different chosen creative ‘arenas’. Another objective of ours - that we have not declared previously, but because it has grown over time we now feel we have to announce and act on it, is:


We aim to bring to your attention instances, individuals, works, organisations and/or any other creative or cultural example that by our judgment, presently are not being given the considerations we believe they/it deserves; or simply, those fascinating artistic examples, which might normally have passed one by.


This is clearly only a judgment of course. Therefore, if we end up discussing something you already know about or if you do not agree with our assessments, then this is constructive for us too, as we hope that you will share with us your thoughts, positions or criticisms. Discussion and bringing new ideas or examples to the fore, has always been one of our chief objectives for this blog and it remains so.

As a result of all this, we will be starting with a new series of articles on artists and creative individuals, whom we believe you should be made aware of. These are sometimes relatively new artists, but not always. Nonetheless, because we feel they are producing work that deserves a lot closer inspection and more widespread attention, we will be profiling and analysing some of the work they produce.

Lastly, as part of these ‘new horizons’, we are planning some aesthetic changes to the site as well. These will become clearer in the coming weeks but if you keep visiting us you will see those changes for yourselves, as and when they occur.