Exterior Shot of Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm
On arriving in Stockholm one pleasant day in late August, I stumbled upon an appealing gallery called Galleri Magnus Karlsson. New to me, if not my Swedish colleagues at Pipe, this space certainly has all the signs of an art space which appeals to our sensibilities – particularly with regards the use of space & light, curation, selection of artists/works, location, amiable staff etc. The second worthwhile discovery here was getting to see their most recent exhibition and the work of Swedish painter Maria Nordin (b. 1980). This artist, whom in her show Landformer / Landform, displays both a delicate visual physicality within her painting, beside subtle empathetic emotional resonances. Fasad / Facade (a collaboration with Kristina Bength) (2014), is deceptively beautiful. On first glance, like a lot of the paintings in this show, the piece seems almost fading under its own subtle tonal formulations. However, when one studies the picture at greater length, the scene and artist’s approach to painting it, holds your attention and becomes particularly strong on the retina; almost staying ingrained there after the looking procedure is over. The cerebral effect of this gives the paintings the feeling of stills or small vignettes, which could belong to dreams or emotionally charged visions. Their sombre, reflective nature is encapsulated in a way that encourages you to look at them diligently, but never overly scrutinise their forms – it’s as though the viewer allows the nature of the paintings to dictate and reproduce the process of looking itself. One looks and in turn simultaneously internalises the scene presented. Landskap / Landscape (triptych ii) (2014), is a part-landscape, semi abstract composition that is ‘familiar’ in many respects, but similarly otherworldly. Almost sci-fi-esque in appearance, it again like the previous example, gives the sensation that it is the construction of a cognitive vision and one that appears to invite and even embrace your observations.
Moreover, I see echoes of other artists in this series by Nordin. This in no way detracts from the work or is at all unsettling in its similarities, but is indeed worth commenting on I feel. Perhaps the names which sprung to mind the most vehemently were Peter Doig (b. 1959) and Karin Mama Andersson (b. 1962) (whom is incidentally also represented by Galleri Magnus Karlsson). Their melancholic static situations, particularly those of Doig, which intrigue and frustrate in equal measure, I consider are both formally and thematically comparable to some of the work displayed in Landformer / Landform. Rightly or otherwise - or perhaps this is merely lazy journalism -nonetheless I think that these artists, in their own different ways, are attempting to communicate something inherent about the human form and it’s psychology - and crucial, how this is intrinsically attached to the landscape or interior environments one finds themselves in. As is conveyed in the show’s press release, “we encounter landscapes that have been dislocated into new environments and colour schemes, bodily settings that have become depopulated and a process that depicts itself”. The contemplation of ideas around absence, fantasy and reality, we are told have too played a central role in Nordin’s study of displacement and transposition - subjects and treatments, which could equally be attributed to both the work of Andersson and Doig. However, unique to Nordin within this company, there is a mixed media dimension to this show also, as she utilises audio to add a further dimension to this overall “synergised” experience.
Clearly though, partly because of the times we now live in, there are virtually always going to be comparisons made between artists. When attempting to initially decipher the work of an artist, this can often be helpful and misleading in equal measure – but always informative I find. Nevertheless, whether you agree with these perceived associations or not, all of these artists are unquestionably more than a little indebted to Matisse (1869 – 1954) (as most artist are I’m afraid), even if unconsciously so. Which I suspect is worth recognising in this regard.
A gallery and an artist that have been a pleasing discovery for us - both of which we plan to look out for again in the future. I am sure now that Pipe in based in Stockholm for the foreseeable future, we will be making many more visits to this Gallery. Something we look forward to doing.
Do look out for more posts and articles in the coming weeks. We intend for the next period in the ‘life of Pipe’ to be a busy one with many more events and exhibitions coming up soon…
- Maria Nordin Landformer / Landform runs until the 5th of October 2014 at the Galleri Magnus Karlsson - Fredsgatan 12, 111 52 Stockholm, Sweden