During our recent time back in Stockholm we have visited a number of shows. Here are four that Pipe would now like to recommend. All the exhibitions described within this selection, are very different and were enjoyed by us to varying degrees, but in our view they are all still worth going to see.
Astrid Kruse Jensen, Disappearing into the past # 22, 2010-2012
The Danish photographer Astrid Kruse Jensen, who is exhibiting at the Wetterling Gallery in Kungsträdgården, displays beautifully emotive, large scale photographs in her show Beauty Will Always Be Disturbed. Due to their processing & printing these images, viewed from a distance almost seem like paintings. Her method of working has given the work a wistful quality and provides them with this painterly effect. She has taken these photographs on old expired Polaroid film and then blown them up, and in some cases to over a meter squared, presenting them in simple, clean deep frames. This conventional, yet effective method of presentation seems appropriate to the work and fits with the space generally.
Astrid Kruse Jensen, Disappearing into the past # 55, 2010-2012
The melancholic, cinematic nature of the work is more than a little bit indebted to filmmakers like Von Tier, Bergman & Tarkovsky (perhaps the less said about this artist’s film - The House Inside Her, which also features in the show - and its strong association with the latter in my trio of comparisons, the better). Regardless of this however, the work is still highly aesthetically fulfilling and has a type of proposed narrative that intrigues and invites ones own interpretations.
The exhibition runs until March 21st, 2015.
Annabelle by Markus Schinwald, 2015, Pigment Print, 140 x 100cm
Having represented Austria in 2011 at the Venice Biennale, and as recently as last year, having also had a major solo show at both the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco, in association with SFMOMA, and at the M – Museum Leuven in Belgium, Markus Schinwald now brings his eclectic and often bizarre exhibits to Magasin III.
[The address for Magasin III is: Frihamnsgatan 28, 115 56 Stockholm - link to it on the map]
Actuator 2 by Markus Schinwald, 2015, mixed media sculpture
This exhibition inhabits two spaces, across adjoining floors - one on top of the other. We enter through an old wardrobe, which in itself is clearly a loaded metaphor, in the ‘social sphere’, and references some fairly well-known literary works. The first space is surrounded with multiple framed reproductions of various illustrations of 19th century bourgeois individuals. These people all have some sort of intervention to their poses or demeanours however. This gives them a fetistic and ‘freak’ like appearance. Nonetheless, I still can’t help but think of certain commercial illustrations that have become popular in recent times and can be found on stalls in markets, particularly those around London’s East End. The sheer number of prints and this somewhat unfortunate connection, makes this part of the show my least favourable. Nevertheless, in the centre of this room is a far more engaging work. The work Actuator 1-6 are objects that have been made to look like or adapted from old furniture and then mechanically installed and placed in different uniformed formations inside little openings in the wall. These surreal works move, grind and scrape in unison, looking somewhat like Hans Bellmer sculptures that have been given movement. Undoubtedly, the human body is a constant reference here, and how the social and cultural positioning of such natural forms is inspected. An earlier work entitled Curtain has been placed adjacent to Actuator 1-6 in the thin corridor that separates them, and is seemingly out of place in this context. Yet, the subtle, enthralling and slightly sinister nature of this curtain and what might be behind it, balances extremely well with these apparently antique like forms. The curtain is a rich red and has the appearance of faces that look like they may have come from woodcarvings, which have then been imprinted upon the fabric. For me this is most appealing. It has clear theatrical connotations and further adds to the mystique of this formation of pieces.
Curtain, 2006, prints on fabric
The level below the first floor of the exhibition is an entirely different experience. This square room is an arena that has white false walls setup all the way round and consists of a number of projections, that utilise these surfaces. Also, on these walls, spread out across the gallery, are a collection of different objects such as paintings, sculptures and protruding and receding shapes that dissect the wall itself but are still uniformly a part of it. The video projections are of people, seemingly life-sized to us the viewers, who appear to be in this space previously, and are interfering and inspecting the walls, various objects, many draws, doors and other hiding places inside these walls. This uncanny sense of both viewing and existing in a place, which is the same as the one you find yourself in but is also fundamentally changed, is unnerving and triggers a strange kind of repressive responsiveness that is difficult to process fully. This work seems profoundly Freudian to me, as it fascinates and alarms in equal measure.
Stage Complex (Thomas), 2015, Video, again by Markus Schinwald
The exhibition runs until December 13th, 2015.
Lars Bohman Gallery is the site of our next recommendation. The artist whose work features in this exhibition Newton’s Bird, is Linnéa Jörpeland. A native Swede, her work is often playful and humorous, yet has a deeper questioning tone. Our relationship, or certainly the human environment’s, link with animals and their world, is a notable attention in her work here. As a sculptor, most of Jörpeland’s pieces have been cast in bronze and to an extent, seem to have been made in order to alter or question certain perceived notions of the ‘expected’ or different recognisable behaviour within the human-animal world. Like snakes who have swallowed unforeseen objects such as shoes or an entire child’s bike. A further curious work is the halved table supported by the wall, which has a rather gruesome metaphor attached to it. On the table is the sculpture of a cured sausage with a small section cut from one end, placed beside a knife and on chopping board, which have all been arranged there. Its position has been challenged by a dog’s nose though, that just sticks up from the edge. This piece of nose, and end of mouth clearly has been made to be almost exactly the same size as the missing end of the sausage. This sort of provocative, yet still subtly constructed work, is a feature of the show and manages to work on various levels giving her work a more wide reaching appeal.
My favourite piece in this exhibition does not however have an animal present in it. This work does make use of the shadow though. Whether this is an actual shadow, like in this case, fashioned from a sculpted Swedish flag & flag pole or a painted/changed shadow, like in other instances, these do have a strong presence in this body of work. The shadow here, made by the spot light and flag construction has a woman in a kind of 40’s or 50’s style bathing suit appearing to walk along the line made by the shadow in the way a trapeze artist might precede along a tightrope. This quite delicately sculpted piece has a refined appearance. Nationalism and perceived notions of the female role and their associated stereotypes, are strongly contained within this piece but not overtly so in my view.
The exhibition runs until March 22nd, 2015.
Our fourth and final tip is the exhibition Asylum at Kulturhuset in Stockholm. Curated by the author and director of fashion design at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern Karina Ericsson Wär, the show is a specific, but expansive exploration into certain correlations between fashion and art. Works from a wide array of artists & designers, both past and present are on show here and as one might expect, these are largely interested in studies and depictions of the body. The key captivations of the show are with constructing various identities - with different notions of the surreal featuring strongly in the exhibition. None more so than the work of notable advocates of this treatment, such as Hans Bellmer, whose renowned photographs of distorted and deformed human shapes are on display. Elsa Schiaparelli’s Skeleton dress, inspired by a sketch from Salvador Dalí and produced in 1938 for the Haute Couture Collection ‘Circus’, lays bars, or in this particular case, turns inside what is held within, in a bizarre, highly stylised, fashion object. The contemporary designer Ann-Sofie Back’s garments are also displayed. Seemingly incompatible parts are stitched together to produce pieces that appear like futurist designs or costumes from a sci-fi film.
This exhibition truly is a real treat and contains a whole plethora of different works. From the video installation art of Aernout Mik and their totally unsettling situations, to the violent minimalistic/industrialist, swishing cables of Sun Yuan and Peng Yu & then moreover, the sadomasochistic, eroticism of Rut Hillarp’s relationship with experimental filmmaker Mihail Livada - as depicted in an exquisite film collaboration.
Untitled, 2015, by Ann-Sofie Back in Kulturhuset’s Asylum exhibition
Asylum also features works by many other designers and artists, such as Martin Margiela, Anna-Sara Dåvik, Juun.J, Sandra Backlund, Minna Palmqvist, Patrik Söderstam and Maria Miesenberger. A perplexing, yet wholly captivating show, the curation is well considered and conjoins the works together in an often unexpected way, which keeps it interesting and distinctive.
The exhibition runs in Gallery 3 of the Kulturhuset until May 24th, 2015.
This concludes our four current exhibition recommendations. We have appreciated seeing these works and hope you have an opportunity to visit these shows as well. If you do, please let us know what you thought of them here, thanks.