For the Enrichment of Society III

art, time-out

So, this is the second one of KonstFunk exhibitions x 2: eighteen woven tapestries by Adrian Nehard (currently on display at Södertälje City Hall). His body of work relates to The Songs of Maldoror (written by the self-appointed comte/count Lautréamont and originally published in 1868); reviving their poetic imagery in contemporary colours and textures, by the use of rags, pearls, paint, and embroidery.

“Songs of Maldoror” tapestries by Adrian Nehard
at Södertälje City Hall, March 2020;
photos by Christofer Martinson

The exhibition is curated – mainly by my colleague Eva-Karin Planman – to form an open labyrinth, hovering around a flowform water sculpture by Nigel Wells. On Friday March 13th, Adrian Nehard met practising alchymist and artist Lisa Jeannin in an ad-lib Artist Talk.

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Lisa Jeannin with Tarot card in front of tapestries;
photo Christofer Martinson

The audience followed closely, as Adrian and Lisa walked and talked their way along an evolving path of strange and complex representations. For a full hour, we were carried away by Adrian’s set of flying carpets – ending up in a French-Swedish reading of a passage from the Songs of Maldoror.

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Lisa Jeannin and Adrian Nehard performing their Artist Talk;
photos by HHW.

Thank you, Lisa, for joining! Thank you, Adrian, for sharing your outstanding work!

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Lisa Jeannin, Helena Hildur W, Eva-Karin Planman;
photo by Christofer Martinson

for the Enrichment of Society II

art, beauty, time-out

Last week, I and my co-curators Eva-Karin Planman and Sabine Recht set up two exhibitions as a part of the KonstFunk project in Södertälje. In Luna, the municipal culture center, we gathered works by some 30 creators to form a group show…

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…presenting a range of techniques and expressions, from textile craft to art remakes, to icons, self portraits and paintings emerging out of colour itself…

What is the meaning of creativity?

An absurd question, of course. Someone plays with colour and materials – glossy, sticky, tufted – having no fixed thoughts about the final result. Another expresses a deeply personal experience; a feeling, an impression, a dream. A third one designs a “thing of beauty” to enhance everyday life… Intentions and situations differ. Distinct needs cannot easily be compared or evaluated towards each other.

The meaning of creativity can also be subject to change. What determines labels such as “therapy”, “craft”, “hobby” or “art”? Who has the mandate to categorize?

To master a language takes training and trying, again and again; art makes no exception. It needs a framework of meaningful understanding to mature into richness.

Broadening one’s technical abilities builds self-reliance and sparks ideas. Copying existing artworks is a common method for improving artistic awareness, skill and insight. Although copying does not boost ego, one’s personality will (most probably) come through in many gracious ways.

Whoever takes their work – or playing – deeply serious, also deserves an equally serious reception. Being creative together, we will all contribute to the enrichment of society…

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Also, during this same week, a solo show by artist Adrian Nehard was prepared in the City Hall – featuring eighteen woven, embroidered and (partly) painted tapestries.

More to come…

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for the Enrichment of Society I

art, beauty, painting

In 2002, I first met with some of the most ingenious and brave people I know. From that point onwards, the Land of Mir evolved; an imaginary space, where words and pictures, all kinds of creative designs and social interactions, became possible and meaningful. Functional variations were many, but in this setting the only disability would be prejudice and intolerance (which, in fact, very rarely occurred).

As an artist and a human being, I am deeply grateful for the experiences I’ve gathered over the years in the Land of Mir. And from this perspective – shared with others – the KonstFunk project has been launched; an impulse for the local community to fulfill Article 30 of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which states (among other things) that

States Parties shall take appropriate measures to enable persons with disabilities to have the opportunity to develop and utilize their creative, artistic and intellectual potential, not only for their own benefit, but also for the enrichment of society.

On Friday, February 7, KonstFunk arranged a half-day programme for employees from places where people with functional variations work, live and study. A lecture by Anneli Aaltonen Krantz (artistic leader at Inuti Foundation) was followed by artist talks with Magnus Östling (Stockholm) and Adrian Nehard (Järna). Next, participants were invited to try the tactile instruments of SymbioLab, to marvel at the felted pieces from Anna Gran‘s studio at Högklint (Mölnbo), and to delight in the wide range of expressions in icons, self portraits and still life paintings made at Klockargården (Järna) with Sabine Recht as the artistic leader.

Thank you, Södertälje konsthall, for hosting! Now we’ll see where this takes us… The next steps will be taken in a few weeks.

Program Inspirationsdag fm

Leaving the House

art, recent work, time-out

Satan’s Death – last part of Satan’s Trilogy – was brought to an end by New Year’s Eve 2017. We, the artists, quickly transformed ourselves into LVL4 art association (named after the primary studio/hangout space on the 4th level). By doing this, we managed to stay in-House for yet another year. No more theatre production…

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LEVEL 4 exhibition (November 2018)
…but on November 1st, doors were opened to the public once again. For a full month, visitors could experience installations, sculpture, paintings, sound art and performances – such as The Magic Garden (Anja Dahlgren/#cversatilesthlm), Polluted Ocean (Elise Mattisson Chue), Seastar’s Sea (Eka Acosta), The Ritual (Robin Victor Dahlqvist), Fear Less (Em Fexeus), 700 portraits (Camilla Hammarin), Våga! (Thea Blanca)… to mention just a tiny fraction.

 

And more; the Hackshack project, lead by Alice Bulukin and Ivan Alexander Höök, invited everyone to build and experiment with electronic devices. The remarkable Archive for Temporary Art (Lisa Fält, Victor Gussing Chihuailaf, Carolina Alvear Bello and Klara Nordqvist) curated five short-term exhibitions within the exhibition. Makaroni photo studio offered instant portraits. Younger artists like Albin Limnell shared space with professionals such as Frida Farm and Izabella Englund

 

…and then there was the abundance of graffiti/street art; DEMENZ&MYS, DIRTY, OMEH, Klotterklungan and others curated by Juntan… plus LEEV, Ziggy, KLTR and more…

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Juntan/Ziggy

As for the Passage Room, it just… stayed. Honoured with a sound installation – Livmoder (Uterus) – by Nathanael Saposnikoff, the compost lead a quiet life, tending its fertile darkness.

 


FINISSAGE-EXORCISM (December 1st-2nd, 2018)

 

Come December, the exhibition ended with a nonpareil art party finissage – staging thirty hours of live music, DJ’ing, spontaneous jamming, sporting all kinds of heavenly/demonic outfits and dancing through the night… By noon next day, a bleak, reluctant December sun watched DJ Lucinda Illernäs perform the outro in Woland’s chamber. And so, the immense, thirty-hour-long, imaginative-beyond-borders and completely impossible FINISSAGE-EXORCISM closed this chapter – opening all minds to the next level.

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E+X+O+R+C+I+S+M

Leave-Taking (December 3rd-23rd, 2018)
After which every material part of the artworks had to be disassembled, stripped and removed; it took us three more winter weeks, and filled 17 containers… From time to time, I rambled the corridors collecting marks, traces and moments.

 

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Halfways, a portion of those loose bits and pieces came to serve as backdrop in The Last Party trailer for Gothenburg Film Festival 2019 (starring, once more, Angela Wand).

 

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The Passage Room was emptied, too: all wooden, textile, acrylic and metal parts dismantled; the stones and soil and reeds and ashes returned to earth; the lights shut down.

 

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***

A true friend you have been, House. A magus and a teacher, too. Now time is up.

TOODLE-OO!

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ps. All filmed material from Satan’s Trilogy now free to watch here:
ALLA SATANS FILMER

Public Commission VIII: Everything Coming Together (Finally)

art, recent work

School is closed for a week-long autumn break. I meet up with technician Per-Arne Sträng – who also happens to be an artist in his own right – to mount the map pieces. One and a half day of smooth collaboration…

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…and – we nailed it! This is it.

181105 02bCluster 1 (1A, 1B): the school building

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181030-13b.jpgCluster 2A – 2D; overview (above) and close-ups (below)

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181109 01bClusters 3 (3A, 3B) and 4 (4A – 4F), overview

Cluster 3, close-ups

Cluster 4, close-ups

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181101 01bCluster 5A – 5E, overview (above) and close-ups (below)

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Cluster 6A, 6B, overview (above) and close-ups (below)

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On Friday morning, Leif Josefsson – the school librarian – pops by and improvises an interview for the facebook site…

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So, this is really it; all the map pieces are mounted, the starry sky alcove is glowing, and the light projections are up and running.

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Just one more thing for Monday;

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let’s welcome everybody back to school with a surprise opening; snacks, grapes and applejuice… Good morning!

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And now, it’s all yours. Enjoy!

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Public Commission VII: Embroidery Galore (August – October 2018)

art, recent work

With the starry sky alcove and the coloured spotlights set in place, I could return to the third part of the commission: the school road mapping.

Back in spring this year, schoolkids in two classes presented me with their hand-drawn maps – each one showing their own path from home to school. I began to fuse those forty-something individual images into one collective map. Some related to places that were easily recognizable, and some of their features were obviously identical; a supermarket, a traffic circle, those two water pools and the Thai restaurant. Others were very personal, and sometimes pertaining to different layers of reality; a secret tree-house, an encounter with a friend or a wild animal, or some wildly ambivalent feelings expressed in graffiti style… And there were suns, and moons, and stars.

Having arrived at an overview, I again divided the map in triangular parts and arranged the sketches in clusters designed for five different walls; now with the individual paths intertwined – sometimes interacting – and (almost) all ending up in the central piece with the school building.

Then, twenty-one pieces of felt were cut and prepared with starch. Similarly, twenty-one wooden boards were produced to tauten the felt pieces onto. And the embroidery race started…

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It was pure delight to discover all the details of the kids’ maps; humorous – sometimes cheeky – emotional, colourful, observant and straightforward. In rendering their felt-tip pen drawings into yarn stitches, I did my very best to stay true to the original.

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August and September came and went. Stitching, listening to the radio, stitching; pausing only to eat and sleep, and sometimes to go buying more mouliné thread… And slowly, the map took shape. By the end of October, I stowed the embroidery table away. The map was ready to mount.

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Interlude: duet with the setting sun

art, beauty, recent work, time-out

Back in the old Watertower of Gnesta… Collaboration with artists Julia Adzuki and Patrick Dallard (SymbioLab) has been brewing for some time now. Karin Lindström Kolterud – who added the element of ancient sound technique kulning to Resonance Jam #2 – has joined the team. Since last year, a group of people have gathered recurrently in the Watertower to try out its unique acoustic qualities – and during this long hot summer, a number of artist residencies have taken place.

Tomorrow, we’ll launch ANTENN 2018, a two days’ Sound Art Festival. And what an amazing line-up of artists: Linnea Rundgren and Tomas Björkdal with live multichannel sound and image projections, Girilal Baars doing Mongolian overtone singing, jazz/classical duo Johanna Dahl (cello) and Ebba Westerberg (percussion)… not to mention the male voice choir of nearby village Björnlunda – and quite a few more!

Full program here: ANTENN 2018, program

And my part? A contribution to the upcoming performance of Julia and Karin; they will be playing with voice, body, space, and another one-of-a-kind instrument – a wrecked old marine buoy, prepared by Patrick. Julia and I did the lighting… and the setting sun joined us for an hour, turning the watertower into a giant Camera Obscura. What an honour; playing duet with our home star.

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Public Commission VI: Coloured Light, Curious Shadows (May-June 2018)

art, recent work

What next? After the night comes morning light… The starry sky alcove calls for a surrounding light design. Earlier, I did some tests with torchlights – but where to find permanent spotlights producing such a distinct, sharp-edged image?

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Torchlight test

Having searched high and low, and after consulting lighting experts – among them Gerhard Rehm at CDC Lighting and Bengt Ahlin at Färgrum – I finally find the spotlights I’m looking for, through the Rebel Controls company; they’re actually miniature gobo projectors. And, they’re expensive. And, they don’t really fit into the existing wall, because they’re too long; need to add a few centimetres of thickness there.

Spotlight collars – design and result

So, I contact Snickerifabriken Järna – a carpenter’s shop where they do CNC lathing – and present a sketch. And – whoaa! – what a beautiful piece of work they produce: ten perfectly cone-shaped collars, lathed out from hard five-ply birchwood. Thank you, carpenter Nisse! Rather than painting the collars to “blend into the wall”, I’ll pay tribute to craftsmanship by treating them with matte varnish.

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Collars mounted, wiring installed

Site director Anders has been very supportive all along; now he brings a hole saw and cuts all the holes I have marked out. Electrician Thomas does the wiring, and I can mount the spotlights. A day or two for trying out the colour filters and set the final composition – having great fun…

Shadow selfie with three spotlights

Meanwhile, school goes on. The spring term is soon coming to and end. Schoolchildren still aren’t allowed to visit the workplace area – but every now and then I do a little guided tour around the venue for a group of curious kids together with their teachers, or on their own… They are the ones who will spend the days and years to come up here. To share the joy with them is even better than playing alone with light and shadows.

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Public Commission V: More on Acoustic Panels (April-May 2018)

art, recent work

Remember the pre-fab absorbers recommended for three of the classrooms? Did I mention there was some debate over this? Agreed, acoustics are extremely important – but on the other hand, a colour that ends up hidden behind a white panel is actually no colour… Everyone involved plays a part in finding the best solution. The school representative wants the coloured walls to stay fully visible. What if – says the architect – what if the panels were scaled down a bit, and mounted higher up, just below the ceiling? But would they still be functional enough..? The commissioner comes up with the idea to extend those slimmed-down panels over the side walls too, and the site manager calculates the cost. Since I’m the one responsible for the colour design, I really appreciate all this good will. Next morning, I suddenly remember…

marmorull 2Marble Wool sample, by Karin Auran Frankenstein and Tomas Frankenstein Auran;
photo © Auran Frankenstein

…the Marble Wool – a material recently developed by Karin Auran Frankenstein and Tomas Frankenstein Auran, mainly using waste from the tanning industry and starch-based glue. This could be the missing link – something that would be functional as a diffuser, but also decorative in form and colour. I contact Karin and Tomas, and they kindly accept to take up the work. A couple of weeks later, they come up with sketches for three site-specific designs – far better than I could have imagined. The sketches get approval from everyone, and so we go for down-sized panels complemented with Marble Wool in three classrooms…

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Three sketches for Marble Wool installations, © Auran Frankenstein

Read more about Marble Wool and other art projects at Karin’s website:
www.karinfrankenstein.se

…or at the website for design exhibition Utvalt i Skåne (where Karin and Tomas were granted a scholarship award)

…or visit the large exhibition Next Level Craft – where, by the way, nuno-felting by Anna Wahl Gran is also on display.