For the Enrichment of Society III

art, curating, recent work

So, this is the second one of KonstFunk exhibitions x2. We’re happy to present eighteen woven tapestries by Adrian Nehard – on display at Södertälje City Hall until April 20th. This 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 – largely 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, curating

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 – the first one of KonstFunk exhibitions x2

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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. Somebody enjoys playing with colour and materials – glossy, sticky, tufted – with no fixed intention about the final result. Another expresses a deeply personal experience; a feeling, an impression, a dream. A third person designs a “thing of beauty” to enhance everyday life… Purposes and situations differ. Disparate 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, curating

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.
Pictures from the occasion were shared by Södertälje konsthall (municipal art gallery):

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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

ANTENN 2019

art, curating, recent work, time-out

Back in 2017, a happy collaboration with Julia Adzuki resulted in a Resonance Jam in the old Watertower of Gnesta; a historical venue offering unique acoustic and spatial qualities. Soon, the concept developed into a broader platform as Patrick Dallard of SymbioLab and Karin Lindström Kolterud joined in. Artist group Ljudtornet (“Soundtower”)  formed in 2017/2018, and opened the Watertower to a Sound/Art festival in late August: ANTENN 2018. On a limited budget, the festival managed to present a broad range of sound artists and musicians – all of which declared their wish to return for a next time. One of them, Tomas Björkdal, eventually became a permanent member of the Ljudtornet group and played along with the rest of us…

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Ljudtornet at play in the Watertower;
photo HHW.

And so, ANTENN 2019 was conceived… Thanks to the Swedish Performing Arts Agency and the Swedish Arts Grants Committee – in addition to the municipality of Gnesta – we could work on a considerably larger budget, and thus managed to invite residency artists throughout the summer.

Serious business in ANTENN 2019 administrative board;
photo credit Anka Draugelates

Come September, ANTENN 2019 finally staged two days of live performances and installations by 40+ artists from Sweden and abroad; once more filling the Watertower with resounding waves of light and sound. For anyone who couldn’t be present, the whole programme was live streamed over web radio (and listened to even as far away as Singapore).

My contribution was largely behind the scene. As a painter, I sometimes think of my craft as the faculty of listening with the eyes… here, I had a beautiful opportunity to sit quiet and enjoy the heartbeat of the Watertower, as rendered by so many fervent and sensible performers. Just listen:

Art Lab Gnesta/Research goes Supermarket

art, curating, recent work, time-out

Art Lab Gnesta monter

Supermarket Art Fair in Stockholm is the annual meeting point for artist driven initiatives worldwide since 2006
At Supermarket 2013, Art Lab Gnesta was represented as an independent platform for artistic research; a story which begun with the course Artistic Research Processes at Konstfack College for Arts, Crafts and Design in 2012. When the course was finished, the people involved wanted to go on – so Art Lab Gnesta opened its doors for their experimental, non-authoritarian research quest. Thirteen individual projects were brought to Kulturhuset, Stockholm, during the days of Supermarket 2013. Here’s an interview (in Swedish) explaining the whats, whys and hows of Art Lab Gnesta/Research:

Riksutställningar intervjuar Helena Hildur

Gnestopia/Grassworks/Fält

art, curating




Future policy Gnestopia, artwork by Kultivator at Art Lab Gnesta

Sunday July 22nd was the last day for Gnestopia; it had then been alive and growing for six weeks in our exhibition space at Art Lab Gnesta. It was conceived and constructed by Kultivator – an experimental cooperation of organic farming and visual art practice based in the rural village of Dyestad, Sweden – in collaboration with Gnesta 4th- and 5th-graders. Since the opening in early June, visitors have added their specific thoughts and wishes for the future and seeds have grown to blossom and fruit.
The playful, optimistic mood of Kultivator’s three-dimensional policy document was matched by the subtle and anti-monumental qualities of Grassworks, a video by Emma Göransson. Two hands braiding grass at the shore of a lake, a single voice humming; a celebration of the repetitive, the impermanent, the scarce, the indomitable.



Grassworks, video by Emma Göransson at Art Lab Gnesta

Oh, did I forget to mention Fält (“Field”)? It’s the brand new magazine launched by Art Lab Gnesta; first issue reflecting Green Year 2012 in a summertime mood. A large number of photos – from different photographers, sites and projects – produce a flow of blue, orange and green shades through the pages, while texts (in Swedish) provide food for thought, literally: on food-making as art, mindfulness and a middle-class lifestyle project; on long-term experiences from local biodynamic farmers; also about the Finnish art-and-forest initiative of Mustarinda, about a Mongolian yurt on a tiny island in lake Frösjön, and the mind of the osprey… Here’s the link:

Fält

among others VI

art, curating, recent work

watercolour painting by “T”; photo by HHW.

Here, finally, are some of those paintings which tell no other story than the one of their own creation; light perceived and rendered into material existence by a human mind process… in this case a unusually complex one, as some of the originators are neurologically cut off from their own motor functions and can perform their painting only in intimate cooperation with a supporting assistant.
The method, known as facilitated communication or FC, is used primarily for written communication by people who cannot speak. By the help of FC, many who were formerly treated as hopelessly ignorant have now been able to express their thoughts and feelings.
Here the process is taken one step further; not only expressing experience, but creating it.

two watercolour paintings by Andreas Osika; photos by HHW.

among others V

art, curating, recent work


(above) the ‘narrative’ room, interior with various works;
(middle) three figures – Jesus, the Raven and a devil – by Tommy Eriksson;
(below) Death by Johanna Tapio;
all photos HHW.

The ‘narrative’ room hosts all kinds of stories – written as well as materialized in paint, charcoal, fabric and papier-mâché; peacefully poetic landscapes, dramatic representations of symbolic figures and vivid renderings of memories and dreams.

the Mill by Peter Starholt; photo HHW.

among others IV

art, curating, recent work



above: flower painting by Bengt Christer Carlsson, flower arrangement and mixed technique assemblage by Helena Hildur W;
below: mirror installation  by HHW and self portrait by Mayson Kourie;
all photos by Helena Hildur W.

The material readily grouped along three distinct themes – the narrative, the self portrait theme and that which deals with light and colour representing nothing but itself. Each one could have formed a separate exhibition; I chose to interlace all three, trying to do justice to the great range of expressions and temperaments. To the self portrait theme, I add mirror installations.

among others III

art, curating, recent work

self portrait by Erik Bergström; photo HHW.

In this exhibition, there are works from more than 30 originators, including myself. What we have in common may be the experience of solitariness, and a strive for communication which is not easily obtained. Some of us are restricted by neural or muscular disabilities, some of us have (for various reasons) never even spoken. Being human, we are vulnerable and imperfect.
Nevertheless, courage and awareness at times turn our imperfection into divine playfulness.

drawing by Ulf Magni; photo HHW.