Two Excursions in Art

art, beauty, teaching, time-out

This past week, I put the brushes aside for some days to go places and see people…

First heading West to the city of Gothenburg and HDK Academy of Design and Crafts, where I was invited to introduce the DasArts feedback method to a group of students and teachers at the Jewellery Art Programme. I already knew contemporary jewellery as a dynamic field, and the works of these students were no exception. Dealing with a diversity of topics (such as biomorphology, symmetry, space/surface transformations and trauma healing), they thoroughly proved the potential of thinking through materiality.
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Encouraging inscriptions at HDK:
“Art and Learning/Give Boons and Glory”; (to) “THINK”

During the course of two days, five student projects were presented for feedback; added time for tutorials and evaluation resulted in an intense time schedule, to say the least. Nevertheless, everybody managed to give focused, warm attention throughout the whole workshop – an admirable accomplishment, especially at the end of a semester with exhibitions and examinations drawing close.

Every time I practice this feedback method, I discover new features; in this group, the evaluation talk highlighted themes like stepping out of anonymity, cultivating a practice over time, and shared experience as a common ground for individual development and change. I’m truly grateful to teachers Klara Brynge and Märta Mattsson for the invitation, and to the whole group for our shared experience.

And then I returned home, only to jump forth into another event…
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For the time being, I’m re-framing my engagement in the Storytelling by Art context; and I was lucky enough to be invited to the annual conference of the European Outsider Art Association (this year held in Sweden). The programme – under the theme of E/Quality – turned out to provide a wealth of inspiration, experience and networking potential. Local hosts were the marvelous people of Inuti; a foundation, which provides space for “artistically talented individuals with intellectual disabilities and individuals within the autismspectrum”. Inuti is currently running three supported studios in central Stockholm, along with an adjacent art gallery; and building an art collection as well.
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Snapshots from the EOA conference, day 1;
Inuti Lilla Essingen studio and performance by Anders Wettler

Inuti spoiled us with their exceptional venues and live art manifestations while in Stockholm – but one conference day was spent in the small town of Sala (approximately 130 kms northwest of Stockholm). Here, we visited Little Istanbul – the ongoing life achievement of self-taught artist Jan-Erik Svennberg – before continuing to the Ivan Aguéli Museum.
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Visiting Jan-Erik Svennberg’s  Little Istanbul

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Now digesting the nourishing, artful, challenging experiences of my excursions; thinking and re-thinking as we walk.

 

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

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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Passage Room@Satan’s Death (construction)

recent work, time-out

Hope.

The first part of Satan’s trilogy staged a tale of repression and resistance, while the second part captured a moment of deliriant triumph and loss. In this third and last part, ultimate disaster has already taken place. In such a predicament – what could bring hope? That was the theme presented to the artists involved, as the Satan’s Death project was launched. My spontaneous response was: compost. Because…

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Because compost turns waste into resource. Compost is biding with the power inherent in soil and darkness. Compost is… hope for new life, beyond death and destruction. Definitely, there had to be a compost in the house.

And I wasn’t the only one to think that way; artist colleague Cais-Marie Björnlod had the same feeling. Cais-Marie put her trust in worm composting, while I decided to try the bokashi fermenting method (much encouraged by facebook discussion group Bokashifrämjandet and Kajsa Sjaunja). In the house, somebody had managed to salvage a number of large plexiglass panes from a former construction site, which brought about the idea of a huge crystal-shaped container. For large-scale bokashi experience, I consulted art and agriculture initiative Under Tallarna, and started collecting household waste from various places.

My darling companion Sören Engzell provided crucial technical aid, and the work proceeded quickly. Pallkompaniet kindly provided pallets for the foundation, as well as the device for attaching metal straps to keep the hexagonal construction together – against the pressure of approximately 4 cubic metres of organic material… Meanwhile, Cais-Marie set out to make a number of smaller compost containers to hang on corridor walls. We went to visit Stockholm Biokol to collect biochar in pouring rain… As September turned October and daylight waned with each day passing, the 3500 square metres of Satan’s scenography were spray-painted white; the Passage Room was one of the few places that escaped whitewashing.

When the ‘compost crystal’ was finally fit, I started to fill it up with fermented bokashi, sand, soil and straw. Outside, trees began throwing their worn-out leaves to the ground and rowan berries glowed on naked branches. Some of that also found their way into the compost, along with moldering fruit and fungus mycelium…

On November 4th, the opening night of Satan’s Death took place.

Satan’s Death

art, recent work, time-out

It’s over.

After three years and three productions, with ~1500 co-creators and 15000 visitors; after countless hours spent and emotions shared; after valuable artistic experiences, and priceless, unique friends made; finally, the very last performance from Satan’s trilogy happened yesterday on December 31st, 2017.

“Art is dangerous, because it connects us human beings in the impossible. Instead of waiting: make! Instead of muteness: speak! Believe in the possibility of change. So, let’s!”

To all of you skillful, dedicated and loveable persons – artists, directors, volunteers, family members and visitors – with whom I’ve shared this adventure, I send a wholehearted THANK YOU!

…and: till next!

Satans dödsannons

Sharing a secret garden (July 17th – 21st)

time-out

The second workshop week begins, with a new set-up and new people arriving; and, as always, group dynamics are deeply engaging. We’re all individuals, but what determines our readiness to collaborate? How do we sustain an emotional space where shared pleasure doesn’t block the individual performance – or the reverse? My function is to find ways for creative coexistence, every day anew.

This time, the story takes a slightly different turn; the sun is dimmed by a grim July Shadow, and the refugees drift away in darkness – surviving by throwing their nets to catch fish from the deep… This somehow seems to mirror the general atmosphere within this group, where the majority of participants go in for personal projects rather than collaborations – each one catching their own fish.

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Some of us get along quietly, others draw a lot of attention – yet there is mutual respect. There are just so many ways of being human; of becoming…

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Anna, Emilia, Robert, Tomas, Lars-Ola, Marianne, Göran and everybody else – thank you so much for opening such colourful, remarkable views into your inner worlds!

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Sharing a secret garden (July 12th – 14th)

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Works by participants in the creative summer workshop at Gillberga, Södertälje (photo: HHW.)

Each morning, our story evolves a bit further. After days and nights at sea, the refugees finally reach a safe shore. Among the few precious things they’ve brought with them is a pouch filled with seeds of all kinds: chia seeds, white beans, sunflower seeds… Conch seeds and starseeds too. A grumpy gardener shows up. A minute butterfly alights upon a rainbow-coloured dreamcatcher. Instantly, the seeds are sprouting… Blue-striped flowers and roses spring into bloom. Maybe we can settle here?

I am very privileged to spend my days together with friends like you in the Land of Mir. Thank you for this week – Sofia, Christian, Ragad, Tommy, Pia, Henry, Ulf and others! May your secret gardens always bloom and bring you sweet fruit.

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Sharing a secret garden (July 10th – 11th)

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skaparläger 2017 021First day of the summer workshop. Around twenty people meet up in the morning. Some are newcomers, most of us have met before. Some of us (but far from all) are experienced in painting, modelling and drawing. As a group, we represent a broad range of physical/cognitive variations, with one constant: our common need for – and delight in – working with creative expressions. I open the workshop with the beginning of a story; a tale of a gruesome tempest and a small group of people fleeing in a boat… What would they bring with them to start a new life? And what will happen next?

In the days to come, the story will find its way through our shared emotions, experiences, images and words… No matter if you cannot speak or if your hands won’t move according to your will; sincerity and playfulness, the urge to communicate will come through somehow. Form and colour provide a powerful language.

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