A day with no major changes; unknown visitors offering personal comments; a quiet, candid day. And then, an evening when everything is turned around – a new space, suddenly. Followed by a peer-to-peer feedback session; a wealth of experience and perspectives. Thank you, Agnieszka and Auli, Esmé and Andrea – from the core of my heart, thank you! I’m at a loss for words.
Day 7: Reset, start anew… I cannot move the large canvases on my own, so they’ll have to stay set for the time being. Everything else goes back into the storage space – only the armchair and the folding chairs remain. They aren’t my artworks; they are my coworkers. The pea-green chairs are a low-budget remake of “the Situation” – a project highlighting loneliness, by Karin Lindström Kolterud. Karin herself shows up, and gives some valuable suggestions on how to choreograph the bulk of chairs in relation to the paintings.
At 3pm, a visitor arrives from Cambridge – via zoom – and takes a tour through the whole set-up in my cellphone.
From yesterday’s elderly artlovers – partly somewhat blasé – a sudden turn to younger minds. Distance yields for active involvement; action alternates with reflection. Ebb, and flow… Today, the process seems to have reached a node – not coming to a close, but to a resting point. Tomorrow, the beginning of another week.
Saturday is opening day at the other artspaces in the block… and for the first time, there’s the occasional visitor who shows no sign of interest; just another stop on their round, a quick glance with a connoisseur’s glasses on, before heading to the next gallery… But there’s been other kinds of encounters, too – between laughter and (almost) tears. The prolonged view. Paying homage to a worn-out blanket. Aesthetics and/or sincerity? Thank you, Lena, Birgitta, and all of you whose names I don’t know!
Day 3: soon, playful surprises in unexpected places – left from yesterday – would yield for an extreme makeover. A cohesive team worked hard for two hours, mounting large canvases and little drawings… while fruits & flowers were put on display in the storefront. Thank you Birgitta, Susanne och Christina! And thank you, Karin, for superb documentation (to be seen elsewhere)!
May 11th: a day of breathing, of extended attention. Nearness; distancing; returning… The beginning of a longer rhythm? A visitor’s intervention intuitively connecting manifestations of motherhood and childhood; frailty, and a hidden treasure. In the evening, a sharing circle opens up to playful, gentle joy. The sky is getting clearer. A rainbow.
To my joyful surprise, I recently got the opportunity to attend a Winter Symposium with the Nordic Summer University. It took place in Latvian countryside, close to a natural reserve (but out of reach for the internet).
The venue, of course, is an extremely powerful tool in the set-up of such a gathering; framing the whole process, contributing to how knowledge is produced, shared and interpreted.
The overall theme for the NSU Study Circle 7 is The experiential in artistic practice: methods, knowledges and reflective processes. Over three days of Easter, a lovely bunch of artistic researchers, academics and practitioners presented their research and shared practices – as well as hot sauna and icy swims.
Learning about feminist strategies by printmaking, about regenerative farming in Latvia as a base for textile art, and the importance and implications of Wanderlust… Learning from Finnish and Latvian dancers, British artists, a theatre director from Tampere and a Polish philosopher… This has been a unique and inspiring experience in so many ways – not least thanks to Ulla, our exceptional chef! I hope to meet again…
…as I hope for peace, for human awareness towards all earthly beings, and the rebirthing forces of spring.
One of countless solidarity demonstrations for Ukraine was held on Saturday, March 26th at Sergels torg, Stockholm… Flags and banners in yellow and blue. Doves circling above us, under a cloudy sky.
Soon afterwards, the Art for Ukraine auction opened at Birkaterminalen – a former ferry terminal turned art space – arranged by Duo Contradiction, in collaboration with Kollektivet Livet, Ordfront, SILC, Candyland, Studio 44, Östgruppen and others…
…with 167 artworks donated by artists (many wellknown) of a number of nationalities… Disco upstairs, where also tasty borscht was served – of course – and pastry and wine, too. Everything free-from-profit, managed by voluntary work.
Auction starting by five o’clock, resulted in a stunning SEK 270 000 (26 000+ €); artworks not sold will be on display at Ordfront publishing house until April 23rd, when a second auction will take place. All incomes will benefit humanitarian aid organizations in Ukraine.
More on Duo Contradiction/Art for Ukraine!
(Lot 112 was purchased on telephone bidding – to my surprise and delight.)
During the pandemic, many of us have turned to nature to be alone for a while, or to meet with friends; to regain our calm and lust for life… The curators at Selva Studio did, too. Located in the suburban area of Bagarmossen, Stockholm, they were lucky to have access to a nature preserve just around the corner. The idea came up to invite others to share and take care of the forest’s quiet offerings…
…and so, Skogssalong / Salon in the Woods emerged; an outdoor art event, last weekend happening for the third time within a year – from Saturday noon to Sunday evening, February 19th-20th. I got an invitation to let the Moon Kite fly again, this time together with the lovely luminous clouds of Alice Bulukin.
The public response was beyond all expectations: a steady flow of visitors of all ages – long after nightfall even – running and sliding or treading cautiously, marveling and chatting, taking photos and warming by the fire… There was live music, too, and a wealth of artworks by Akay and Olabo, @5000naturreservat, Eka Acosta, Fältlaboratorium (Ewert Ekros, Johan von Schreeb, Mattias Larson, Ola Ilstedt), Gabriel Agut, Idamaria Holmqvist, Isa Winter Maxe, Kjartanistan, Lena Flodman, Lisa Rytterlund, Lotta Sjöberg, Malou Bergman, Nabil Holem, Nina Westman, Perniepaints, Rossana Mercado-Rojas, Tess Oweson… and stunning light installations by Johan Matti, Svart Ljus/Black Light, Joa Palmér and Stina E Stellborn. Here’s a few treats:
Below an assemblage of pictures from the hillock of clouds and moon, following broad daylight into winter nightfall and darkness:
Art’s Birthday 2022: Bilder från Nysund / New Sound Images in Gnesta’s Old Watertower
Finally, let’s celebrate! The doors of the Watertower are open; inside, guests are welcomed by an installation of light and ice, glass and water. The green octave paintings – modest in size – are on display along one of the walls. Upon the next three sides of the tower, the pictures transfigure into light projections, opening up to an imaginary summer day.
the Green Octave, projections by Johannes Ferm Winkler
For myself, this is a process equally wondrous and interesting; from the beginning, years ago, where I take a walk immersed in the light and sounds of the surroundings; next, converting my impressions to a small-sized painting; leading up to this joint venture, where the landscape re-emerges by technical means… or, sprung from the inner nature of human minds. The space floating with light and sound… the landscape transcended.
On Monday, January 17, the Art’s Birthday network* will support a webradio streaming, where 25+ art spaces around the globe – from Tokyo to Vancouver – will share photo and audio streams in an interactive mesh.
Above: Fold a Hat outside the Watertower, Gnesta 2022; photos by Johanna Dahl and HHW.
Below: Robert Filliou, Rome 1972; photo by Joaquín Romero
* About Art’s Birthday worldwide: the event was first proposed in 1963 by French artist Robert Filliou, as a public holiday to celebrate the presence of art in our lives. In recent years, the idea has been taken up by a loose network of artists and friends around the world, welcoming new partners working with the ideas of exchange and telecommunications-art. Since 1963, Art’s Birthday has generated parties and gatherings, correspondence and mailart, sound and video art, music composed for telephone lines, radio and (starting in the mid 1990’s) for the Internet – and, following Fillou’s example, the folding of paper hats.