reconnecting, attuning, integrating

art, recent work

During the Exhibition and Life (reconsidered), a forgotten painting from thirty years ago was brought into the light… Someone found it touching, somehow – because of the lapis lazuli blue? the mere size and shape of the paper? the little “tadpole” figure? the black charcoal circle? I can’t tell. But there it was, for the first time publicly on display.

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from day 3 of ‘the Exhibition and Life (reconsidered)’

I was touched, too – reconnecting with the long gone place in my life where this image emerged. A feeling resonating from there to now, setting me in tune again. Urging me to respond from another me. To review the elements – their size, brightness, depth, materiality, tactility; to rethink the proportions and composition; to find a new provider of lapis lazuli pigment; to find a way of mounting the large paper for permanent display.

The lapis lazuli pigment changes in a remarkable way with the changing qualities of light; from the midday or afternoon sky, or from electric lightning. An Orthodox rabbi’s wife passes me a quote from an artist whose name she doesn’t remember: “blue is the light coming into being”.

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We’re still in the undetermined process of integration. Proceeding with care.

A Salon in the Woods

art, recent work, time-out

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…

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…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 photos from the hillock of clouds and moon, following broad daylight into winter nightfall and darkness:

 

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Art’s Birthday 2022: Bilder från Nysund / New Sound Images

art, curating, painting, recent work, time-out

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.

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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.

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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

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* 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.

Art in the Sankeien Garden

art, recent work, time-out

Hanging in the garden; photo credit Toshiko Watanabe

After some nerve-racking delay (due to the Swedish postal service), the transport box finally arrived in Yokohama – just a few days before the opening. Back home, I could draw a sigh of relief as our colleagues from EAJAS took over

They, in turn, were now heading for another intense work phase; nineteen Japanese artists, and sixteen Swedish, have been selected for the group show. The curating and hanging of artworks by 30+ artists in this historic site is no little task! As expected, our Japanese friends took excellent care of it all. Art in the Garden – Contemporary Art from Sweden, part III opened on April 28th in the Sankeien Garden of Yokohama.


Gray I, Blue I on display in Sankeien Garden, Yokohama; photo credit Toshiko Watanabe

From the other side of the globe, we’re truly grateful for this photo documentation of the hanging process and results; it almost makes up for not being able to visit. Come stroll along with us in the garden…

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sky, soil, silk VII: conclusion

art, recent work

This. This is what the material tells me: it wants the circle. To mirror the horizon, the sky, the full moon…

Just go for it. Communicate with the curators from EAJAS. Create a frame design from plastic tubes. Get polyester strings for mounting. Steel weights for anchoring. Cut and sew fabric – many hours of handcrafted trial-and-error. One blue piece, one gray – then another two… Duplicates, in case of loss or damage.

Meanwhile, winter dissolves into spring. The exhibition’s opening date is getting closer. I’ll need a big, sturdy box for transportation… So many practicalities to consider. Luckily, there is help. And in the end, it all works out.

On Maundy Thursday, I bring two of the pieces to a lakeshore nearby for documenting.

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Then, one more day for disassembling, for marking each single part and packing properly. Easter holiday passes, and finally we can hand the transport box over to the postal service. And – off they are. Next stop: Yokohama!

Art’s Birthday 2020@Watertower

art, recent work, time-out

Conceived in 1963 by Fluxus artist Robert Filliou, Art’s Birthday is celebrated around the world on January 17th. This year, Ljudtornet decided to join in – adding Gnesta to the motley sequence of live-streamed and broadcasted performances and happenings taking place from Tokyo to Vancouver via a number of places; Tblisi, Helsinki, Kaunas, Chotěboř, Freiburg, Gent, Villefranche-sur-Mer, London, Swansea, Brooklyn, Edmonton…

arts birthday @ watertower

As darkness fell, the old watertower of Gnesta once more resonated with sound and light; a follow-up on sound/art festival ANTENN 2019. This time, acute sorrow was also present as bushfires raged in Australia; we decided the event be done in benefit for bushfire relief (scroll down for links).

The Art’s Birthday programme included stunning vocal performances and viola played by Anka Draugelates, as well as voice improvisations together with Karin Lindström Kolterud; Julia Adzuki presented a preview from Styx Lament – a project recently realized in the Tasmanian rainforest of Styx Valley, documented by Tomas Björkdal. Patrick Dallard of SymbioLab and I framed the performances with a light and sound installation… Even with the tower unheated, a gracious audience warmed up the space with attentive listening – and finally followed Anka Draugelates in a joyful, improvised chorus circle.

Full-time live documentation:
Art’s Birthday Bushfire Relief Concert (1): Patrick Dallard DJ’ing with dripping water & steam…
Art’s Birthday Bushfire Relief Concert (2): Anka Draugelates playing and singing in response to Watertower; Anka Draugelates and Karin Lindström Kolterud performing Swedish folk song Limu limu lima (0:04:33); Julia Adzuki presenting the Styx Lament project (0:15:00); Anka and Karin voice improvisation (1:00:00); Anka Draugelates solo (1:05:43); joyful closing circle song (1:15:09)

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Art’s Birthday Festive Water Buffet / Helena Hildur W.

For donations to bushfire relief funds:
WIRES Wildlife Rescue
Fire Relief Fund for First Nations Communities

Joaquin Romero, Robert Filliou 1972
Robert Filliou in 1972 (photo: Joaquin Romero)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Meeting

art, grayzone, recent work

Another invitation; another collaboration. At Kulturcentrum Järna, Rudolf Steiner’s mystery dramas will be performed during a five-day event, and a correspondent exhibition engages a number of people from the local arts and crafts scene. Nigel Wells (Virbela Flowforms), Eva-Karin Planman, Sigrid Winkler and I go for co-creating an installation. We choose a space – much like a bridge – where a staircase and two galleries connect with the upper entrance of the large auditorium. The place is central, narrow, open. Nigel makes measurements and sketches. All four of us bring in different components to the process: concepts, such as revelation, playfulness, light, body, image; references – the lamps hanging aloft under the ceiling, the dramatic theme; suggested materials like textiles, water, sand… I could see triangular crystal prisms in the large window facing due west. Mud, says Sigrid, there has to be mud. So, we prepare mudwater from the modelling clay in the workshop of Virbela. We cut and dip fifty metres of nonwoven fabric, and find a drying place in my studio.

Nigel cuts wooden pieces for the frame, Eva-Karin paints them. We calculate and drill holes for the wires. Then comes the mounting; twenty-four prisms hanging in the window, the frame put together and installed. And finally, attaching the veils.

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There it is. A breathing body, a light-and-shadow labyrinth, a crossroads; the Meeting.

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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 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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