Praise of the day to you, who was happy with a thank you, and who said next time it could be me

Mint’s second show is a composition in three parts. It is about going your own way morally, as an artist and as a human being. Where is the integrity in our thoughts and actions? This is what the works ask and answer, by examples of small engagements: in spheres, rolling globes and gathering circles.

Inger Ekdahl (1922–2014, Ystad)

Untitled, 1970s, 80×80 cm, oil on canvas
Untitled, 1985, 60×60 cm, oil on canvas
Untitled, year unknown, 60×60 cm, oil on canvas
Untitled, 1974, 44×44 cm, oil on canvas
Untitled, 1970s, 58×58 cm, oil on canvas

Inger Ekdahl is one of the pioneers of Swedish modernism. In 1963 she was part of Sveagalleriets exhibition ’11 Swedish Artists’. The show was curated by art critic Eugen Wretholm who wanted to highlight ”the bold outsiders” in the Swedish art-scene. The eleven participants, among them Oskar Reutersvärd, Lizzie Olsson and Folke Treudsson, were described as a diverse group of practitioners who had chosen to deviate from the staked out paths of commercial success. In the curatorial statement at the time Ekdahl is described as “a meditative spontaneist”, framing her methodical duality of controlled composition and spontaneous elements which became the hallmark of her practice. After the World War II, Ekdal moved to Paris where she got in contact with Jean Arp (1886-1966), Victor Vasarely (1906-97) and representatives from the art collective De Stiljl, among others. These connections became formative for her artistic development and she remained plugged into the international modernist art-scene throughout her life. In Ekdahls works from the 60s she often used a modified vacuum cleaner which she used to blow paint on the canvases, resulting in multilayered paintings in muffled tones. At Mint, paintings from the 1970s and 1980s are shown. Here, the expressionism of the 1960s has made way for a period of strict geometrical experiments with light, Ekdahl referred to these paintings as systematical compositions. The depictions of fan-like patterns and circles are unique, which create optical illusions and resemble glowing points in motion.

Following Ekdahls passing in 2014 her artistic estate was donated to Ystad konstmuseum.

Thanks to Ystad konstmuseum and Galerie Nordenhake.

Fernando Sánchez Castillo (b. 1970, Madrid)

Arquitectura para el caballo (Architecture for Horses), 2002, video, 5’30” Canicas, 2002, glass beads

A man mounted on a white Iberian horse trots (or dances) through the corridors of Universidad Autonoma in Madrid. The architecture of the school has a special history. The new university is strategically located on the outskirts of Madrid, which made it easy to isolate, and also close to the headquarters of the army. The school’s construction began shortly after the student uprising of 1968, during which students and unionized workers protested against the fascist regime of Franco. The university was inaugurated by Franco himself. The building was created in a grid, and was planned to contain no venues for social interactions, with easy access for police interventions by horse. At later uprisings horses rode through these halls and corridors, and were trained to be to be able to sprint stairs. In the 2002 video Arquitectura para el caballo Fernando Sánchez Castillo takes an interest in the relation between the building and the body of the animal. Its an easy demonstration of the architecture of power. In the installation Canicas (2002) thousands of glass beads are presented. This is also part of the history of the building, during the 1970s the students spread marbles through the corridors of the faculties, thus temporarily preventing police from riding in on their horses.

David Väyrynen (b. 1983, Gällivare)

Ni är guld värd, 2019, poem
Readers: Mathias Väyrynen, Lena Sjötoft, Berndt Wäyrynen, Miriam Vikman, Karl-Erik Taivalsaari

Med andra ord, 2019, poem
Readers: David Väyrynen, Pernilla Fagerlönn

Konferenstal, 2019, poem
Reader: David Väyrynen

In the Moa-gallery at Mint there is a listening station with new commissioned poetry by David Väyrynen. Med andra ord [In other words], Ni är guld värd [You are worth your weight in gold] revolves around the example of the good deed, but also around the frustration that can arise as fewer and fewer people engage in nonprofit organisations. The first poem consists of an enumeration of thank yous, big and small, conveyed in the seemingly banal form of submissions to the “Praise of the Day”- a section of a newspaper, where life in all its fragility can be presented. The other puts forward a polemic, stressing the importance and unbearable vulnerability of Sweden’s associations and study circles. Konferenstal [Conference speech] is performed during the opening of the exhibition. David Väyrynen (b. 1983) comes from Hakkas in Gällivare and is a laborer, local politician and poet. In 2017 he published the noted poetry collection Marken, which through prose, songs, sermons and lists, depicts the region of Malmfälten, and two major popular movements fundamentally influencing its culture and mentality: the in-church Laestadian revival and the Socialist Workers Movement.

Degree Exhibition 2019 Konstfack: Full House

This year, the Degree Exhibition has been curated by Emily Fahlén and Asrin Haidari whose method is to dig where they stand and, through dialogue with the surrounding context, understand the site’s specific relationships, historical connections, conflicts and opportunities.

The exhibition is taking place in every imaginable nook and cranny of the school – in the basement, library and Mandelgren lecture hall, in corridors and studios. As a visitor, we want you to be able to move freely between the different spaces. The school’s various disciplines are separated in order to provide some clarity over the diversity of expressions that is Konstfack.

In the works by 179 students, it is of course difficult to trace a common theme, but they include an interest in translation as an artistic practice, the language of emotions, the slow processes of craft and the role of design in the age of climate change. At the same time, we have actively chosen to look for where in the school the critical discourses take place, in which spaces and from which perspectives they occur. One such example is the POC student collective Brown Island. The cross-disciplinary group arranges exhibitions and has recently published a handbook with lessons on decolonising processes in educational environments, Brown Island in the White Sea: A Handbook for a Collective Practice. As part of the Degree Exhibition, we have, in dialogue with the group, allowed texts from the book to sneak into the exhibition’s infrastructure. With this intervention, we as curators wish to highlight a greater issue about a school’s historiography and how initiatives such as these can rub off on an institution’s existing structure. What stories are hidden in the school’s architecture, systems and inhabitants?

The air which the autonomy of the people breathe

Mint’s first exhibition looks at a subject fundamental to our lives – both as critical beings, and for our recuperation: time after work. The different works relate to the theme in direct and indirect ways, through both documentary and abstract expressions. They are about transformation, hobbies, reading and resting. They are about stretching, furnishing, educating oneself and remembering. Quiet reflections on the materials and settings of leisure but also the societal premises which enabled them in the first place. Pension, holidays and time off are the fruits of the struggles of the workers movement – the basis of rest was won by fighting. The exhibition could be seen as a situation of different ideas being started, a place which, like leisure itself, is allowed to chose its own strange roads – perhaps unclear, maybe meaningful, perhaps in time becoming crucial. Or in the words of Gregor Paulsson, initiator of a significant 1936 exhibition of ideas about leisure in southern Sweden: “Leisure is the premise of freedom, the air which the autonomy of the people breathe.”

Participating artists: Giorgi Gago Gagoshidze, Patrick Kretschek, Susanna Jablonski, Ruben Nilsson, Måns Wrange, Erik Öberg, Margareta Hallek, Hans Tombrock & Bertolt Brecht, Helena Lund Ek, Enno Hallek and unknown artist.

Download the exhibition guide

Gunilla Palmstierna-Weiss ‘Vivid Scenes 1964–1984’

Gunilla Palmstierna-Weiss, born in 1928, has operated in the interface between stage design and visual art – in close dialogue with the international scene of intellectually and politically committed cultural workers. Born in Switzerland, raised in the Netherlands and Austria, she came to Sweden at the end of the Second World War.

Palmstierna-Weiss belonged to the circle of artists and creative workers at the centre of Moderna Museet and its activities that were emerging in the early 1960s. Her commitment to art and politics has involved her in student riots, liberation struggles and cultural hubs all over the world, and always, somehow, in the midst of where it was all happening.

Gunilla Palmstierna-Weiss is primarily known as a stage designer, a profession that is largely characterised by collective processes of negotiation and collaboration. Drawing and architectural models, however, are two activities that comprise a private creative space. This is particularly striking in Palmstierna-Weiss’ practice: her drawings and models are meticulous, exuding a delight in the media, encapsulated in time, research and ideas. They stand out as works in their own right, and this exhibition gives you the opportunity to experience them outside the context of the theatre.

Her imagery is strongly influenced by the aesthetics of the Dutch De Stijl movement and the German Bauhaus school’s architectural programme, both in the symbolic function of colours and the approach to stage design – where each object and detail must serve a purpose. These schools also propounded the idea of artistic mobility; Palmstierna-Weiss’s practice crosses genres and disciplines, continuously interweaving art, crafts, technology and reflection. Her professional career began in the field of ceramics and sculpture, specialising on public embellishments, a practice she continued to pursue alongside her stage design.

Apart from their aesthetic qualities, her drawings are deeply personal, expressing absurdism, lunacy, humour and darkness. In visual dramas, the individual characters perform grimaces, movements and physical ailments, along with collective situations where bodies build spaces in gatherings, armies and organisations.

A rich and extensive selection of her oeuvre is presented in the Pontus Hultén Study Gallery. This is Gunilla Palmstierna-Weiss’ first solo exhibition at Moderna Museet.

Luleå Biennial 2018: Tidal Ground

After lying dormant for five years, Scandinavia’s first art biennial was resurrected 2018 with Emily Fahlén, Asrin Haidari and Thomas Hämén as new artistic directors. Konstfrämjandet [The People’s Movements for Art Promotion] was the initiator.

The programme was spanning over a vast geographical area with art events and exhibitions in Luleå, Boden, Jokkmokk as well as in Kiruna and Korpilombolo. 37 artists participated in, eight of which contributed especially with commissioned works. The biennial also presented performances and public artworks, and arranged film programmes. In addition, an international conference on anti-fascist organisation among activists, artists and thinkers took place towards the end of the exhibition period.

Never did they know
what the conditions afford
in the darkness of winter
 *

In the darkest months of the year, November through February, Sweden’s northernmost territory, Norrbotten, sees only six hours of daylight. The Luleå Biennial 2018 coincides with this period, and therefore we have taken the darkness of the region as both a necessary and generative premise for our work and thinking.

The title of the biennial, Tidal Ground, refers to the gravitational force of the sun and moon—also known as body tide—that causes the earth’s solid surface to stir in a movement parallel to that of the oceans. Light and darkness take the place of one another in rhythmic unison with the surrounding landscape. The geographical position of Norrbotten, with its proximity to Finland and Russia, has historically made the area an active military zone. A loaded and strategic frontier from which a whole town, surrounded by five fortresses, emerged from the land to defend it against intruders. This area is rich in water, iron ore, and wood. The extraction of these resources has left deep wounds: silent rapids, gaping pits, a city collapsing into the ground. What role does darkness play in such stories?

The concept of darkness has predominantly negative connotations of fear and destruction. The biennial asks questions about what “dark times” may be said to entail: that social and political forces are also going through a period of tidal movement? Or that darkness is an ever-present condition for us to navigate? Can it, in that case, be understood as a projected space? A space that becomes one with time, where the senses are heightened and new contours may slowly become visible?

With Norrbotten’s landscape as our point of departure, and greatly inspired by its contemporary poets, a series of related exhibitions will open in Luleå, Boden, Jokkmokk, Kiruna, and Korpilombolo. Works about muted waterfalls, a fictional wilderness, and waiting for a war that fails to commence, draw parallels to similar stories in other mountains, at other riverbanks and seas. There are works that arise from particular geographies, and others that tie themselves to dreams and let go of the ground. The landscape is a stage where power and abuse play out, but also a place in which we might discover something new about ourselves. What else might we learn from the landscape, its rhythms and its tides? Can we find resistance there?

*from Linnea Axelsson’s epic poem Aednan (2018)

www.luleabiennial.se