Thea Ekström
Milena Bonilla
Eivor Burbeck
Thale Vangen

6.3 – 20.5 2020

Mint, ABF Stockholm, Sveavägen 41, Stockholm

With a language of symbols drawn from personal experiences, magical signs and material history the perspectives are twisted in strange and unexpected ways. Is it Surrealism?

Paintings and inscriptions by Thea Ekströms (1920–1988, Stockholm), video by Milena Bonilla (1975, Bogotá), sculpture by Thale Vangen (1974, Drammen), experimental film by Eivor Burbeck (1926–1965, Stockholm).

The physical world was still there

Milena Bonilla, Elis Eriksson, David Wojnarowicz & Marion Scemama, Armin Lorenz Gerold, Thale Vangen

6.12 – 23.2 2020

Konsthall C, Cigarrvägen 14, Stockholm

The physical world was still there but this exhibition turns its back on it. From a close perspective sound, video, painting and objects share the joy and fear of temporal ecstasy, rush, heat and mental confusion. When someone puts their hands on your body and your blood vessels merge, when the last drink of the sun blurs your mind, when time seems so thick, when the night is in motion.

Hands at work: Scuola Senza Fine

Hands at work: Scuola Senza Fine, part of the film screening programme at Mint that looks at the body’s place in contemporary work. During the evening the film Scuola Senza Fine will be discussed. With Sarah Browne and Jenny Richards. As part of Jenny Richards’ ongoing Phd research project Outsourcing the Body.

Bodies of Care

The first in a series of study sessions that explore practices that reflect and resist the current expansion of commercialized, individualized and outsourced care.

As part of Jenny Richard’s ongoing Phd research project ‘Outsourcing the Body.’

The session shares some of Fathia Mohidin’s research into the strong body in capitalist society and its relation to the aesthetics, politics and labour of the gym. Centred around collective reading and discussion the session draws out the tensions between today’s responsibilising of care on the individual, and the resistance and strength that can be built through training with the help or hindrance of gym machines.

Fathia Mohidin works in various ways with installation, where she often takes sport and fitness as a point of departure to reflect on the body in relation to societal ideas and categorisations. She is currently exploring the strong body in capitalist society, with a focus on the gym and labour. Most recently her work has been shown in the solo exhibition New Geometries at Galleri Nuda (2018) as a part of the project Shaping Resistance, and in the group exhibitions Ndksdwu7jejjf, Biquini Wax EPS, Mexico City (2018); Laboratory Aperto, Asilo Sant’Elia/Fondazione Ratti, Como (2018) and I’m fine, on my way home now, Mossutställningar (2017). Mohidin is pursuing her MFA in Fine Arts at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm.

Taking matters into your own hands

Adriana Monti, Annika Elmqvist, Ben Cain, Benedetta Crippa, Christina Zetterlund, David Price, Edith Hammar, Gunilla Lundahl, Jenny Richards, Johanna Minde, Margareta Ståhl, Patrick Lacey and Sarah Browne.

20.11 2019–18.1 2020

Mint, ABF Stockholm, Sveavägen 41, Stockholm

Taking matters into your own hands is a polyphonic exhibition. It brings together stories, handicraft, making, places, illustrations and artworks which spring from workers’ self-organisation during hours of leisure. With Adriana Monti, Annika Elmqvist, Ben Cain, Benedetta Crippa, Christina Zetterlund, David Price, Edith Hammar, Gunilla Lundahl, Jenny Richards, Johanna Minde, Margareta Ståhl, Patrick Lacey and Sarah Browne.

Taking matters into your own hands
Curator Christina Zetterlund, with Annika Elmqvist and Benedetta Crippa.

This exhibition takes as its departure point the project I Glasriket – människan, miljön, framtiden (In the Kingdom of Crystal, the people, the environments, the future), which took place between 1978–83. The project was an initiative of ABF in Lessbo and Nybro, together with the local trade union (Svenska Fabriksarbetare-förbundets divisions 2, 44 and 122). The project’s objective was for workers to take matters into their own hands, and to tell their own stories. Inspired by Gunnar Sillén’s book Stiga vi mot ljuset (We rise to the light) (1977), and then, later in the project, Sven Lindqvist’s Gräv där du står (Dig where you stand) (1978), over 30 study circles were organised to gather stories about work and life in the many factory towns in Småland. The result was a variety of narratives regarding working life and leisure, conveyed through 21 content-rich books, several exhibitions and a bus tour arranged by Riksutställningar (Swedish Exhibition Agency). The report comprise depictions of everything from working conditions, life around the glassworks, the self-organisation of work, politics, leisure time and community to the position of women in the male-dominated factory towns. We are also made aware of the numerous and lengthy struggles for right and for the self-organisation of communities on their own terms.

Illustration is the central medium of this exhibition, a curatorial choice that stems from the study circles themselves where illustration became a tool for remembering. The 21 books are richly illustrated with the participants’ own drawings. On the left wall of the exhibition the illustrator Annika Elmqvist has interpreted photos from the books in the form of glass paintings. She has created an homage to those who wrote history, to those who’–despite difficult circumstances – came together to organise, to form associations, to build their own spaces, to study and to entertain themselves. The project I Glasriket wrote design history. It told of the conditions of glass making, but also of the important but little known practice of sölning (the making of friggers, also known as whimseys or ‘end of day’ objects). In fact, in the book series we find one of the few texts dealing with this important practice. On the right wall of the exhibition the graphic designer Benedetta Crippa expands this excerpt out into a decorative illustration which describes the many facets of the practice. Sölning is something that glass workers devoted themselves to in their own time, during their lunch break. It was a way to learn glass handicraft, to advance further in the hierarchical production process and to earn extra income. At the same time, for the skilled craftsman the lunch break was an hour of freedom in which to follow their curiosity, to test and experiment. Many glass innovations have their roots in this practice. Here, a material culture was formed which included both practical everyday objects and decorative items. In this exhibition we show some examples of this culture. However, this form of sölning is found in neither museums nor history books –only in the glassworkers’ own homes. They can therefore be thought of as a form of ghost within traditional Swedish design history.In the exhibition you can imagine them through Benedetta Crippa’s illustrations.

“More dust in our houses, less dust in our brains” – The 150 Hours
Organized by Jenny Richards and Sarah Browne, with Adriana Monti

Adriana Monti’s film Scuola Senza Fine [School Without End] is an exploration of a group of women who were part of the important Italian workers’ study movement, 150 Hours. The 150 Hours was the name of a contract that meant workers were entitled to 150 hours devoted to studying on ‘company time’. It was an agreement won by Italian car and steel workers in 1973. The 150 Hours model quickly moved to other industrial sectors, as well as farming, and was later extended to include housewives and the unemployed.

Central to the 150 Hours was that study should be non-vocational, meaning it was not intended to improve productivity at work: rather, it was intended to be paid time to discuss working conditions and feed personal and collective growth. The 150 Hours courses were influenced by the work of Brazilian educator and philosopher Paulo Friere and so were focussed on the reflection of lived experience through oral history, discussion and writing. This was grounded in a critical enquiry into the question of whose knowledge, and what forms of knowledge, are valued in society. Traditionally not part of the factory unions, the significance of the 150 Hours coming to include unpaid women in the home was a radical recognition of cleaning, cooking and caring as work. These women, living outside of urban centres and previously pushed behind the figure of the male worker, like ghosts of the workers’ movement, materialised through 150 Hours and fed their experiences and voices into the growing feminist struggle.

Scuola Senza Fine produces a polyphonic expression of collective experience, where the individual is entwined within the collective, felt vividly during the shared intimacy of eating together during the study sessions. The chance to view this film today at Mint, ABF Huset, built for workers’ education and collectivity, offers a reflection on the history of workers’ struggle. The 150 hours sits in contrast to the image of the worker presented in the painting fixed on the wall in the same room. It also diverges from the contemporary workplace’s offer of individualised care of workers on the job, through discount gym memberships, for example, or a course in mindfulness to deal with stressful working conditions. Such contemporary approaches seek ‘not to change industrialized socio-political structures and environments, but to enable individuals to relate differently to these contexts.’ What strategies are there that build space and time to question what it means to define and refuse the alienating affects of work today?

As part of the ongoing film series Hands at work, organised by the artist Sarah Brown and the curator Jenny Richards, and Richards reseach project Outsourcing the Body.

Scuola Senza Fine is distributed by Cinenova. Cinenova is a volunteer-run charity preserving and distributing the work of feminist film and video makers.

Training – Small Semi-Skilled Tasks: Units of Exchange, Labour of Trying, Useful and Non-Useful Goods, Caring for Cast-Offs
Organised by Patrick Lacey and David Price, with Ben Cain

In conjunction with the opening, a release of artist Ben Cain’s book Uses of Leisure will take place, in collaboration with artist and writer David Price and designer Patrick Lacey (Åbäke). The book is a loose aggregate of Ben Cain’s practice from the past ten years or so, with thirty projects distributed according to a subjective categorisation of work / leisure / rest. He has recurrently explored art’s ambiguous relationship to industry, commodification and immaterial labour, and is interested in how artworks might pose questions about what we think they are doing and, by implication, our role as viewers in their social and cultural production. The project also takes on a spatial form through a portable installation that on the opening day will spread out on the floor of the August gallery room. “Having been made in order to fit into a small suitcase that is then carried from London to Stockholm where the objects are laid out in the form of a street stall, it’s hard for me not to think of the travelling salesman, perhaps even Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman (in part about the links between changing production methods and identity), and ideas about how material is managed and exchanged between people, about how material itself might mediate. The objects shown include products of creative labour and industrial labour, and products that seem to evidence no labour or physical work at all, miraculous objects. Some of the objects on display are actually discarded try-outs taken from wood and steel workshops. These discarded parts have been carefully selected, sand-blasted or polished, and then powder-coated or painted. The method of arrangement involves a type of framing that draws attention to the attempts made in the pursuit of getting something right, learning something, figuring out how to work with tools, materials, and colours. The work is comprised of exercises or sets of found and purpose-made objects – tests, models from an actual workplace and from a workspace in my head. Collectively they present a model of a studio or a nomadic workshop, one which is concerned with labour that isn’t very productive.” With support from Iaspis

Place for craft: Jokkmokk
With Edith Hammar and Johanna Minde

The exhibition also presents contemporary handicraft by Johanna Minde and Edith Hammar – 2019 stipendium recipients of Slöjd Stockholm’s residency ‘Plats för slöjd’ (Place for craft). Their work has taken shape during the autumn in dialogue with Jokkmokk’s local context and landscape, more specifically at the Sami educational centre. The school offers education in duodji/duodje, meaning traditional handicrafts, (leather, textiles, wood/horn); Sami languages: Northern-, Lule-, Ume- and Southern-Sami; reindeer herding and Sami food crafts.

Johanna Minde: “I work with traditional and experimental methods within duodji. Above all I explore the intersection between duodji, design and architecture. During the residency period in Jokkmokk, through various tanning methods I investigated the possibilities of using reindeer skins in design. By preparing skins with variations on the type of process and degree of tanning penetration I have tested the reindeer’s skin’s ability to transmit light.”

Edith Hammar: “The cabinet is built in pine, without screws or hinges, but built with glue and wooden dowels. The motif is quite spontaneous, autobiographical mixed with wishful thinking, just like my drawings in ink. When I was satisfied with a sketch, I used chisels of different sizes to cut out the images. While working in Jokkmokk, I was surrounded by waterways and forests, and I thought a lot about my grandfather, who often told me stories about when he emigrated to Canada for work. His best trick as a log-floater was to go down in the splits with each foot on a log, in the middle of the water.”

Mobilizing Art Criticism

A conversation about the conditions and strategies of cultural workers and the left in times of increasing political restrictions of artistic autonomy, during this year’s Socialist forum at ABF Stockholm.

Athena Farrokhzad, poet, critic and translator
Farnaz Arbabi, director and playwright
Kim West, critic and translator

The conversation will be moderated by Frida Sandström, critic and writer.

Many Hands at Work pt 3

A discussion informed by Nadia Hebson’s work into the Italian feminist, activist, historian and art critic Carla Lonzi’s notion of Resonance. At the time of her death in 1982 Carla Lonzi was working on a book in which she was in conversation with a group of fifteenth-century bluestockings. In this text Lonzi foregrounds her notion of Resonance which she described as as a relationship that can be established between two or more women, who do not necessarily live in the same place or period of time, as a way of seeing ones own experience reflected in the experience of someone else. A form of mutual recognition. Lonzi’s thinking offers a starting point for discussion around new forms of engagement which may draw on paying close attention, polyphony, biography, translation, fiction and auto-fiction, and their collective potential to make visible and audible previously obscured thought and experience.

The evening will see how we might think through resonance in relation to some of the voices, positions and concerns brought up through the film screening series so far, and how it might inform our methods for collective discussion.

Nadia Hebson is an artist and Senior Lecturer at Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. She works across painting, objects, large scale prints, apparel and text through subjective biography most recently exploring the expanded legacies of American painter Christina Ramberg and British painter Winifred Knights, who she conceives as fictional mentors. Her recent exhibitions and commissions include Gravidity & Parity &, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne; one on one: on skills, The Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia, EKKM, Tallin; I See You Man, Gallery Celine, Glasgow; Alpha Adieu, Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, M HKA and Choreography, Arcade, London. In 2014 with AND Public she published MODA WK: work in response to the paintings, drawings, correspondence, clothing and interior design of Winifred Knights (an expanded legacy). In 2017 with Hana Leaper she co-convened the conference, Making Womens Art Matter, at the Paul Mellon Centre, London. She is currently working on a new publication which explores the work of Christina Ramberg and her creative female circle.

Many Hands at Work is part of an ongoing series of film screenings and discussions that looks for the body’s place in contemporary labour relations from intersectional feminist positions, organised by Sarah Browne and Jenny Richards

*Please note the event will be held in English but we will try to support other languages in the room.

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

Inger Ekdahl
Fernando Sánchez Castillo
David Väyrynen

25.9–1.11 2019

Mint, ABF Stockholm, Sveavägen 41, Stockholm

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.

Fernando Sanchez Castillo, Canicas, 2002
Fernando Sanchez Castillo, Canicas, 2002
Fernando Sanchez Castillo, Arquitectura para el Caballo, 2002.
Inger Ekdahl, Utan titel, olja på duk
Inger Ekdahl, Utan titel, olja på duk

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.

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

Hands at Work (part 2)

Sarah Browne and Jenny Richards continue their series of screenings at MINT, exploring the body’s place in contemporary work. This time they will show: Rehana Zaman; Tell me the story Of all these things, Tina Keane; In Our Hands, Greenham and Ralph Lundsten & Rolf Nilson; Främmande Planet.