A Careful Strike*

17.9.2020–21.2.2021 Programme
7.10.2021–11.12.2021 Exhibition

Recorded talks from the programme can be found here

Opening hours:
Wednesdays and Thursdays 13–18
Saturdays 12–16

Artists: Bini Adamczak, Diana Agunbiade-Kolawole, Black Audio Film Collective (John Akomfrah), Henrik Andersson, Problem Collective, Chto Delat, Harun Farocki, Dora García, Benj Gerdes, Salad Hilowle, Sam Hultin, Ingela Johansson, Hanni Kamaly, Patrick Kretschek, Mattin, Minus Miele, Ruben Nilson, Behzad Khosravi Noori, Gudrun Olsson, Oliver Ressler, Bella Rune, Katarina Pirak Sikku, Iris Smeds, Hito Steyerl, Margareta Ståhl, Hannah Wiker Wikström.

Mint presents A Careful Strike*; a group show that departs from the monumental painting The History of the Workers Movement by the sheet metal worker, musician and artist Ruben Nilson (1893–1971), permanently installed at ABF Stockholm. Painted during a ten year period around 1940. Following a tradition of workers’ art, the collective struggle for emancipation is at the centre of Nilson’s painting. 

The exhibition follows Nilson’s artwork both in its ambition and challenge: What does the reproduction of a movement’s history entail? What different roles can art play in social movements and through which expressions? How is art engaged in today’s movements? A dialogue with the specific struggles and the histories that inform Nilson’s composition of intertwined visual narratives, structured through visible conjoined cuts form the curatorial framework of the exhibition. The works historical connections to contemporary situations are put in relation to what is missing within the frame – the histories and experiences that are left out while establishing a prevalent worker’s history.

A Careful Strike* is an exhibition and a public program (that preceded the exhibition during the fall of 2020), where workers’ art is confronted with Swedish and international contemporary works. The form and history of social movements are reflected through situated experiences of migration, care, exploitation and struggle. Through songs, poetry, talks, and artworks historical events and issues are made visible in a conversation on our current condition. What do we need to remember and what is to be done to win back the future?

*The exhibition borrows its title from the militant feminist collective Precarias a la deriva (Precarious women adrift) 2004. The collective was formed in Madrid in 2002 in reaction to the male-dominated unions that were organising a general strike in reaction to labour law reforms in Spain. Precarias a la deriva wanted to highlight the challenges many face in participating in strikes, due to a reality of precarious employment and a higher burden of reproductive work. They wanted to create a collective situated narrative on the general tendency toward the precarization of life they were experiencing and the ways to revolt and resist in our everyday lives. – Precarias a la deriva, Una huelga de mucho cuidado (Cuatro hipótesis), 2004. 

Curator: Michele Masucci

The exhibition is produced with generous support from The Worker Movement’s Culture Fund, The Swedish Arts Council and The City of Stockholm.

Wael Shawky – Cabaret Crusades

For the first time in Sweden, Wael Shawky’s epic video trilogy Cabaret Crusades is presented, which includes The Horror Show Files (2010); The Path to Cairo (2012) and The Secrets of Karbala (2015). Using 200-year-old puppets and custom-made ceramic figures, a suggestive drama is created that recounts the history of The Crusades from an Arab perspective. The trilogy is inspired by the Lebanese historian Amin Maalouf’s Crusades Through Arab Eyes (1983). The exhibition takes place in a former shop in the centre of Skärholmen, at the invitation of the cultural association Folk.

Thanks to Sfeir-Semler Gallery

A special thanks to Konsthall C for supporting the production

Opening hours:
Mon–wed 12–17
Thurs 12–19
Fri-sat 12–17

Address: Ateljé SKHLM in Skärholmens Galleria, Bredholmsgatan 4 (Next to Kjell & Company)

Image 1: Wael Shawky, Cabaret Crusades: The Secrets of Karbala, 2015.
Video, color, sound, 120 minutes. Courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut / Hamburg

Image 2: Wael Shawky, Cabaret Crusades: The Path to Kairo, 2012.
Video, color, sound. 60:53 minutes. Courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut / Hamburg

Image 3: Wael Shawky, Cabaret Crusades: The Horror Show File, 2010. Video, color, sound, 31:10 minutes. Courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut / Hamburg

Emanuel Almborg – Bildningar

Opening hours:
Wednesdays and Thursdays 13–18
Saturdays 12–16

Later this year, the artist Emanuel Almborg will defend his PhD dissertation at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm with the artistic research project Toward a Pedagogy of the Utopian Image. The main part of the project are the three film works Acorn, The Nth Degree and Talking Hands, which are shown together for the first time at Mint.

Almborg is interested in communist pedagogy, revolutionary psychology, fiction and theatre, to speculate on lost futures and potentials; subjects and methods that are treated in differently in the three works. If we assume that there is a need for new “utopian” political and collective visions, then what role can art play in sketching them? With the help of psychologist Lev Vygotsky, philosopher Evald Ilyenkov, theatre director Konstantin Stanislavski, revolutionary psychiatrist Franz Fanon and science fiction writer Octavia Butler, these works explore artist film’s potential for education, resistance and equality.

Curator: Karin Bähler Lavér.

The films Talking hands and The Nth Degree starts over every full hour, Acorn every 45 minutes.

Nadia Hebson – Scène d’Amour

Exhibition period: March 17–May 29
Opening March 17, 13–18

Opening Hours
Wednesdays and Thursdays 13–18
Saturdays 12–16

In Scène d’Amour, Nadia Hebson presents a multidisciplinary work which continues her exploration of artistic recuperation through intuitive forms. Issuing from the desire to consider alternate Painting histories in the present, over the last decade Hebson has evolved a distinct and idiosyncratic mode of working that merges the role of artist, scholar and curator to realise constellations of objects, apparel, paintings, prints and text that think through the legacies of older peers, whilst making Hebson’s own subjective expression visible. 

In Scène d’Amour the work of Swedish painter, writer, radical anarcho-eco-feminist Monica Sjöö (b.1931 Härnösand d.2005 Bristol) is presented alongside Hebson’s own. In response to the conditions of this current moment and Hebson’s own circumstance as a new mother, the exhibition, rather than offering conclusions, seeks instead to initiate dialogue around Sjöö’s expanded legacy and the intimate relationship between her painting, graphic design, activism and matriarchal scholarship as well as her role as an early exponent of the Goddess movement. Scène d’Amour is intended as both an introduction and an opportunity to pay close attention: where Hebson’s private comprehension of Sjöö’s work can form.

In parallel with the exhibition, Hebson has invited artists, art historians, curators and colleagues/friends to share in company their consideration and responses to Sjöö’s practice through public discussion and a screening. Over the course of the exhibition Hebson will realise new work and text in response to this concentrated period of exchange and contemplation, which will be installed sporadically throughout its duration. 

Nadia Hebson is a British artist and educator based in Sweden. She uses painting, objects, large scale prints, apparel and text, to explore the work and biographies of older colleagues, including: American painter Christina Ramberg, British painters Winifred Knights and Marion Adnams  and most recently, Dora Gordine as part of the Dorich House Museum Studio Residency, Kingston University, London. 

Exhibitions and commissions include Gravidty & Parity &, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne; one on one: on skills, The Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia, EKKM, Tallinn; I See You Man, Gallery Celine, Glasgow; Alpha Adieu, Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp 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 Women’s Art Matter, at the Paul Mellon Centre, London. Nadia Hebson teaches at the Royal Institute of Art Stockholm.

In order to provide for a safe experience of the exhibition in line with the current situation’s social recommendations, we have limited the number of visitors to eight people at a time. Our staff ensures that this is maintained and that visitors keep their distance. Please contact info@m-i-n-t.se to pre-book larger companies.

Thank you Museum Anna Nordlander and the Swedish Labour Movement’s Archives and Library

Factory girls – The Wilful Textile Worker

The artistic project: The factory girls – The wilful textile worker organize an exhibition and  conference at Mint Art Gallery in the ABF building in Stockholm. The conference wants to  highlight and discuss the conditions, knowledge and resistance of women in the textile and home  industry; their willingness and self-will, which is expressed in organization, professional pride and  strategies. During the week, parts of the play Fabriksflickorna – makten och härligheten [The  Factory Girls – The Power and Glory] are reactivated, in an exhibition by Åsa Norman (Sweden)  textile artist, and Frida Hållander (Sweden) PhD, craft artist. The play premiered in Skellefteå  under the direction of Suzanne Osten and Margareta Garpe in 1980.  

In the exhibition, Norman and Hållander show parts of the multi-year artistic project The Factory  girls – The Willful Textile Worker through material and crafts investigations as well as archive  material and sound. Artists and researchers are invited to the conference. They will hold  workshops and presentations to create a Nordic context for an in-depth discussion on textile  production and the home industry.  

The project is carried out with support from the Nordic Culture Fund, The Swedish Arts Grants  Committee, the Helge Ax:son Johnssons stiftelse, Byggnads kulturstipendium, and in collaboration with Iaspis. The exhibition and conference is part of Stockholm Craft Week 2020.

Conference Week Program:  

The conference is taking place in the ABF-house at Sveavägen 41 in Stockholm. The lectures is in  different lecture-halls (see schedule). The lectures will be available to follow online via Zoom and  we take a limited number of people in the audience. Pre-registration for all presentations are via  email to Åsa Norman:  


Wednesday September 30 

The exhibition opens! Opening hours: 16.00-20.00.  

Thursday October 1 Conference day 1, all lectures are in Katasalen at the first floor in ABF huset  

The exhibition is open 12:00-18:00  

10:00-11:30 Introductory presentation and lecture by Åsa Norman (Sweden) textile artist and  Frida Hållander (Sweden) PhD, craft artist, presents the ongoing artistic project Factory girls –  The Willful Textile Workers. Tjia Torpe (Sweden) educator and producer will tell about the play  Fabriksflickorna – makten och härligheten [The Factory Girls – The Power and Glory]. Language:  Swedish. 

13:00-14:30 Leena Enbom (Finland) doctoral researcher in Social and Economic History in the  University of Helsinki. The lecture will shed light on the variations of home industries that  appeared as part of the secondary labour market in the urbanizing Finland from the late 19th century until the 1960s. Additionally, the lecture will discuss the disciplinary functions of the  workhouse and relief work institutions based on the obligation to perform crafts and sewing tasks.  Language: English.

15.00-16:30 Lecture with Malin Nilsson (Sweden) PhD Economic History, researcher at the  Department of Economic History at Lund University. She will present her dissertation Taking work  home: Labor dynamics of women industrial homeworkers in Sweden during the second industrial  revolution (2015). Nilsson’s talk will also focus on how women’s commercial home based textile  production became a highly politicized topic in Europe in the late 19th century. Language:  Swedish.  

Friday October 2 Conference day 2, all lectures are in Katasalen at the first floor in ABF-huset The exhibition is open 12:00-18:00 

10:00-11:30 Sushmita Preetha (Bangladesh) journalist, writer and researcher, together with Karin  Elfving (Sweden) journalist and ethnologist. The lecture will be based on testimonies from textile  workers in Bangladesh were it is describe how their rights are constantly violated, also how  Covid-19 has pushed these workers into further difficulties. Preetha and Elfving will also include  the response from some of the Swedish brands. Language: English.  

13:00-14:30 Lecture with Franz Petter Schmidt (Norway) Associate Professor of Textile Art at  KhiO – Oslo School of Fine Arts, textile artist and artistic researcher. Schmidt will present his  artistic dissertation project Reflection, Weaving Fabrics for Suits (2018), which touches on the  textile factory Sjølingstad Woolen Mill in Norway, and textile industry production through feeling,  longing, belonging, memory, pride and being queer. He will also present an ongoing project on a  diary written from 1925 to 1942 by the weaver Malli Berge. Language: Norwegian.  

15:00-16:30 Emelie Röndahl (Sweden) PhD student at HDK – Gothenburg University in the Arts,  presents her ongoing artistic dissertation project “Crying Pixels: a practitioner’s narrative through  woven rya – aspects of time in hand made practice”. Language: Swedish. 

Saturday October 3 Conference day 3, all lectures are in Hjärtat at the entrance level at ABF huset  

The exhibition is open 12:00-18:00 

11:00-12:30 Munish Wadhia (Sweden) artist, will present his ongoing work on the match industry  Jönköping’s Match Factory AB. Wadhia will also present his work “Signs taken for wonders” in  which he returns to the images and objects that surrounded him during his childhood, but with a  decolonial gaze that questions their given meanings, here he refers to the experience from  different textile factories. Language: English.  

13:00-14:00 Marie Hållander (Sweden) freelance poet and lecturer at Södertörn University.  Hållander will present the literary project “Among the girls and machines of the textile dust”  where she starts from textile stories and archives from Sjuhärad in Västergötland. Language:  Swedish.  

14:00-14:30 Nino Mick (Sweden) poet and writer, they will read an adapted version of a novel in  progress that delas about Berta Bäckman (b. 1860) and other factory worker that works in a match  factory in Tidaholm. The historical novel moves on two times, 1875 the time of the great fire in  the factory where 50 girls perished, 1909 the Swedish general strike. Language: Swedish. 

15:00-17:00 Go-slow action, along Sveavägen, start outside the ABF-house, public performance  led by Frida Hållander & Åsa Norman.  

Sunday October 4 

The exhibition is open 12:00-16:00 

With generous support from Konstnärsnämnden, Nordisk kulturfond, Helge Ax:son Johnssons stiftelse and Byggnads kulturstipendium in collaboration with Iaspis.

Illustration: Hanna Stenman

Konstfack’s Master of Fine Arts Degree exhibition

With: Alexandra Larsson Jacobson, Danae Valenza, David Torstensson Elise Léonin, Ferdinand Evaldsson, Henning Rehnström, Ingrid Gustafsson Jonas Törnkvist, Josefin Jussi Andersson, Luki Essender, Maria Kulikovska Marija Griniuk, Muhammad Ali, Petronella Petander, Tony Karlsson Savci.

When a work is exhibited, it becomes something in the world. It meets an observer, a room, an environment with sound, light, ceiling and walls. In the exhibition, the work is in some way given an unpredictable life. Its effects are tested through that situation. Does it grab us? Does it shake things up? Does it sow seeds in our memories? This is why the exhibition is a natural part of the artistic practise; it puts the implications of existing in the world – as an artist – to the test.

This year’s graduating class in the Master’s Programme in Fine Art gives us an impressive breadth of artistic works to enjoy. These works interpret reality and renegotiate it, distil it through research, actions and listening practices. They take shape through painting, film, sculptures and song. Through radicalism, care and poverty, gestural abstraction, sleeplessness and museology. They show clearly the scope and the thought-provoking potential of the art.

This year, the class has formed a collaboration with the newly established Mint Art Gallery, located in the Workers’ Educational Association (ABF) premises in central Stockholm – a building that opened in the early 1960s and has since then functioned as a centre for self-organised education in the city. This is not a traditional exhibition hall with accommodating white walls and quiet spaces, but instead, an environment that encourages installation in responsive dialogue with existing environments and their own special peculiarities. The works are shown in dance halls, basements and stairwells, through reflections, dialogues and interventions. The exhibition as a practice is thus tested for yet another lap as it approaches the world and its chequered complexity.

Exhibition period
Open June 5th – June 16th

Opening hours
Monday – Friday 10.00-16.00
Saturday and Sunday Closed

In order to provide for a safe experience of the exhibition in line with the current situation’s social recommendations, we have limited the number of visitors to 15 people at a time.

If you want to be sure that you/your company can make a visit at a desired time, please contact mfa2konstfack@gmail.com to reserve a timeslot.

We will have hosts to receive you during your visit and who will keep the count of the number of visitors in the space. It is possible to visit the exhibition spontaneously, with the possibility of having to wait for a short while.

Graphic design: Linda Hallstan

Konstfack in collaboration with ABF Stockholm

I Am Not One

Konstnärer: Anna Andersson, Cara Tolmie, Isak Sundström, Jakob Krajcik, Jenny Bergman, Lina Bjerneld, Magnus Thierfelder Tzotzis, Nacho Tatjer, Nanna Nordström, Nathalie Gabrielsson, Roxy Farhat, Stephen McKenzie, Susanna Jablonski, Zhou Tao

The crisis in the Swedish art world, as a consequence of the covid-19 pandemic and the forced or voluntary isolation experienced by us all, is a reminder that alone we do not feel particularly good. Therefore, five art organisations — Bonniers Konsthall, hangmenProjects, Index, Mint and Signal — are experimenting with a joint project and together have produced the exhibition I Am Not One.

The pandemic is not the theme of this exhibition, but its origin. Through an associative chain of thought, a number of works and artists have been selected by the respective parties. Rather than a concordant curatorial argument, the exhibition can be considered a kind of montage. The works offer angles of approach to the situation we find ourselves in right now. Art is a place for collaborative thinking and it does not back away from what is difficult. Instead of presenting answers or solutions, art allows us to remain with the complicated and paradoxical that permeates our world: existentially, poetically and materially.

This collaboration is one way of drawing attention to our various organisations’ practices and institutional conditions. The crisis currently unfolding in the Swedish cultural sector is probably the worst in modern times and we will need various kinds of help to cope. An evident need of solidarity and support has arisen, as well as a desire to show that art in everyday life must carry on.

Who knows when we may meet again, it will probably be a while yet. But when it is possible, we wish to gather you all for a conversation where everyone is welcome to discuss with us what we want to happen after the crisis. An occasion to examine new forms of collaboration and reflect on the future of art, artists and art institutions. Perhaps this exhibition can be seen as a first invitation.

Please visit Bonniers website for opening hours and to book an appointment for your visit: https://bonnierskonsthall.se/en/

Image: Still from Blue and Red, courtesy of Zhou Tao and Vitamin Creative Space


Thea Ekström accompanied by Milena Bonilla, Eivor Burbeck and Thale Vangen

Hours: Wednesdays, 12-16 (running until May 20th)

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

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.

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

Image: David Wojnarowicz and Marion Scemama, Still from “When I Put My Hands on Your Body”, 1989/2014. Courtesy of Marion Scemama, David Wojnarowicz’s estate and PPOW, New York.

Taking matters into your own hands

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.”