”Abstract Possible”

Tommy Støckel, In My Mind This Goes On Forever, 2012, image: Tensta Konsthall

This exhibition examines the abstract from multiple perspectives: formal, economic, and the contemporary artist’s “withdrawal strategies”––a manipulation of already existing spaces in order to create a “space apart” from the rest of society. Curated by Tensta Konsthall’s new director Maria Lind, the show inhabits revamped space (a triangulated design of energetic yellow and black) and cajoles visitors to reassess their rapport with abstraction as it applies to a changing world influenced by money, politics, and persuasion. Formal treatments of the concept are addressed via diverse media, as in Doug Ashford’s collage work Six Moments in 1967 # 1-6, 2011; José León Cerrillo and Sara Lundén’s The Wittgenstein Suite, 2012, a collaborative performance presenting pop songs honoring Wittgenstein; and Tommy Støckel’s styrofoam sculpture In My Mind This Goes On Forever, 2012.

Debates related to the justification of this exhibition’s “economic abstraction” component have surfaced due to conversations and works such as Goldin+Senneby’s Abstract Possible: An Investment Portrait, Goldin+Senneby with Thea Westreich Art Advisory Services, 2011. This piece features a confidential report withholding an estimate of all existing works in this very show, intended for the buyer’s eyes only, sold at Bukowski’s––an auction house founded by Lundin Petroleum that is at the center of serious human rights abuse allegations according to Kunstkritikk––at a fixed price of $18,000. This experimental gesture of selling works at fixed prices may be appreciated by those who find the art world off-limits, yet it invites one to consider how democracy (or lack thereof) relates to artistic production as clandestine commodity—or a universally accessible venue aspiring to transcend material forces. When is economic abstraction merely an escape hatch from admitting to a specific trajectory of funding? Logic often usurps metarhetorics; “Abstract Possible” tests the limits between ethics and art, inviting an audience to reassess how tactics might be altered to avoid being the elephant in the room.

To see the review in context, click here.

Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA1)

Aslan Gaisumov
Aslan Gaisumov, People of No Consequence, 2016.

For the first Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art, curator Katarina Gregos has chosen to view Latvia as ‘the center of the world,’ where other regions and nationalities become satellites. This is refreshing, for the Baltics have previously been considered to have a peripheral status. More »

Johannes Heldén, “The Exploding Book”

Johannes Heldén
Johannes Heldén, Clouds, 2017.

As one enters the space temporarily designated for Swedish artist and poet Johannes Heldén’s The Exploding Book at Konstakademin’s in Stockholm, one detects that Heldén is receptive to nuance; each creative gesture confirms his dedication to both text and image, expressed with equitable consideration. More »

Malin Gabriella Nordin, “Floating from Within”

Malin Gabriella Nordin, Veil of Dreams, 2017. Image: Gallery Steinsland Berliner.

Stockholm-based artist Malin Gabriella Nordin is one of many Swedish women artists who resort to the basics – or perhaps the old ways, meaning they’re not particularly interested in the digital. More »

“Survival Kit 9”

Andris Eglītis, Laboratory of Poetic Research, 2017. Image: Jacquelyn Davis.

The 9th edition of Survival Kit is orchestrated by a small team of Baltic and Scandinavian curators: Jonatan Habib Engqvist, Solvita Krese and Inga Lāce. All possess a background in organizing independently and within the confines of institutions, which may be their strong point—their fluidity. More »

The 9th Momentum Biennial

Jenna Sutela, Sporulating Paragraph, 2017. Image: Momentum 9.

Momentum 9, taking place in the industrial town of Moss, Norway, is being curated by Ulrika Flink, Ilari Laamanen, Jacob Lillemose, Gunhild Moe, and Jón B.K. Ransu, who together represent the Scandinavian region. With this biennial’s focus on ‘alienation’, the curators joined forces to determine how alien processes and entities are infused in our lives through technological, ecological and social transformations. More »

Klas Eriksson, “Vet din mamma var du e?”

Klas Eriksson
Klas Eriksson, Evidence of Patchwork, 2017. Image: Göteborgs Konsthall.

Swedish artist Klas Eriksson has developed a practice rooted in examining subcultures via works in public spaces and spontaneous performances. With an interest in how power flows and how crowds function, the artist attempts to unpack sociopolitical dynamics using playful tactics. More »

Lovisa Ringborg, “Night Remains”

Lovisa Ringborg
Lovisa Ringborg, Fountain, 2017. Image: Cecilia Hillström Gallery.

In Lovisa Ringborg’s second exhibition at this gallery, the artist upholds the argument that displaying a set of harmonious works can be more potent than a plethora of free-floating entities. More »

Przemek Pyszczek, “1989”

Przemek Pyszczek
Przemek Pyszczek, Public Relief No 6, 2016. Image: Gallery Belenius.

Polish-born, Canadian-raised, Berlin-based artist Przemek Pyszczek displays new works which are primarily sculptural and mixed media, with stints into collage. More »

Ulf Rollof, “Kleptomaniac”

Ulf Rollof
Ulf Rollof, Hungry Stranded, 2016. Image: CFHILL.

Sequestered above the restaurant Nosh & Chow in Stockholm (designed by Barcelona-based Lázaro Rosa-Violán), renowned Swedish artist Ulf Rollof’s current solo exhibition is the last installment in a trilogy that began in Mexico City. More »