“Runaway Train”

Jenny Lindblom
Jenny Lindblom, Untitled (Limited Ambition), 2010, image: Bonniers Konsthall

Every spring at Bonniers Konsthall, an effort is made to share the work of emerging Swedish artists  that are considered to be cutting-edge, contemporary, and altogether de rigueur. The curators this round tried a different spin; they chose to focus on the works of eleven Swedish artists who now make work and reside outside Sweden—in other words, expatriates who have chosen to produce work under the influence of other cultures. Which begs the question: what makes these artists Swedish anyway? (Though nationality as an aesthetic construct has long passed out of vogue at places such as the Whitney Museum of American Art or at the Venice Biennale where Liam Gillick last represented Germany.) When examined more closely, does an artist possess a right or responsibility to identify with one’s origin, considering morphing notions of immigration, homeland and patriotism? More »

Tony Matelli, “The Constant Now”

Tony Matelli
Tony Matelli, The Constant Now, 2010, image: Andréhn-Schiptjenko

“The Constant Now,” Tony Matelli’s fourth solo exhibition at this gallery, presents five new sculptures and three paintings that are reminiscent of his previous explorations. For example, there are obvious similarities between his sculpture Josh, 2010, and Sleepwalker, 2001: Both eerily depict displaced human figures and appear to be conspicuous mockeries. This show more fully formulates a question that his earlier work touched on: What particular value can be found in art that overstates a seemingly directionless, wasted state of being? More »

Tom Friedman, “Up In The Air”

Tom Friedman
Tom Friedman, Up In the Air, 2009, mixed media, dimensions variable, image: Christian Saltas

The first solo exhibition in Scandinavia by the Leverett, Massachusetts–based artist Tom Friedman is titled “Up in the Air,” and it asks for a heightened consideration of what consitutes a meaningful experience, in hopes of upgrading the possibilities of artistic production. Although some might find Friedman’s work inaccessible or view it as the output of someone with too much free time, such reactions perhaps bespeak a certain impatience and ingratitude toward what we have and what we are, stances that risk locking us into the predicament of feeling disconnected from current artmaking strategies. It can be difficult to appreciate an artist’s motivations when they seem unaffected by some mutually shared reality. Yet Friedman is sensitive to the gaps that inhere in subjective interpretation, leaving room for self-navigation. More »

Fredrik Söderberg, ”We Pray to the Sun and Hail the Moon”

Fredrik Söderberg
Fredrik Söderberg, Mandragora, 2009, watercolor on paper, 28 x 38, with frame: 53 x 43 cm, image: Milliken Gallery

This striking collection of Fredrik Söderberg’s watercolour paintings, entitled ‘We Pray to the Sun and Hail the Moon’, may inspire engaged viewers to question their relationship with infinity and perhaps even dissuade some from swallowing the world’s investment with spiritual redemption or continuing to embrace a detached narcissism. Söderberg’s charm lies in his explorative mapping of self-reflective spiritualisms, as well as in his ability to create provocative microcosms inspired by our own spheres—even if his works may appear cryptic to some. More »

“This is Art”

svejsan
Lucky Thief, Various Sculptures, 2005-2009, various sculptures, painted wood, image: Galleri Jonas Kleerup

Curated by Valdemar Gerdin, “This Is Art” is a provocative examination of not just art but more specifically street art in Northern Europe and its variegated relationships abroad. Oddly enough, Gerdin’s show is on no street, but rather: in Tegnérgatan’s Galleri Jonas Kleerup, and though this colorful patchwork hints at its graffiti roots, it is sometimes difficult to imagine the presentations of Sweden’s famed, creative undercurrent—namely represented here by Seen, John Fekner, Don Leicht, Faile, and Bast—thriving on any Stockholm street or elsewhere in Sweden. Yet, this is no fault of any artist in question, for Sweden has a history of frowning upon graffiti art, pushing the genre into awkward invisibility. More »