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. These artists (another would be Alexandra Karpilovski) only peripherally integrate technology, video and film in their art, choosing instead to sketch, paint, draw and sculpt – to use their hands on a fundamental level. Their works are often the highlight of music events or film festivals, because they enjoy crossing boundaries into less institutionalised spheres; they even collude with Swedish pop stars or reputable fashion designers. (For instance, Nordin’s vibrant paintings are interspersed in LIV’s music video for Wings of Love, 2016). Nordin works well within diverse mediums: painting, illustration, sculpture and installation; across them, her craft reflects a cultivated interest in abstraction and experimenting with form. Her signature works, though, are intricate collages, which come in two styles: bold and extreme, or subtle and pastel-shaded, highlighting the complexity of femininity and beauty. Yet this solo show highlights a new selection of paintings, drawings and sculptures that accentuate her motif.

Nordin has a playful spirit. Her work does not follow those traditional or ‘learned’ tracks of expression that are often the unfortunate byproduct of attending art schools with more conventional mentors. Even though she attended Bergen’s National Academy of the Arts, she may be an anomaly. At the same time, her work possesses a timeless quality, and one might misidentify it as early-twentieth-century modernism: a wavering blend of Expressionism, Orphism and Fauvism, tempered with a degree of abstraction. In the painting Szemes (all works 2017), two entrancing female figures lounge in a blissful intimate daze, hands meeting at the apex of a centrally located sculpture of three orbs. These women are untainted by pain or unavoidable circumstance, instead inhabiting some lush paradise. They seem to have mastered escapism; the artist may be suggesting fantasy and utopia as attainable goals. The large-scale painting Veil of Dreams is a strong presence here, its shapes resembling – depending on one’s perception – luxuriant flowers, a partial female silhouette or a multilayered landscape.

A collage can be perceived as a simple gesture, yet Nordin’s earlier collage work harbours an architectural quality where textures overlap, something to hold onto amid the works’ fragmented, asymmetrical compositions. Both those collages and the displayed works (paintings in flashe, felt pen drawings, sculptures) share a quality of diffidence: neither domineering or authoritarian, they instead seduce with sensitivity – both on their own and collectively, as certain associations bounce around the space. Though Nordin is not known for landscapes, all of her work possesses a scenic quality that refers to the natural world, as in the tessellated patterning of the painting It’s Green Silent Peace, whose title reflects its dominant colour. The power and influence of alternative realms appears in Floating from Within, where an intermingling of the secular and phantasmagorical feels to be occurring, the painting’s distorted figure caught up in meditative thought or prayer yet also immersed in the scene.

Throughout, Nordin expresses herself via a delicate interplay between shape, form and texture that leads her out of the realm of representation. The form supports her implicit content: here respective meaning and interpretation are neither fixed nor static, but rather transformational and spectral. The artist, accordingly, cajoles viewers to reevaluate their position in relation to both the world and other entities, and emphasis seems to be placed on the continuous process of becoming via gathered knowledge and experience. Nordin’s work, in this regard, is not premeditated but intuitive, sensory, reactive. If she gets too comfortable with a certain creative trajectory, she has been known to shift gears or simply abandon the notion altogether; and sure enough, that whimsical trait is evident here, as the show pivots to the curvilinear yet piecemeal compositions of her aluminium sculptures Figures 1–3. It’s the work of an artist who, for all her art’s aesthetic appeal, can’t live without discomfort and awkwardness.

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Edgar Cleijne & Ellen Gallagher, “Better Dimension”

Edgar Cleijne & Ellen Gallagher
Installation view. Image: Jacquelyn Davis.

Presenting collaborations between Dutch artist Edgar Cleijne and US artist and filmmaker Ellen Gallagher, ‘Better Dimension’ at Stockholm’s Bonniers Konsthall includes experimental works that provide socio-political commentary on US history and race relations from a cosmic, obscure distance. More »

Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA1)

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

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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 »