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Archive for the ‘time-out’ Category

November came and went… I got a few days in the studio, but most of the time was spent carrying out commissions in nearby city Södertälje and rural village Gnesta. First, I did this Dreams workshop at Södertälje konsthall – together with curator-educator Sarah Guarino Florén – where partaking teenagers shared daydreams and night dreams, making conceptual self portraits (a homage to contemporary artist Anna Sörenson!) and a huge, gold-laced dream catcher…

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Dream workshop with secondary school students at Södertälje konsthall; photo HHW.

…and then, I suddenly found myself being the organizer of a very unique event in Gnesta: the world premiere of True Intention, a short documentary film by Ronnit Hasson about branding artist Linda Nordfors and Art Agency Reflection Company. This came about because of my involvement with Långsjö teater – a regional theatre group in Gnesta, the village close to my homeplace where also Ronnit and Linda are based. My undertaking at the theatre is to develop the Artist-in-Residence and community work… and, well – this was a collaboration too appealing not to explore…

True Intention invites us to follow an art project with focus on sustainability; the artist reflects upon and re-interprets the brand of BillerudKorsnäs – a leading paper packaging and pulp company. Linda’s response comes out as the ingenious design of a series of objects such as fashion dresses, director’s chairs, a history cabinet and pine tree trunks – all made from various kinds of paper. The artefacts end up forming a pedagogical space at the Swedish National Museum of Science and Technology… and the BillerudKorsnäs staff are left with new ideas about sustainability, innovation and corporate identity.

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The film documentary mirrors this fascinating hybrid process, mapping out a place where sustainable innovation, philosophy, enterprise and pedagogy fuses into art. But that’s just half the story; while realizing her project, Linda engages a number of local entrepreneurs, job seekers, trainees and craftspeople in Gnesta.

And so, it made a lot of sense to launch the premiere right here. We set the date to Sunday, November 20th… and, to really make a statement, we decided to have two screenings, each followed by a panel discussion; the first one on Cultivating Sustainability by Enterprise, and the second on Cultivating Sustainability by Art. From the day the idea arose, we had little more than three weeks to realize the project. And we did it!

Here’s a few photos from the double event – the first screening at local cinema Elektron, featuring Linda and Ronnit together with councillor Johan Rocklind (municipality of Gnesta), Daniel Lundqvist (NAV Sweden), Gustav Edman (Fabel Kommunikation) and Emilia Rekestad (REALS), moderated by cultural advisor Carina Nilsson (municipality of Gnesta); and the second one at Långsjö teater matching the artists with Magdi Beky Winnerstam (artistic director at Långsjö teater), Anna Emmelin (Albaeco), artist and curator Paula von Seth, and cultural advisor Carina Nilsson (here representing the municipality), with myself moderating…

All event photos by Artur Kowalski. And many, many thanks to everyone involved!

Cultivating Sustainability by Enterprise; panel discussion at cinema Elektron.

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Local contributors and participants in True Intention documentary – on stage at Elektron!

Cultivating Sustainability by Art; panel discussion at Långsjö Teater.

Good collaborations are truly nourishing. Which was my good luck, by the way… because on the very next day (hardly having slept), I plunged into another workshop at Södertälje konsthall. Once more, I had the pleasure to team up with Sarah Guarino Florén – gracefully improvising together, on the firm ground of embodied knowledge. This week, our coworkers were fifth-graders and the workshop theme was Words and Images. We put forward the task of re-inventing language – without letters! – and gathered inspiration from emojis, roadsigns, Chinese characters and Bliss symbols… and Rudyard Kipling’s story How the First Letter Was Written. The response was immediate; not one single kid sidestepped the challenge. Through the week, we read dozens and dozens of inventive messages about pets and Christmas wishes, vacation trips, parents fleeing from war zones, love for family and friends and a mother falling ill… Their creativity was impressive, but even more so was the sincereness; both in writing, and in reading each others’ scripts.

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Words and Images workshop – lunch break, tracks remaining; photo HHW.

In all of this, I did find some time for painting and a project of my own; but that’s quite another story…

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accessing the Nameless Storeys

So, last year I joined the crew of 100+ artists who set the scene for Satan’s Democracy; a  piece of immersive theatre – equally playful & dead serious – based on Bulgakov’s novel Master and Margarita and inspired by Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More in New York… Three floors of a former office building transmuting in a creative flow of consumeristic debris, human-sized dolls, graffiti galore, UV-light installations and fresh asphalt (not to mention a minor forest of birch-trees)… The construction of my own contribution, the Passage Room, can be seen here. Once, it was a brightly-lit space where office workers gathered around the photocopier; distorted angles, thick felt walls, semi-transparent shadowscreens and black sand covering the floor turned it into a tiny maze where people actually get lost at times…

The whole project was conceived, produced, curated and directed by some truly audacious people: Jimmy Meurling, Py Huss-Wallin and Andreas Blom. They  couldn’t know it would end up a success, but it did – every single performance got sold-out. Furthermore, the  demolishment of the building (scheduled for the summer of 2016) got postponed… so why not keep on playing?

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Woland Presents: Part Two: Satan’s Delirium…  The grand opening was couple of weeks ago, now playing until Dec 31st (some few spare tickets still available)… The public, provided with masks and flashlights, find their way through a darkness mimicking the satanic delirium of a Prosecutor run amok, haunted by Woland (embodied by Otto Milde and Angela Wand). As for the Passage Room; since four out of five spotlights were removed, it’s really dark… so I have adapted it a bit, mainly by adding more mirror shards.

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161005-14bfrom the Passage Room, updated October 2016

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160627 (under arbete) b…and I’m free. Birds are still singing, sun is warm. Clouds passing. Future’s come. And, here’s the text (in Swedish, with English abstract):

Thinking Practises; the Artwork Reconstituted as Essay

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160627; graphite pencil on paper, 28 x 21 cms

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Lunch is served and finished at Fondazione Cini. Journalists, photographers, curators, artists… everyone disappears. It’s time to take a break, a walk, a nap, a shower – preparing for the evening’s opening party. I return to the exhibition venue, now quiet and abandoned, to listen to the artworks.

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From Israel/One: “One”, by Raafat Hattab (as seen from frontside and backside).

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From Syria Off Frames: “A Woman and Crow Under the Tree in Front of the Window”; a video by Nidal Hassan.
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From Israel/One: “Minute Flower Arrangement”, Ella Amitay Sadovsky

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From the Swedish collection: works by Ulrika Jansson, Makode Linde, Victor Marx, Ruben Wätte and Alvaro Campo (among others).

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The format of Imago Mundi is strict: each curator is contracted to collect a number of representative works from a defined geographic area – usually a nation, but sometimes a group of countries, a single city (Vienna) or a native territory such as the Kalahari. Each invited artist receives a framed canvas 10 x 12 centimeters, and is free to alter it by any chosen artistic technique; the result has to fit into the pre-designed display system, though. Each geographical collection is given a title by the curator. I remember some of them, holding an open or concealed statement: Syria Off Frames; Israel/One; North Korea, A Unique Country; The Andinian Gaze; Tibet: Made by Tibetans. The Swedish collection is presented under the title Archive of Visions and Actions – a very apt one.
Although the conditions of this project may well be questioned from several aspects, I find the body of artworks not only overwhelming by quantity but also surprisingly interesting. But a press review isn’t really the ideal instance for experiencing the art… I’ll have to return later.

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Sitting on the quay at Isola San Giorgio Maggiore, dipping my feet in the water, waiting for the press conference to begin. This is the opening day

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for a permanent exhibition of more than 6000 artworks from all inhabited continents on the globe. It’s also a release event for the book presenting the Swedish part of the collection (in which I contribute). Look,

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there’s the Swedish curator Paula von Seth. We – the artists – gather around her trying to get a clue, while the photographers are clustering in front of the man in the blue jacket. Photo session finished, he invites us into the Fondazione Cini to present this project of his:

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the Luciano Benetton Collection Imago Mundi.
More to follow…

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150831 02b 150831 03b 150831 04b 150831 05bIt’s Venice, the vaporetto is pulling up – and what next? Sorry I’m just off for the opening… Be back later…

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