BECOMING
Sissi Westerberg
7 september – 13 oktober 2013

UPPSALA KONSTMUSEUM

Sissi Westerbergs[1] separatutställning på Uppsala konstmuseum – Becoming – har en tydlig riktning. Den ställer frågor. Den undersöker. Den är empirisk men bygger samtidigt på en tradition. Man kan säga att den ”andra vågens feminism”, från 1970-talet och framåt, har utvecklat ett nytt konstnärligt förhållningssätt, nya arbetsmetoder, ny estetik och nya perspektiv hos en hel generation samtidskonstnärer. Där hakar Sissi Westerberg i. Hennes konstnärliga arbete visar tydliga referenser till viktiga feministiska konstnärer som Janine Antoni (f 1964) och tidiga kvinnosakskämpar som Virginia Woolf (1882 – 1941). Ibland är Sissi Westerbergs kommentar till sina föregångare så tydlig att man kan tala om flera verk som ”hommager”. Hon lyfter fram historiskt förankrade frågeställning i en samtida kontext med utgångspunkt i personligadrömmar och undermedvetna drifter. Det traditionellt feministiska interagerar med samtida konsumtionskritik och identitetskris och lyfts dessutom fram genom den genuint mänskliga kroppen. Sissi Westerbergs konst är framförallt kroppslig till sin metod och sitt uttryck.
 
Becoming är såväl utställningens titel som benämningen på en serie verk som hon har arbetat med en tid. Man kan säga att det började med hennes arbete med smycken och ornament. Hon ville röra sig i gränslandet mellan det artefaktiska och det av naturen givna ornamentet, mellan former skapade av människor för att dekorera och markera avstånd från naturen och de mer ”oönskade” kroppsliga ornamenten, som t ex kroppsöppningar och kroppsvätskor. Hon använde former som både tycktes förföriskt attraktiva men samtidigt påminde om de mest tabubelagda delarna av människokroppen. Som om kroppen flutit ut från den skyddande huden och de döljande kläderna och blev till broscher och halsband.
 
Som en förlängning av temat har Sissi Westerberg skapat en karaktär, en medelklasskvinna iklädd trenchcoat. Hon har figurerat i ett antal performanceverk som bl a har uppförts  genom Rejmyre Art Lab där Sissi Westerberg är co-director. Man kan se denna kvinnokaraktär som provocerar och provoceras av gränsdragningen mellan natur och kultur, mellan objekt och abjekt, mellan norm och tabu. Videodokumentären Drawing a Line gjorde succé på Liljevalchs vårsalong år 2011. Den visar en performance där kvinnokaraktären målar en chockrosa linje på en vägg med sin egen kropp. Hur det går till och vilken del av kroppen som utgör hennes pensel lämnas obesvarat.
Kvinnan i trenchcoat rör sig på den yttersta gränsen mot att släppa fram de mest djuriska krafterna inom sig, att släppa taget och att sluta vara sansad. Vad skulle hända om det djuriska i henne tog över, eller om naturen tog över henne, tog tillbaka henne?, frågar Sissi Westerberg.
 
Genom den USA-baserade konstnären Janine Antonis kroppskonst hittar vi fram till fler aspekter av Sissi Westerbergs arbete. Kroppen som objekt och som redskap. När Janine Antoni målade gallerigolvet med sitt hår som pensel och hårfärgningsvätska som målarfärg (Loving Care, 1992) lyfte Sissi Westerberg fram temat på nytt i verket Drawing a Line.
 
När Janine Antoni skulpterade med sina tänder i choklad och fett (Gnaw, 1992) arbetar nu Sissi Westerberg vidare med sitt nyaste verk, Ett eget hus, och skulpterar med sina egna tänder, i trä, en liten hydda som passar perfekt till hennes egen kropp och kroppsmått. 
 
Virginia Woolfs essä A Room of One´s Own (1929) handlar i mångt och mycket om behovet hos alla skapande människor att ha ett eget livsrum och naturligtvis i kvinnornas fall även en personlig grundtrygghet och jämlikhet. Sissi Westerberg uttrycker i verket Ett eget hus ett direkt fysiskt behov av att ha det egna rummet men hon vet inte riktigt varför. Ger rummet henne frihet eller är det en bur? Det är själva driften att skapa det som styr hennes handlande.
 
I serien av verk som benämns I am Open ställs frågor om design av vardagliga föremål. Varför ser de ut som de gör? Varför liknar de inte oss människor? Konstnären testar en tanke om att funktionalismens formspråk syftade till att avlägsna oss från naturen, genom det enkla och avskalade, oornamenterade och minimalistiska, blir vi mer mänskliga och mindre hotade av det oordnade och förgängliga. I flera verk utsätter konstnären oss även för kroppsliga och köttiga ”tabun”. Hon gör kroppen till ännu mer kropp. Varför är det svårt för oss? Vilka tabun och kulturella arketyper får oss att både förföras och att äcklas?
 
För att citera den franske filosofen Gilles Deleuze (1925 – 1995); konsten är vårt sätt att skapa nya erfarenheter – via affekter. Så arbetar även Sissi Westerberg, hon lyfter fram och låter tabubelagda ämnen skava i gränsen mellan attraktion och affekt.
 
Becoming är en utställning om ”att bli till”, att möta sig själv och att röra sig framåt.
 
ELISABETH FAGERSTEDT
Museichef/curator
Uppsala konstmuseum


[1] Sissi Westerberg är född 1975 och hon är vid bl a konstfackskolan i Stockholm. Hon är verksam i Sverige och en rad andra länder. (se CV.)

Sissi Westerberg - Becoming

Allmänt Kommentera

 



 
BECOMING
Sissi Westerberg
7 september – 13 oktober 2013

UPPSALA KONSTMUSEUM

Sissi Westerbergs[1] separatutställning på Uppsala konstmuseum – Becoming – har en tydlig riktning. Den ställer frågor. Den undersöker. Den är empirisk men bygger samtidigt på en tradition. Man kan säga att den ”andra vågens feminism”, från 1970-talet och framåt, har utvecklat ett nytt konstnärligt förhållningssätt, nya arbetsmetoder, ny estetik och nya perspektiv hos en hel generation samtidskonstnärer. Där hakar Sissi Westerberg i. Hennes konstnärliga arbete visar tydliga referenser till viktiga feministiska konstnärer som Janine Antoni (f 1964) och tidiga kvinnosakskämpar som Virginia Woolf (1882 – 1941). Ibland är Sissi Westerbergs kommentar till sina föregångare så tydlig att man kan tala om flera verk som ”hommager”. Hon lyfter fram historiskt förankrade frågeställning i en samtida kontext med utgångspunkt i personligadrömmar och undermedvetna drifter. Det traditionellt feministiska interagerar med samtida konsumtionskritik och identitetskris och lyfts dessutom fram genom den genuint mänskliga kroppen. Sissi Westerbergs konst är framförallt kroppslig till sin metod och sitt uttryck.
 
Becoming är såväl utställningens titel som benämningen på en serie verk som hon har arbetat med en tid. Man kan säga att det började med hennes arbete med smycken och ornament. Hon ville röra sig i gränslandet mellan det artefaktiska och det av naturen givna ornamentet, mellan former skapade av människor för att dekorera och markera avstånd från naturen och de mer ”oönskade” kroppsliga ornamenten, som t ex kroppsöppningar och kroppsvätskor. Hon använde former som både tycktes förföriskt attraktiva men samtidigt påminde om de mest tabubelagda delarna av människokroppen. Som om kroppen flutit ut från den skyddande huden och de döljande kläderna och blev till broscher och halsband.
 
Som en förlängning av temat har Sissi Westerberg skapat en karaktär, en medelklasskvinna iklädd trenchcoat. Hon har figurerat i ett antal performanceverk som bl a har uppförts  genom Rejmyre Art Lab där Sissi Westerberg är co-director. Man kan se denna kvinnokaraktär som provocerar och provoceras av gränsdragningen mellan natur och kultur, mellan objekt och abjekt, mellan norm och tabu. Videodokumentären Drawing a Line gjorde succé på Liljevalchs vårsalong år 2011. Den visar en performance där kvinnokaraktären målar en chockrosa linje på en vägg med sin egen kropp. Hur det går till och vilken del av kroppen som utgör hennes pensel lämnas obesvarat.
Kvinnan i trenchcoat rör sig på den yttersta gränsen mot att släppa fram de mest djuriska krafterna inom sig, att släppa taget och att sluta vara sansad. Vad skulle hända om det djuriska i henne tog över, eller om naturen tog över henne, tog tillbaka henne?, frågar Sissi Westerberg.
 
Genom den USA-baserade konstnären Janine Antonis kroppskonst hittar vi fram till fler aspekter av Sissi Westerbergs arbete. Kroppen som objekt och som redskap. När Janine Antoni målade gallerigolvet med sitt hår som pensel och hårfärgningsvätska som målarfärg (Loving Care, 1992) lyfte Sissi Westerberg fram temat på nytt i verket Drawing a Line.
 
När Janine Antoni skulpterade med sina tänder i choklad och fett (Gnaw, 1992) arbetar nu Sissi Westerberg vidare med sitt nyaste verk, Ett eget hus, och skulpterar med sina egna tänder, i trä, en liten hydda som passar perfekt till hennes egen kropp och kroppsmått. 
 
Virginia Woolfs essä A Room of One´s Own (1929) handlar i mångt och mycket om behovet hos alla skapande människor att ha ett eget livsrum och naturligtvis i kvinnornas fall även en personlig grundtrygghet och jämlikhet. Sissi Westerberg uttrycker i verket Ett eget hus ett direkt fysiskt behov av att ha det egna rummet men hon vet inte riktigt varför. Ger rummet henne frihet eller är det en bur? Det är själva driften att skapa det som styr hennes handlande.
 
I serien av verk som benämns I am Open ställs frågor om design av vardagliga föremål. Varför ser de ut som de gör? Varför liknar de inte oss människor? Konstnären testar en tanke om att funktionalismens formspråk syftade till att avlägsna oss från naturen, genom det enkla och avskalade, oornamenterade och minimalistiska, blir vi mer mänskliga och mindre hotade av det oordnade och förgängliga. I flera verk utsätter konstnären oss även för kroppsliga och köttiga ”tabun”. Hon gör kroppen till ännu mer kropp. Varför är det svårt för oss? Vilka tabun och kulturella arketyper får oss att både förföras och att äcklas?
 
För att citera den franske filosofen Gilles Deleuze (1925 – 1995); konsten är vårt sätt att skapa nya erfarenheter – via affekter. Så arbetar även Sissi Westerberg, hon lyfter fram och låter tabubelagda ämnen skava i gränsen mellan attraktion och affekt.
 
Becoming är en utställning om ”att bli till”, att möta sig själv och att röra sig framåt.
 
ELISABETH FAGERSTEDT
Museichef/curator
Uppsala konstmuseum


[1] Sissi Westerberg är född 1975 och hon är vid bl a konstfackskolan i Stockholm. Hon är verksam i Sverige och en rad andra länder. (se CV.)

 


BECOMING
Sissi Westerberg
7 September – 13 October 2013

UPPSALA ART MUSEUM
Sissi Westerberg’s[1] solo exhibition at Uppsala Art Museum – Becoming – possesses direction. It poses questions. It analyses. It is empirical, but at the same time builds upon a tradition.  One could say that the ”Second Wave of Feminism” from the 1970s and onwards has helped develop a new artistic attitude, new work methods, new aesthetics and new perspectives for an entire generation of contemporary artists. This is where Sissi Westerberg comes in. Her artistic works bear clear references to important feminist artists such as Janine Antoni (b. 1964) and early women’s rights activists such as Virginia Woolf (1882 – 1941). Sissi Westerberg’s comments to her forerunners are at times so apparent that it would be more appropriate to refer to them as “homages”.  She brings to the fore historically viable questions in a contemporary context with her starting point in personal dreams and subconscious urges. Traditionally feminist attitudes interact with identity crises and contemporary consumer critique and are furthermore emphasized by way of the genuinely human body. With regard to method and expression Sissi Westerberg’s art is above all corporeal.
 
Becoming is both the title of the exhibition as well as a series of works she been engaged in for some time. It all started with her work with jewellery and ornaments, where she worked in an area on the boundary between artefact and natural ornaments, between man-made forms with the purpose of decorating and marking a distance to nature and the more “undesirable” body ornaments such as body fluids and bodily orifices. She makes use of forms that seem both seductively attractive but at the same time hint at the most taboo-laden parts of the human body. It is as though the body has oozed out of it’s protective skin and concealing clothes, and transformed itself into brooches and necklaces. As an extension of the theme, Sissi Westerberg has created an alter-ego character, a middle-class woman wearing a trench coat. She has been involved in a number of performances at various venues including Rejmyre Art Lab where she is co-director. This female character provokes and is provoked by the distinction between nature and culture, object and abject, and norm and taboo. The video documentary Drawing a Line caused quite sensation at the Liljevalchs Spring Exhibition in 2011. It featured a performance where the trench coat wearing woman paints a bright pink line on a wall with her own body. How she does it, and what body part she uses as a brush are questions left unanswered.
 
The woman in the trench coat is on the verge of letting loose the most animalistic urges within her. She has decided to let go and to stop being so sensible.  What would happen if the animalistic side of her took over, or perhaps if nature took her over, took her back?, Sissi Westerberg asks.
 
Janine Antoni’s body art offers us several points of entry into the works of Sissi Westerberg. The body as object and tool. Where Janine Antoni painted the gallery floor using her hair as a brush and hair colouring as paint (Loving Care, 1992) Sissi Westerberg took up the theme anew in her piece Drawing a Line.
Where Janine Antoni used her teeth to sculpt in chocolate and fat (Gnaw, 1992), Sissi Westerberg recently used a similar method in her latest work A House of One’s Own, where she used her teeth to sculpt a small hut, perfectly suited to her body measurements.
 
Virginia Woolf’s essay A Room of One´s Own (1929) deals to a large extent with the need of all creative people to have a life space of their own and naturally, in the case of women, basic personal security and equality as well. In the piece A House of One’s Own, Sissi Westerberg expresses a purely physical need for her own space without really knowing why. Does the space offer her freedom, or does it constitute a cage? It is the urge itself to create that dictates her actions.
 
In her series of works entitled I am Open, Sissi Westerberg questions the design of everyday objects. Why do they look the way they do? Why do they not resemble us humans? The artist tests the idea that the purpose of functionalism’s design idiom was to distance us from nature. Through the simple, reduced, undecorated and minimalist design, we become more human and less threatened by the disorganised and transient. In several works the artist subjects us to meaty and body-related ”taboos”, and in doing so offers the body an even more corporeal presence. Why is it so difficult for us? What taboos and cultural archetypes are we shocked and disgusted by?
 
To quote the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze (1925 – 1995); art is our way of creating new experiences – through affects. This is the how Sissi Westerberg works as well. She illuminates tabooed subjects and lets them chafe between attraction and affect.
Becoming is an exhibition about ”coming into being”, of encountering oneself and moving forwards.
 
ELISABETH FAGERSTEDT
Museum director/curator
Uppsala Art Museum
 
TRANSLATION: RICHARD GRIFFITH CARLSSON


[1] Sissi Westerberg was born in 1975 and received her education at the Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm. She works both in Sweden and abroad (see CV).

Sissi Westerberg - Becoming - ENGLISH

Allmänt Kommentera

 


BECOMING
Sissi Westerberg
7 September – 13 October 2013

UPPSALA ART MUSEUM
Sissi Westerberg’s[1] solo exhibition at Uppsala Art Museum – Becoming – possesses direction. It poses questions. It analyses. It is empirical, but at the same time builds upon a tradition.  One could say that the ”Second Wave of Feminism” from the 1970s and onwards has helped develop a new artistic attitude, new work methods, new aesthetics and new perspectives for an entire generation of contemporary artists. This is where Sissi Westerberg comes in. Her artistic works bear clear references to important feminist artists such as Janine Antoni (b. 1964) and early women’s rights activists such as Virginia Woolf (1882 – 1941). Sissi Westerberg’s comments to her forerunners are at times so apparent that it would be more appropriate to refer to them as “homages”.  She brings to the fore historically viable questions in a contemporary context with her starting point in personal dreams and subconscious urges. Traditionally feminist attitudes interact with identity crises and contemporary consumer critique and are furthermore emphasized by way of the genuinely human body. With regard to method and expression Sissi Westerberg’s art is above all corporeal.
 
Becoming is both the title of the exhibition as well as a series of works she been engaged in for some time. It all started with her work with jewellery and ornaments, where she worked in an area on the boundary between artefact and natural ornaments, between man-made forms with the purpose of decorating and marking a distance to nature and the more “undesirable” body ornaments such as body fluids and bodily orifices. She makes use of forms that seem both seductively attractive but at the same time hint at the most taboo-laden parts of the human body. It is as though the body has oozed out of it’s protective skin and concealing clothes, and transformed itself into brooches and necklaces. As an extension of the theme, Sissi Westerberg has created an alter-ego character, a middle-class woman wearing a trench coat. She has been involved in a number of performances at various venues including Rejmyre Art Lab where she is co-director. This female character provokes and is provoked by the distinction between nature and culture, object and abject, and norm and taboo. The video documentary Drawing a Line caused quite sensation at the Liljevalchs Spring Exhibition in 2011. It featured a performance where the trench coat wearing woman paints a bright pink line on a wall with her own body. How she does it, and what body part she uses as a brush are questions left unanswered.
 
The woman in the trench coat is on the verge of letting loose the most animalistic urges within her. She has decided to let go and to stop being so sensible.  What would happen if the animalistic side of her took over, or perhaps if nature took her over, took her back?, Sissi Westerberg asks.
 
Janine Antoni’s body art offers us several points of entry into the works of Sissi Westerberg. The body as object and tool. Where Janine Antoni painted the gallery floor using her hair as a brush and hair colouring as paint (Loving Care, 1992) Sissi Westerberg took up the theme anew in her piece Drawing a Line.
Where Janine Antoni used her teeth to sculpt in chocolate and fat (Gnaw, 1992), Sissi Westerberg recently used a similar method in her latest work A House of One’s Own, where she used her teeth to sculpt a small hut, perfectly suited to her body measurements.
 
Virginia Woolf’s essay A Room of One´s Own (1929) deals to a large extent with the need of all creative people to have a life space of their own and naturally, in the case of women, basic personal security and equality as well. In the piece A House of One’s Own, Sissi Westerberg expresses a purely physical need for her own space without really knowing why. Does the space offer her freedom, or does it constitute a cage? It is the urge itself to create that dictates her actions.
 
In her series of works entitled I am Open, Sissi Westerberg questions the design of everyday objects. Why do they look the way they do? Why do they not resemble us humans? The artist tests the idea that the purpose of functionalism’s design idiom was to distance us from nature. Through the simple, reduced, undecorated and minimalist design, we become more human and less threatened by the disorganised and transient. In several works the artist subjects us to meaty and body-related ”taboos”, and in doing so offers the body an even more corporeal presence. Why is it so difficult for us? What taboos and cultural archetypes are we shocked and disgusted by?
 
To quote the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze (1925 – 1995); art is our way of creating new experiences – through affects. This is the how Sissi Westerberg works as well. She illuminates tabooed subjects and lets them chafe between attraction and affect.
Becoming is an exhibition about ”coming into being”, of encountering oneself and moving forwards.
 
ELISABETH FAGERSTEDT
Museum director/curator
Uppsala Art Museum
 
TRANSLATION: RICHARD GRIFFITH CARLSSON


[1] Sissi Westerberg was born in 1975 and received her education at the Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm. She works both in Sweden and abroad (see CV).

 


UPPSALA ART MUSEUM
THE COLLECTOR
An Exhibition on Artists and Collecting
20 October – 25 November 2012

Magnus Bärtås
Ditte Ejlerskov
Annika Eriksson
Jårg Geismar
Oscar Guermouche
Hyun-Jin Kwak
Charles LaBelle
Matts Leiderstam
EvaMarie Lindahl. 

Items from ”Wunderkammer Olbricht”, normally on permanent display in the ”me Collectors Room”, in Berlin, and the Augsburg Art Cabinet, Gustavianum in Uppsala.
 
 
Uppsala Art Museum proudly presents a unique exhibition that focuses on collecting and the driving force behind it. This is a theme in which the self-image of museums and the practice of contemporary artists come together all the more often. There is a tendency right now to process and reflect upon the human practice of systematic gathering over the centuries. This is about collecting as a phenomenon of social practice, the gathering and collecting by individuals and the nature of the collector, as well as the importance of systems and archives in societies, collectives and institutions.
 
The Collector is a collection in itself where preparation for the exhibition has consisted of gathering interesting artists and systematizing works and objects based on content and expression in a group exhibition. We have invited contemporary artists to participate and to present and create works that deal with the subject in an in-depth manner, and have borrowed unique items from famous curiosity cabinets. From ”Wunderkammer Olbricht”, on permanent display in the ”me Collectors Room” in Berlin, we present curiosity objects from the 1600s. The vanitas theme dominates among the pieces, with life and death depicted in small, decorative objects. Thomas Olbricht’s collection is widely considered one of the best of its kind in the world with art works and curiosity objects from the 1500s to the present. The collection is based on the subjective choices of a passionate collector with a focus on an era when collecting was seen as a symbol of status and honour. The 1600s was the century of collecting, and to this day, collections from that era constitute vital sources of knowledge regarding cultural history throughout the world. The ”Augsburg Art Cabinet” from the same era, has had its home in Uppsala since the 30 years war, and parts of it have long been on permanent display at Museum Gustavianum. For the exhibition The Collector we have borrowed exquisite, small curiosity objects from the cabinet that have been in storage in the University, some of which have never been shown before.
 
We are also thrilled to present brand new contemporary art works in this exhibition.Matts Leiderstam is a well-renowned artist who has, in his work, long conducted profound analysis of art historical museum collections in Sweden, Germany and other places. Here he has focused his attention on Uppsala University’s extensive and magnificent collection of European painting primarily from a period spanning the 16 to 1800s.  His new piece, “Unknown Unknown” deals with an interesting discovery he made regarding the University’s portrait collection: included in the collection are namely numerous portraits of anonymous individuals by entirely unknown artists. What value do unknown persons have in a historic portrait collection? To what extent are they of interest to posterity? Ditte Ejlerskov collects art historical styles and expressions. She repaints them and transforms them into practical and aesthetic study objects. How has the same recurring motif been dealt with throughout art history? Here we present her painting suite from 2011 entitled ”The Hand that Brushed”, with expressive hands from historical paintings that have in turn been repainted by artists. This is a reproductive process that, oddly enough, both renders history closer and more distant at the same time. Jårg Geismar from Düsseldorf will create a work on location and, in doing so, help the museum to acquire a collection of “no longer usable” keys. For the past couple of months, museum visitors have had the opportunity to donate keys to the piece. Each donor has signed a donation book. Every key bears a story of its own, and during the exhibition, the artist will install them in a new presentation, where they will be ordered and structured.
 
Several works deal with the psychological undertones of collecting and gathering as an expression of a behavioural pattern that has gone a little too far, that is on the verge of becoming a mania, perhaps even edging on insanity. Magnus Bärtås has collected ”gifts” that he has received without asking for them over a period of several years. The fact that he has actually kept them is as interesting as why he received them in the first place. Here he presents parts of his large collection of “gifts” in the form of an installation created specifically for this exhibition. Hyun Jin Kwak has over the course of two years documented, photographed and filmed an impressive Renaissance palace in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Besides allowing the palace to deteriorate at an alarming pace, the man living there has filled it from floor to ceiling with things he considers might come in handy at some point. On loan from Moderna Museet is Annika Eriksson’s piece, ”12 Parcels from My Mother”. Ever since the artist left her childhood home, her mother has routinely sent her parcels containing items she felt her daughter might need in her new, independent everyday life. Her daughter, the artist Annika Eriksson, chose not to open the packages but instead let them remain stored and unopened in her home. All the packages and their contents are now on display here.

The American artist Charles LaBelle has always had a phobia of entering large buildings. As a means of coping with this, he has scrutinized in detail every building he has entered since 1997. He has measured them, photographed them and annotated the date, time and location in a register. He has also drawn the entrance of every building in his book. To date he has completed over 15 000 drawings, 300 of which are presented here. A series of drawings by Eva Marie Lindahl depict a phenomenon that has long fascinated her. In the USA there is a movement that studies and collects barbed wire. The group even publishes a magazine on barbed wire and its history. With this piece, the artist illustrates how something so trivial and simple as a wire can be so politically charged. Similarly, Oscar Guermouche’s piece 50 from 2003, although seemingly trivial and simple also possesses an intensive charge. It has been exhibited previously on several occasions, most recently in the exhibition ”Lust and Vice” at the National Museum in Stockholm. The piece consists of 50 small strands of hair and 50 cards in a card index. The hairs represent every woman with whom he has had an intimate sexual relationship.
 
The writer and avid collector (former fly collector) Fredrik Sjöberg has written a customized text specifically for the exhibition. Fredrik Sjöberg has, among other things, written the trilogy FlugfällanFlyktkonsten och Russinkungen (The Fly Trap, The Art of Escape and The Raisin King) and just recently Varför håller man på? (Why do We Bother?). He will recite his newly written text, The Seven Deadly Sins, at the opening ofThe Collector thereby presenting us, perhaps, with entirely new insights into the true nature of the collector.
 
Elisabeth Fagerstedt
Museum director and curator

The Collector - exhibition 2012 - ENGLISH

Allmänt Kommentera

 


UPPSALA ART MUSEUM
THE COLLECTOR
An Exhibition on Artists and Collecting
20 October – 25 November 2012

Magnus Bärtås
Ditte Ejlerskov
Annika Eriksson
Jårg Geismar
Oscar Guermouche
Hyun-Jin Kwak
Charles LaBelle
Matts Leiderstam
EvaMarie Lindahl. 

Items from ”Wunderkammer Olbricht”, normally on permanent display in the ”me Collectors Room”, in Berlin, and the Augsburg Art Cabinet, Gustavianum in Uppsala.
 
 
Uppsala Art Museum proudly presents a unique exhibition that focuses on collecting and the driving force behind it. This is a theme in which the self-image of museums and the practice of contemporary artists come together all the more often. There is a tendency right now to process and reflect upon the human practice of systematic gathering over the centuries. This is about collecting as a phenomenon of social practice, the gathering and collecting by individuals and the nature of the collector, as well as the importance of systems and archives in societies, collectives and institutions.
 
The Collector is a collection in itself where preparation for the exhibition has consisted of gathering interesting artists and systematizing works and objects based on content and expression in a group exhibition. We have invited contemporary artists to participate and to present and create works that deal with the subject in an in-depth manner, and have borrowed unique items from famous curiosity cabinets. From ”Wunderkammer Olbricht”, on permanent display in the ”me Collectors Room” in Berlin, we present curiosity objects from the 1600s. The vanitas theme dominates among the pieces, with life and death depicted in small, decorative objects. Thomas Olbricht’s collection is widely considered one of the best of its kind in the world with art works and curiosity objects from the 1500s to the present. The collection is based on the subjective choices of a passionate collector with a focus on an era when collecting was seen as a symbol of status and honour. The 1600s was the century of collecting, and to this day, collections from that era constitute vital sources of knowledge regarding cultural history throughout the world. The ”Augsburg Art Cabinet” from the same era, has had its home in Uppsala since the 30 years war, and parts of it have long been on permanent display at Museum Gustavianum. For the exhibition The Collector we have borrowed exquisite, small curiosity objects from the cabinet that have been in storage in the University, some of which have never been shown before.
 
We are also thrilled to present brand new contemporary art works in this exhibition.Matts Leiderstam is a well-renowned artist who has, in his work, long conducted profound analysis of art historical museum collections in Sweden, Germany and other places. Here he has focused his attention on Uppsala University’s extensive and magnificent collection of European painting primarily from a period spanning the 16 to 1800s.  His new piece, “Unknown Unknown” deals with an interesting discovery he made regarding the University’s portrait collection: included in the collection are namely numerous portraits of anonymous individuals by entirely unknown artists. What value do unknown persons have in a historic portrait collection? To what extent are they of interest to posterity? Ditte Ejlerskov collects art historical styles and expressions. She repaints them and transforms them into practical and aesthetic study objects. How has the same recurring motif been dealt with throughout art history? Here we present her painting suite from 2011 entitled ”The Hand that Brushed”, with expressive hands from historical paintings that have in turn been repainted by artists. This is a reproductive process that, oddly enough, both renders history closer and more distant at the same time. Jårg Geismar from Düsseldorf will create a work on location and, in doing so, help the museum to acquire a collection of “no longer usable” keys. For the past couple of months, museum visitors have had the opportunity to donate keys to the piece. Each donor has signed a donation book. Every key bears a story of its own, and during the exhibition, the artist will install them in a new presentation, where they will be ordered and structured.
 
Several works deal with the psychological undertones of collecting and gathering as an expression of a behavioural pattern that has gone a little too far, that is on the verge of becoming a mania, perhaps even edging on insanity. Magnus Bärtås has collected ”gifts” that he has received without asking for them over a period of several years. The fact that he has actually kept them is as interesting as why he received them in the first place. Here he presents parts of his large collection of “gifts” in the form of an installation created specifically for this exhibition. Hyun Jin Kwak has over the course of two years documented, photographed and filmed an impressive Renaissance palace in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Besides allowing the palace to deteriorate at an alarming pace, the man living there has filled it from floor to ceiling with things he considers might come in handy at some point. On loan from Moderna Museet is Annika Eriksson’s piece, ”12 Parcels from My Mother”. Ever since the artist left her childhood home, her mother has routinely sent her parcels containing items she felt her daughter might need in her new, independent everyday life. Her daughter, the artist Annika Eriksson, chose not to open the packages but instead let them remain stored and unopened in her home. All the packages and their contents are now on display here.

The American artist Charles LaBelle has always had a phobia of entering large buildings. As a means of coping with this, he has scrutinized in detail every building he has entered since 1997. He has measured them, photographed them and annotated the date, time and location in a register. He has also drawn the entrance of every building in his book. To date he has completed over 15 000 drawings, 300 of which are presented here. A series of drawings by Eva Marie Lindahl depict a phenomenon that has long fascinated her. In the USA there is a movement that studies and collects barbed wire. The group even publishes a magazine on barbed wire and its history. With this piece, the artist illustrates how something so trivial and simple as a wire can be so politically charged. Similarly, Oscar Guermouche’s piece 50 from 2003, although seemingly trivial and simple also possesses an intensive charge. It has been exhibited previously on several occasions, most recently in the exhibition ”Lust and Vice” at the National Museum in Stockholm. The piece consists of 50 small strands of hair and 50 cards in a card index. The hairs represent every woman with whom he has had an intimate sexual relationship.
 
The writer and avid collector (former fly collector) Fredrik Sjöberg has written a customized text specifically for the exhibition. Fredrik Sjöberg has, among other things, written the trilogy FlugfällanFlyktkonsten och Russinkungen (The Fly Trap, The Art of Escape and The Raisin King) and just recently Varför håller man på? (Why do We Bother?). He will recite his newly written text, The Seven Deadly Sins, at the opening ofThe Collector thereby presenting us, perhaps, with entirely new insights into the true nature of the collector.
 
Elisabeth Fagerstedt
Museum director and curator