Fredrik Svensk

  • Luca Frei

    When Simone Forti’s See-Saw, 1960, was to be shown at Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 2015, Luca Frei was commissioned to restage it. This remake of Forti’s iconic sculpture and performance piece—also included in Frei’s recent solo exhibition at Malmö Konsthall, “From day to day”—offered compelling evidence that the younger artist sees himself as not only a contemporary conduit for the modernist and Minimalist tradition, but also its successor and developer. Many of the more than thirty pieces in the Malmö exhibition took on a double function similar to that of Forti’s work, operating as attractive

  • Carola Grahn

    Röda Sten Konsthall has no gift shop. Carola Grahn changed this with the exhibition “I Have Scrutinized Every Stone and Log on the Southwest Side of the Mountain,” for which she installed Shop, 2020, at the entrance to the nonprofit art space. On coffee mugs and sweatshirts, the artist evokes her Sámi heritage by posing in ethno-punk style, wearing a traditional gákti. In the corner stood Ice Ice Baby, 2020, a freezer full of ice cream with her portrait on the wrapper. The scene evoked a blissful 1990s mix of ironic ethnic marketing and playful institutional critique.

    But the ground floor was

  • Sofia Hultén

    Sofia Hultén’s work oscillates between a critical tradition and the desire for a new cult in the current state of political hopelessness. In the tradition of Walter Benjamin’s ragpicker, she works with found objects and everyday observations in the urban environment, exploring parallel movements and states of mind. The title of her recent exhibition, “Undead, undead,” echoed a refrain from the 1979 single “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” by the post-punk group Bauhaus. Undead, undead (all works cited, 2019) was also the name of two polished-steel excavator teeth, hanging from the wall, looking like gods

  • “There I Belong: Hammershøi by Elmgreen & Dragset”

    Through his unadorned portraits and interiors, Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864–1916) brought the famous melancholic Nordic light of contemporary landscape paintings into the homes of the Danish bourgeoisie. While today his paintings may be commonly used to sell Scandinavian design, Hammershøi remains an artist’s artist. For “There I Belong: Hammershøi by Elmgreen & Dragset,” Hammershøi fans Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset offered a fresh take on the iconic painter. As in the Istanbul Biennial they organized in 2017, the artist duo displayed their mastery of curating with modesty and style, here

  • Gunilla Palmstierna-Weiss

    Gunilla Palmstierna-Weiss’s first solo exhibition at Moderna Museet comprised a small selection of drawings, collages, models, and ceramic objects made between 1964 and 1984. Curators Emily Fahlén and Asrin Haidari neither framed Palmstierna-Weiss as a craft artist nor produced a purely archival show revolving around her storied career in stage design. Instead, they drew from both aspects of her practice to propose a model for the contemporary artist beyond that informed by the idea of the solitary (and usually male) genius.

    Palmstierna-Weiss was born in 1928 in Lausanne, Switzerland, and raised

  • Britta Marakatt-Labba

    In 2017, the inclusion of Britta Marakatt-Labba’s vast embroidery Historjá (History), 2003–2007—a sweeping account of the Sámi people—in Documenta 14 risked framing the artist’s work merely as a manifestation of the current desire to decolonize the art world. But to so easily dismiss the light-handed narrative of resistance and oppression stitched into this work, which delves deep into the past, would be a mistake. Contained within the tapestry is the chronicle of the Sámi people, from the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century campaigns for their Christianization and the imposition of national

  • “Insomnia”

    The distinction between sleeping and waking is probably one of the most important in the history of modern art, dating back at least to the time when psychoanalysis exerted its influence on avant-garde movements such as Surrealism. Now, with our 24/7 society, the nonstop demands of work, consumption, and even social media are becoming harmful to our health. “Insomnia,” curated by the departing director of Bonniers Konsthall, Sara Arrhenius, presented itself as an attempt to map “the mental and cultural state that this constant accessibility creates.”

    What kind of navigation points did this

  • Anastasia Ax

    Anastasia Ax has an appetite for destruction, but of a certain kind. I remember her going wild in her work Exile, 2011, at the music festival Way Out West in Göteburg, Sweden. In a big tent, she built up a landscape of white sculptures in plaster, old books and fabric, and other materials. Accompanied by the darkest noise music (by Dasha Rush, Oni Ayhun, and Marja-Leena Sillanpää), Ax reentered the space and began to spit black ink on the sculptures while breaking them with her bare hands. Finally, the audience joined in and destroyed the installation by dancing and tearing down the sculptures.

  • Jonas Dahlberg

    On July 22, 2011, the far-right terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, dressed as a police officer, detonated a bomb at the Norwegian Parliament building in Oslo, killing eight people. He then traveled to the island of Utøya, where the Workers’ Youth League had a summer camp, and shot and killed sixty-nine people, wounding an additional sixty-six; the majority were teenagers. Swedish artist Jonas Dahlberg has been working on July 22 memorials in Oslo and Utøya, to be completed this summer. His recent exhibition “Diorama” made clear that he’s been up to many other things besides, and yet it was

  • Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art

    The eighth edition of the Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art, “A story within a story . . . ,” curated by Elvira Dyangani Ose, was by far the most pedagogically and conceptually consistent to date. Dyangani Ose was inspired by anthropologist Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s conjecture that history is written by many, and by Umberto Eco’s idea of “the open work” (as espoused in his 1962 book of that name). The majority of the nearly forty works by thirty-three artists and collectives that were presented at Göteborgs Konsthall, the Hasselblad Center, Röda Sten Konsthall, and surrounding