Frida Sandström

  • Ceija Stojka, Untitled, 1995, acrylic on board, 27 3/8 x 39''.
    picks May 14, 2021

    Ceija Stojka

    Despite their vivid depictions of life and all its attributes—love, angst, curiosity, horror, and barbarism—Ceija Stojka’s paintings have a way of withdrawing from one’s gaze. The works seem to implode in their frame; on occasion, layers of black paint obliterate figures even as they constitute them. What remain are rectangular shells of floating content, anchored to an extraordinary biography: As a child of an Austrian-Romani family, Stojka was held at Auschwitz, Ravensbruck, and Bergen-Belsen, all before the age of twelve. It took fifty years for Stojka to take up the paintbrush.

    Faces, numerals,

  • Sandra Mujinga, Ghosting, 2019, soft PVC, denim, acrylic paint, oil paint, glycerine, threaded rods and rod coplings, dimensions variable.
    picks January 06, 2021

    Witch Hunt

    At Kunsthal Charlottenborg, the witch becomes a figure for contemporary crises of representation and identity, as well as the epistemological violence inherent to Western modernity. While the broad spectrum of necromantic imagery on view surpasses any historically specific critique of the notion of the witch, certain works speak directly to a uniquely Scandinavian legacy.

    In Danish-Greenlandic artist Pia Arke’s video work Arctic Hysteria, 1996, the artist presses her undressed body against a large photographic print of her still-colonized home landscape. The image is torn in pieces by the friction

  • Performance view of “In This Country, Comrade (a collation),” 2020. Photo: Hendrik Zeitler.
    picks October 20, 2020

    Annika Lundgren

    In Swedish theater, “collations” are procedures in which actors read through scripts for the first time, without dramatization. This impassive ritual informs Annika Lundgren’s exhibition “In This Country, Comrade (a collation),” whose spare set designs are accompanied by a trio of performers each Sunday. During these informal performances, a manuscript by Lundgren is read aloud as in a final round of edits, after which it will supposedly be published in an artist book alongside documentation of the performance and installation. As in her previous work with textual montage, Lundgren’s project

  • Oliver Ressler, Carbon and Captivity, 2020, 4K video, color, sound, 33 minutes.
    picks May 06, 2020

    Oliver Ressler

    Like a litmus test for dispossession, the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the cracks in the surface of the market. From reproductive labor to international logistical networks, what hitherto was recondite for those not immediately subject to subsumption now appears as a multiplicity of naked emperors. The biggest of them all, the oil industry, has recently experienced an immense drop in value due to mounting debts. What remains to be resolved post-Covid-19 is who will cover the loss, and at what cost.

    Oliver Ressler’s recent video essay Carbon and Captivity, 2020, currently on view here and screening

  • Anna-Karin Rasmusson, Omsorgen (The Care, detail), 2020, digital video, mixed media.
    picks March 30, 2020

    Anna-Karin Rasmusson

    Entering an installation by Anna-Karin Rasmusson is like attending a healing ceremony for a broken present tense. Here, large pieces of cardboard offhandedly duck-taped onto floors and walls become a soft architecture for proto-domestic leisure. Drowned in red paint, or rather, in projections where paint flows, the packaging remains dry. From one projection to another flounder characters, often performed by Rasmussen herself, dressed in loose fitting full-body suits made of an off-white textile, which, much like the installation, is on the verge of disintegration. But it holds, despite the

  • Anders Sunna and Michiel Brouwer, 1634 (detail), 2019, collage, oil, acrylic, spray paint, wooden sledge, iron ore, steel, reindeer horns, ink-jet prints. Installation view. Photo: Hendik Zeitler.
    picks February 20, 2020

    “Every Leaf Is an Eye”

    Noah Piugattuk shrugs when the Canadian civil servant offers him money and Western education. Why would he need money, and why would he want his grandchildren to be educated by someone who does? In Zacharias Kunuk’s feature film One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk (2019), set in 1961, the white man’s insistent attempts to persuade the Innuit Piugattuk family to leave their homeland, Kapuivik, appear absurd. But the humor has a bitter taste—the film ends with archival footage of the protagonist’s forced relocation to a settlement instituted by the Canadian government.

    Around the corner, three

  • View of “Anne Haaning,” 2020, Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art. Photo: David Stjernholm.
    picks January 15, 2020

    Anne Haaning

    Today, the extraction of both narratives and material resources is deeply intertwined with a seemingly indefatigable drive toward technological development. In the Danish artist Anne Haaning’s multimedia installation Half Hidden, 2019, the false binary of surplus and dispossession melts into reflective matter that seems to be leaking out of two video channels and onto the dim gallery’s floor. The surface of a waterlogged quarry, a shiny enamel cover, a touch screen––all are mirrors for the contemporary dematerialization of colonization, as its physical remnants vaporize into the weaponized

  • View of “Taking matters into your own hands,” 2019. Photo: Lisa Requin.
    picks December 12, 2019

    “Taking matters into your own hands”

    Mint, a gallery dedicated to tracing art’s role in workers’ movements across generations and contexts, recently invited the Stockholm-based design historian Christina Zetterlund to curate “Taking matters into your own hands,” a show that looks at an overlooked history of glassmakers in Småland, a rural region in southern Sweden.

    In 1978, Sven Lindqvist’s blockbuster book Gräv där du står! (Dig Where You Stand!) incited Swedes to do just as the exhibition’s title dictates by investigating and researching their local contexts, namely their workplaces. As Sweden has a long tradition of study circles,

  • Michael Rakowitz, The invisible enemy should not exist (Room G, Northwest Palace of Nimrud, Room G-24) (detail), 2019, Middle Eastern packaging and newspapers, glue, and cardboard on wood.
    picks December 02, 2019

    Michael Rakowitz

    “Destroy the past, and you can control the future,” reads a quote by Tom Holland on a small sign installed at ankle level inside of the Malmö Konsthall. Along with the maxim comes a description of collection item #BM 124565: “panel with seated king and attendant.” I see no such frieze in the space, where most of the walls are naked. #BM 124586, “panel with apkallu,” was excavated from the palace of Nimrud in northern Iraq in 1846 and acquired a year later by the British Museum. #MRAH O.0278 (“fragment middle section of tree”) went to Brussels.

    Similar signs, with quotations drawn from accounts

  • Liv Bugge, PLAY (detail), 2019, 16mm transferred to HD video, dimensions variable. Photo: Jean-Baptiste Beranger.
    picks November 08, 2019

    Liv Bugge

    In close-up, a hand insistently models a piece of clay. The soft shape alters under the pressure, as one imprint is immediately exchanged for another. On an opposite screen, in Liv Bugge’s Instructions to make use of an already present itch, 2017, diapositives of fossils loop unendingly, their material inscriptions seeming to float, unmoored. Meanwhile, anonymous human voices on an accompanying audio track struggle to empathize with the paleontological objects––or are they speaking to each other?

    The work reflects the viewer’s own spectatorship, framing the central concerns of the Norwegian