Lars Nittve

  • Håkan Rehnberg

    In light of the general tendencies in art during the past few years, some events on the Swedish art scene must appear a bit odd. One can note, for example, that nearly everyone in the strong generation of artists born in the early ’50s, who have now reached an established position, works in the tradition of abstract painting. In this generation, whose esthetics have probably been colored in no small measure by opposition to the naive, often politically committed, figurative expressionism that dominated Swedish art in the ’70s, Håkan Rehnberg is one of those who have most consistently vindicated

  • Bernard Kirschenbaum

    It will seem perhaps equally surprising to Americans and to Scandinavians that since the late 70s the New York sculptor Bernard Kirschenbaum has found industries interested in using their resources to realize his projects most often in Sweden and to some extent in Finland, and that it is chiefly in these two countries that galleries and museums have been willing to subject their spaces to his quiet but drastic operations. The latest of these was at the Malmö Konsthall, whose big, open, yet perceptually secure boxlike rooms were shaken to their foundations as they became the scene of Kirschenbaum’s

  • “Quartetto”

    THE PROPORTIONS OF “QUARTETTO—three curators to four artists and six works (the curators being Achille Bonito Oliva, Alanna Heiss, and Kaspar König, the artists Joseph Beuys, Enzo Cucchi, Luciano Fabro, and Bruce Nauman)—seemed alarming. Yet the Scuola di San Giovanni Evangelista, the site of the Center for Information on the Preservation of Art and Architecture in Venice, was the perfect place for a game of high-powered cultural politics, and on entering the show I was again impressed by the congeniality of this 14th—15th-century building to the project housed in it. At least to my Northern

  • Daniel Buren

    A puzzling one-sidedness informs much of what has been written about Daniel Buren since the mid ’60s, puzzling because it corresponds to neither the variability nor the richness that characterize his oeuvre despite the constant recurrence of certain features. Students of his work have preferred to focus on its element of critique, emphasizing its negativity without considering its sensuousness or perceiving the generative power intimately connected with deconstruction. Similarly, Buren’s multidimensional art has often been exposed to one-track interpretation; the subject of his critique has been

  • Ola Billgren

    If on entering this big show of recent work by the Swedish painter Ola Billgren one knew that for a ten-year period from the mid ’60s on he had been occupied with a critical, antihumanist painting which might be related to such catchword categories of the ’80s as “appropriation,” “eclecticism,” and “post-Modernism,” one ran no risk of being disillusioned. When the initial appearance of these paintings as “Romantic” works disintegrated, one was not surprised. On the contrary, one felt that Billgren’s earlier, in itself very complex discourse on the surface, the photograph, and the mythopoetic

  • “ARS 83”

    Despite its modesty, Jannis Kounellis’ diagonal wooden palisade covering one half of a wide arched window in this neoclassical building touched on some of the central issues raised by Ars 83, the largest exhibition of contemporary art ever shown in Scandinavia. The palisade worked as a membrane, bringing the exhibition room into visibility relative to it while also both distinguishing between and linking the show’s artistic context with its wider one. Out there lay Helsinki, with its peculiar mixture of Western and Russian features; the rustic gray stone walls of the Finnish National Theater,

  • “Ibid”

    “Ibid.” is the abbreviation of the Latin word ibidem, meaning “in the same place,” but this show of works by 17 artists, located in 10 cathedrallike, quite brutal garages belonging to a disused 19th-century brewery, was not in the same place as its predecessor, a show of the same name which was held a year ago in a likewise abandoned, almost preindustrial old building once used for the production of linseed oil. The choice of name, however, made clear the intertextual relationship not only between the works of art on display but between the two exhibitions. “Ibid.” pointed back to P.S. 1’s

  • Dick Bengtsson

    The odd, disconcerting quality of his paintings, the puzzling clumsiness of his in fact extremely well-executed drawing, remove Dick Bengtsson’s work from the sphere of solid provincialism where superficially they seem to belong. At the same time their traditional look excludes them from the ranks of the avant-garde. It is only now, with this carefully chosen retrospective, that Bengtsson, who has exhibited works of this kind for twenty years, has become something more than an artist’s artist.

    A field, a stone wall, a church among trees—these emblems, in the Swedish tradition of “honest,” intimate