Critics’ Picks

View of “Rummaging,” 2009. From left: Suzanna Asp, Hall of Mirrors, 2008; Christin Wahlström, Wall of Flax, 2008; Johanna Gustafsson Fürst, Lost Counter-Story, Neither Man of Science, nor Man of Faith, 2008.

Stockholm

“Rummaging”

Bonniers Konsthall
Torsgatan 19
April 29–June 14, 2009

The third installment of this art center’s yearly salon de jeunesse, “Rummaging” focuses on artworks that reshape and reconfigure space. With the stated ambition of linking the work of an emerging generation of Swedish artists to certain practices in the country’s art world of the 1980s, this exhibition offers installations, sculptures, and interactive pieces that propose disparate spatial experiences and relations. The idea of basing an exhibition of contemporary practices on a locally defined historiography certainly has great potential and could be used to examine new perspectives on the present and trace new genealogies through the past. However, “Rummaging” could have articulated more clearly why it would be necessary to return to the curious crossbreedings between Land-art legacies and romanticism in Swedish art of the ’80s. In fact, the few works here that evoke a certain ’80s vibe come across as anachronistic, if not obsolete. On the other hand, the exhibition itself, in its overall installation and arrangement, is very well organized, carefully guiding the viewer through a sequence of environments and constellations of works.

Among several strong projects, one could mention Christin Wahlström’s Wall of Flax, 2008, an inverted wall segment with its isolating flax material on the outside, which creates a peculiar, imposing presence, or Johanna Gustafsson Fürst’s Lost Counter-Story, Neither Man of Science, nor Man of Faith, 2008, a sculptural assemblage of furniture parts, plants, and posters whose forms are immediately familiar yet which uncannily defy precise recognition or definition. Fredrik Auster and Viggo Mörk’s multichannel video installation When Time Falls off the Walls, 2009, also stands out. Onto three separate Plexiglas screens hanging freely in the middle of the exhibition space, simple, abstract black-and-white patterns are projected, creating a composition of slowly moving forms that incorporates the silhouettes of passing exhibition visitors. Bringing to mind Hans Richter’s Rhythmus 21, 1921, rather than Swedish ’80s art, this work points, in a perhaps unforeseen manner, to the rich artistic potentials in tapping into the history of forms.