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PRINT January 2001

Daniel Birnbaum

THE FIRST PICTURE BY ANNEÈ OLOFSSON THAT REALLY made an impression on me, The Mourners—My Last Family Photo, 1996, depicts the Swedish artist surrounded by her family. The image conveys sorrow and loneliness: six elderly people dressed in black, a young woman in the center all in white. It took a while before I realized she was wearing a polar bear costume, holding the animal’s head in her lap. Silly as it sounds, the image radiates dignity. The young woman is an outsider in many ways, a creature who no longer belongs to the group and must be sacrificed—or is it she who wants to distance herself from the crowd?

After almost a decade of exhibiting in Europe, Olofsson now seems to be getting the attention she deserves. In her most recent series of photographs, “God Bless the Absentees,” 2000—which debuted at Schaper Sundberg Galleri in Stockholm and is currently on view in

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