Matts Leiderstam

Badischer Kunstverein

Just past the entrance to “Nachbild” (After Image), the first solo show in a German institution by Swedish artist Matts Leiderstam, one saw a grotto. Photographed in the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, it reached to the ceiling: a slide projection on an almost entirely freestanding painted wooden board. At the center of the grotto, as part of the photographic mise-en-scène, stands an easel with a painting that in turn displays a landscape, Leiderstam’s own copy of Nicolas Poussin’s Spring or the Earthly Paradise, painted in Rome in the seventeenth century.

At first we seemed to be viewing a sort of stage set; the painting in the park looks kitschy because of the projection’s artificial colors. Something in this picture doesn’t fit. And the same could be said of the five photographs from Leiderstam’s “Returned” series, 1997–99, on display in the entrance hall of the Badischer Kunstverein; each of

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