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Between Intimacy and Distance

Notes on Mellan närhet och distans

Linnéa Ndangoya Palmcrantz MFA solo, Galleri Mejan, Kungliga konsthögskolan

February 10-19, 2023

Installation view, Linnéa Ndangoya Palmcrantz, Mellan närhet och distans, Galleri Mejan, 2023

Linnéa Ndangoya Palmcrantz’s sublime MFA solo Mellan närhet och distans (Between Closeness and Distance) at The Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm considers zeigeisty discourse on heritable trauma. If trauma was inherited down in lineage; the source and body that passed it on, a mother, in some objective sense in that very instance represents harm and the ”ungood”, meanwhile as that same body constructs a longing and nurturing need from the end of the offspring body. A "Catch-22", if you will. Consider then also that the passing body can subjectively and incidentally be ”bad” for and with the offspring through action and deed and you are faced with a scope where the maternal role in society gets rebutted and twisted around from intrinsically ”good” to various degrees of ”toxicity” which makes this taboo-ridden subject approach of the ”mother” quite transgressive. It’s a bold artistic choice and so complex that you might better support it with a balance between abstraction, literal representation, a personal track and one more universal track and some air of sweeping poetry that at least lets you feel that there are no staunch and reductive answers to find rather than questions to be asked. That’s just what Linnéa Ndangoya Palmcrantz’s MFA solo is; one that early after entry prompts a convincing feeling that we will not just be wading in shallow waters as viewers and visitors of the exhibition.

Installation view, Linnéa Ndangoya Palmcrantz, Mellan närhet och distans, Galleri Mejan, 2023

It’s clear off the bat that Linnéa is a storyteller with a penchant for abstraction and formal minimalism; not that there’s any contradiction therein at all but it’s a very fine choice she makes of telling the personal narrative through anecdotal poetry; taking up sparse space in more fragile form while telling a more universal narrative about heritable passing and immaterial/emotional infringements on maternal closeness through HIV as subject, in a more stringent form. It renders a material elasticity through the exhibition that is exciting and sometimes ”tense” in this austere, almost clinical setting. The only photographic work which is by far the most graphic and idiosyncratic work could easily in someone else's vision have served a primary interest of shock value or posturing but this visualization uncannily sits so well with everything else of less visual nature that it has to speak of an equilibrium at hand here.

Installation view, Linnéa Ndangoya Palmcrantz, Mellan närhet och distans, Galleri Mejan, 2023

A sidenote: In terms of conceptual research-based artists at the local MFA programs in Stockholm of The Royal Institute of Art and Konstfack; Linnéa at the former and Heidi Edström (MFA1) at the latter must definitely be two to closely watch. Both have future Maria Bonnier Dahlin Award and other awards and accolades potential written all over their work from what we've been able to tell.

Ashik Zaman


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