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Degree Exhibitions Season: Konstfack

A few brief notes and personal highlights from the ongoing MA '22 Exhibition at Konstfack in Stockholm, curated this year by CuratorLab, and on view through Friday May 27.

Nisse Bergman (Fine Art), installation view from the spring degree exhibition

10. Alina Rentsch, Fine Art (@alinarentsch) If there previously appeared disparity between Alina’s distinctive text-based practice and the rest of her class, ultimately in the end her presentation is what proves the most resourceful in and for the entire exhibition, in so far lensing social unity between her classmates as a recurring thread, traversing up and down through the premises. It nevertheless stands its own ground as a playful and yet commanding display, with words aligning here and there with their position on site, and stressing a ”spatial” narrative that will definitely not be missed.

Alina Rentsch (Fine Art), installation view from the spring degree exhibition

Nisse Bergman (Fine Art), installation view from the spring degree exhibition

9. Nisse Bergman, Fine Art (@nissebergman). An inventive artist whose growth from his BFA to MFA is a pleasure to have seen. The ”machinery” that produces optical effect in his presentation is worth looking closer at and engaging with him about if you catch him on site, in the exhibition. The mere optics of seeing a large Albers-like textile-grid next to his sculptures alone arouses due curiosity and makes for a rather novel glance.

Berenice Hernandez (Craft; Ceramics & Glass), installation view from the spring degree exhibition

8. Berenice Hernandez, Craft; Ceramics & Glass, (@bere_jh)

A favourite and standout from the Crafts section: Berenice Hernandez whose Phantom Limbs / Ghost Architecture presents what she calls ”architectural ghosts”, made of mixed media and which depart from the notion of how being surrounded by a new and foreign architectural world can interrupt one's sense of self. Namely for the artist the sculptures call to mind memory connections she feel were lost when relocating around the world from her native Mexico.

Sofia Heinonen (Fine Art), installation view from the spring degree exhibition

7. Sofia Heinonen, Fine Art (@sofia.heinonen). Sofia’s part of the exhibition in essence is presented as yet another iteration of her solo exhibition, held inside a spacious room of her own. A look at this painting, be it mediated through a snap, ought to tell you; a vigorous painter is on the rise! Keep an eye out.

Birt Berglund, installation view from the spring degree exhibition

6. Birt Berglund, Fine Art (@birtberglund). We were definitely impressed by Birt Berglund in the exhibition and he has been trailblazing in the past as well with his queer noise art project Seroconversion (with Johan Sundell). What you see presented in the exhibition at hand is an exploration of The Hollow Earth theory and its trajectory. Using Artificial Intelligence, Birt attempts to (re)construct a sort of composite Hollow Earth – a generated animated "collage" merging together the visual bodies of iconography of all the different theories within this scope. Artificial Intelligence used to materiallize a timely and thought-provoking notion; a project that should duly be taken note of and not missed.

Andy Allen Olivar, installation view from the spring degree exhibition

5. Andy Allen Olivar, Fine Art (@andyallenolivar). Andy's staging of his photography collage lightboxes in various sizes along the walls of a hallway made for an elegant and celestial display at Konstfack, prompting a poignant ”reading” on the ephemerality of time. His lightboxes appear to be stemming from an intuitive collaging process that is generous with the viewer and read as an open invitation to respond to visual stimuli in order to project your own narratives on to the work and indugle in the mundane romantic nostalgia it excudes.


Alexander Rynéus, exhibition image from earlier MFA solo exhibition at Galleri Konstfack

Alexander Rynéus, Fine Art (@alexanderryneus). While his MFA solo The Glitter Factory was presented as a multi-channel video installation, dressed in thorough and unmistakable "institutional clout"; his presentation in the collective exhibition transitions instead into a blackbox single screen cinematic setting in one of the big lecture halls. A 40 minutes film is an epic challenge for an average visitor with two hours to spend but those who will, will be rewarded. This is very delicate and quietly arresting filmmaking which in the midst grabs hold of mortality as a theme. A filmmaker of the future who has already earnt plenty of recognition in festival circuits for his films to date.

Alexander Jakobsson, installation view from the spring degree exhibition

4. Alexander Jakobsson, Craft; Textile (@leks.ander). Alexander started off this year exhibition setting such a high bar almost immediately upon entry; his fragmented imagery (stemming from surveying personal family photo archives) of sculptural ”blinds” is obvious tour-de-force craftsmanship. The spatial installation on view here is no less than "dreamy".

Sofia Runarsdotter, installation view from the spring degree exhibition

3. Sofia Runarsdotter, Fine Art (@sofiarunarsdotter). Sofia's presentation End Game of photographs from the long-term project Girl, Battle looked beautifully crafted and presented as a towering collage of individual images, piled together as a whole, installed in their frames on a Tetris-like cut-out wall. It calls to mind a cheerleading-like formation, alluding in form to how in team sports you rest on each other and stand and fall together. An art itself finding fresh ways to present photography without form overriding substance. Great balance here.

Queenning Zhao, installation view from the spring degree exhibition

2. Queenning Zhao, Spatial Design (@salagong). Queening’s project is such a heartfelt one and echoes with relatability about the diasporic experience of relocating and disconnecting/reconnecting with memories tied to places and people. Queenning grew up with her ”nai nai” (her late grandmother) in Sweden and would later be geographically distanced from her, also at the time of her recent passing. As a child "nai nai" would give her tokens of dog motifs. Some of them were miniature dog figurines; the preciousness of having received them from "nai nai" and the way they evoke her memory, now sees Queening creating sculptural temples for them. In essence honoring "nai nai" and their bond. Absolutely beautiful narrative used to contextualize this work which is also materialized in a way that stands out as original for Konstfack.

Malin Lin Nordström, installation view from the spring degree exhibition

1. Malin Lin Nordström, Fine Art (@stormarna). A MA exhibition will have its art fair spectacle moments; big, loud, fireworks as a metaphor. And that’s often going to have its merits. But quiet, introspective and slow-driven art also needs to have its moment in overall blustering situations like these. The trick then is to know how and using what “form”, without being consumed by the antics of other presentations. We think Malin "nailed it". Moving her presentation down to the archival library where her sculptural bodies evoke a sense of solid belonging is a stroke of genius. Utilizing the connotations of a site intended for disconnecting from noise, we feel like the surrounding books and shelves accentuate her sculptures and that her wooden sculptures manage in turn to bring thought to the library as an urban and for us much cherished fixture that ultimately is marked by the same care and nuturing of values and ideals that can likely be connected to Malin's practice. At some immediate level it just looks high-end and when thought comes to institutional settings far beyond the premises of a school – in a collective grad show – you know someone struck lightning in a bottle. But this isn’t luck; this is having an eye and artistic conviction. Credit where credit due.


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