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Hasta Mañana

This year’s degree shows of the Royal Institute of Art (Mejan) in Stockholm (BFA at Marabouparken & MFA at Konstakademien) are no short than great. The two shows feel less like sections of delineated artist presentations and more like densely collaboratively produced shows with tangible ”dialogues” between works in a room. In fairness we didn't see many shows yet this year that felt as inspiring. The BFA show at Marabouparken especially feels bold and manages to be a strong statement on painting and sociopolitical and personally poignant narratives at the same time. C-print checks in with four artists amid the great bunch of artists from the two degree shows whose work especially merits the mention and whose work excited us even before.

Natália Rebelo, MFA gradudate

C-P: What are the visual notions and ideas that inform your artistic practice on a more general note?

N.R: I am often dealing with notions of power and fiction as a method for envisioning alternative futures. The forms used are different media such as performance, sculpture, text and moving image. I like to write and I do it often, but I am also making a bit of sound that I don’t use yet in the work. For now the sonic parts of my work have mainly been done by people who actually make music. So in that sense, performance has been a form where I can work with different elements of the space and architecture of a room, the choreography which is performed and collaborate with people whose work I admire. It gives me energy to put things together, especially since I feel that visual artists are more encouraged to have solo paths.

Lately I have been thinking on the role of violence, or to be more accurate, the moment before violence takes place, when it is already present in the room but you don’t have concrete proof of it existence. Something being imminent but not yet happening. Before you can name it as such, violence is already in the room. I am interested in observing that and how this is built. This have informed the latest works I have made. 

C-P: What comes to mind most notably about your time at the Royal Institute of Art?

N.R: Mejan was an intense period. I got quite a lot of nice things there, opportunities to go to places, grants that allowed me to do things and met some of my closest friends and people with whom I work and feel close to in terms of artistic practice. It is a place that can allow one to isolate themselves and do their own thing since you are not really obliged to attend things. But that also allows you to find your pace and needs and I think I understood quite quickly I need to be in conversation with people for thinking things through, but also because I find that path more fun. So then I just found the tools I needed to create that.

Overall, I think it is a generous place because it does give you this pool of choices, a lot of possibilities and really nice people who support the making of works. Since it is not a huge institution, you really get a lot of support from teachers, professors and staff. I also developed a different relationship with material itself, dealing with it and thinking in a more sculptural way. 

What was perhaps the less than cute part about being there was having personal encounters with a couple of people who were assholes and to see that they just got away with it. It's not okay to make a racist work with the disguise of some kind of crap ironic tone; that is just shit.

C-P: What can you say about your degree presentaiton in the spring exhibition?

I have two works in the exhibition. One is _t3nd3r_abyss_ which is a different install of how it was presented in my solo show at Galleri Mejan. It consists of a video installed on a metal structure and a surround sound that is made by Nev Lilit. For the group exhibition it is placed in a light room, which is a different setting than how I did before. 

The other one is a whole new piece that was made to be presented specifically at Högtidsalen in Konstakademien. It is a performance named speed ruin. For this one I am working in collaboration with Ruby Nilsson who is performing, as well as Kablam and Nev Lilit, whose music are used as part of the piece. 

The movements in the performance are in dialogue with the walls covered in paintings of bodies in the room. I like to work with the building itself and since the building has rooms that are so symbolic, I wanted to be in one of these rooms and more use the atmosphere of the performance, as a way of altering the room. So the performance doesn't really modify the space with props, light effects or something. It is Ruby performing in almost day light, 2 sets of speakers placed in the corners and that's it. Then we live stream it on Twitch.

C-P: What's next for you in 2019?

I got Brucebo scholarship that also grants me a living and working space for the whole summer in Gotland. After we take down the exhibition at Konstakademien I will go there, which I’m very much looking forward to and I will be working with a film during my stay. After the residency I aim to finish a work which I started shooting in Mexico City last year during a residency at Biquini Wax EPS. Part of the summer plans is to present a small live project with Jin Mustafa. Later in the fall I hope to go to my hometown São Paulo for a visit, where I would like to organise a group exhibition. 

Works: 1-3) Nátalia Rebelo_t3nd3r_abyss, Nátalia Rebelo, speed ruin, performance with Ruby Nilsson and music by Kablam and Nev Lilit

Edit Sihlberg, BFA graduate

C-P: What are the ideas that inform your artistic practice on a general note?

I am interested in exploring contrasts; the contradictory and the sense of being in-between – for example in between a feeling of fear and comfort. Thinking something looks familiar but sensing it has a horrid undertone or agenda. I usually use the still life as a departure and it intrigues me to play with its long tradition and use it in a personal way.

E.S: When I paint I have sort of a plan through the process, but I welcome coincidence. Using the medium as a way of being fully present, it is important for me to be open up to spontaneity and the change of mood that can take the painting in different directions.

C-P: What comes to mind most notably about your time at the Royal Institute of Art?

E.S: Except all great students and teachers who are a huge part of the education, I must say the freedom given in terms of time and space at the Royal Institute of Art. It enables students to dig deep in their own interests and for me that has been a valuable challenge which I think is important for a life long artistic practice.

C-P: What can you say about your degree presentation in the spring exhibition?

E.S: My paintings work as individuals, but are at the same time connected. I see them in conversation with each other and I hope it can help guiding the visitor in a direction of what I want to mediate.

The idea from the beginning was to not show a painting titled Attic (the cat giving birth). But deciding to have it in the show next to the other three paintings charged the reading of them as a whole.

C-P: What's next for you in 2019?

E.S: Doing an exchange at the Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien (Vienna) this spring was a good experience and my plan is to do one more semester where I will continue working in the studio and explore more of Vienna's big art sceene.

Works: 1) Edit Sihlberg, Essence and Enticement 2) Edit Sihlberg, Milky Breast

Elin Odentia, MFA graduate

C-P: What are the visual notions and ideas that inform your artistic practice on a general note?

E.O: I see the black squares or fields in my works as the gaze of the painting: as something completely two-dimensional but also a depth, a hole or a sort of full stop. The only part of the painting that confronts you, an irritating interference or emphatic encounter. Thinking around this have been central for my work during the last years.

When I paint, I move in and out of a sensation of everything being exactly how it should. Sometimes I ask myself why a painting looks a certain way, or question the act of painting, but then sometimes there isn’t even a question about it, there are no misunderstandings. The painting explains itself somehow, argues for its own existence. It becomes something of its own, I don’t dare calling it a subject but perhaps an acting object, that has the agency to look back at me.

C-P: What comes to mind most notably about your time at the Royal institute of art?

E.O: The luxury of having continuous conversations about painting with both Sigrid Sandström and Kristina Jansson! These talks have really helped me understand my practice better. Also, in my explorations of the gaze of the painting, one major thing for me was reading about icons. The confronting gaze of the saint in an icon is supposed to make the viewer feel seen, and whole. By meeting the saint's gaze, the viewer is supposed to become a reflection of the holy person, mirror its strength and calmness, and be able to shut out the world. By acting together, they can create a room of contemplation. I realized that the function of the icon is very close to how I think of painting. Both painting and viewer must act for a meeting to occur. This I guess put some responsibility on the viewer, but more importantly: it gives the painting agency, a kind of integrity. The painting lets itself be looked at.

C-P: What can you say about your degree presentation in the spring exhibition?

E.O: I’m showing three separate works at the Academy, two kind-of-diptychs and a triptych. I enjoy working with several canvases as one work; they become two and one, simultaneously. I think it’s interesting to see how they relate to each other as well as me. Sometimes they don’t seem to care about the viewer at all, and sometimes they reach out towards me. The two diptychs are called Until death do is part and Euphoric heartbreak / deep red. The triptych, called Between gazes, has for me a lot to do with Fra Angelico’s The Annunciation, which I tried to see in Madrid this past winter, but it was taken down for restoration!

C-P: What’s next for you in 2019?

E.O: Right now, I’m planning an exhibition together with Malin Petersson at Körsbärsgården, in the far south of Gotland which will open in the end of July. We’ve shown works together before, and I’m looking forward to doing it again. And in September I’m doing a short artist-in-residency at Nordiska Akvarellmuseet, which I am super happy and excited about!

Works: 1) Elin Odentia, Between gazes, 2) Elin Odentia, Until death do us apart 3) Elin Odentia, Euphoric Heartbreak / deep red

Karon Nilzén Jonsson, BFA graduate

C-P:  What are the visual notions and ideas that inform your artistic practice on a general note?

K.N.J: To not understand something completely is for me a starting point for working with a project. It could be about a situation or phenomenon, whether ongoing or already over. I’m not interested in making it fully understandable but rather translate it into my own language for others to ask the same question.

C-P: What comes to mind most notably about your time at the Royal Institute of Art?

K.N.J: The time for me at the Royal Institute of Art has been for better and worse but now in the end of my third year it has been quite good. Two things that comes to mind with this education is a lot of time and loneliness.

C-P: What can you say about your degree presentation in the spring exhibition?

K.N.J: I have not worked with a film this long, before. I started in the summer of 2018 and it was completely done some month ago. Before I used to work in shorter faster projects and this exhibition was a good place to try to work in another way, deeper and slower. I don’t know if it was better, but it was good to try. Then I also worked with a live performance for the first time, at least in this way I'm doing in the show, which was fun. I will do it again! So, this spring exhibition was a place for me to try something new and give it more time than usual.

C-P: What's next for you in 2019?

K.N.J: This summer I will start renovating a house in the north of Bulgaria that I will try to turn into an artist residency. I will move to Copenhagen after the summer and stay there for a year. I have one exhibition coming up there in December so I will work for that and try to find a job for the money in the meanwhile. I will also take part in a group exhibition at Wetterling Gallery in Stockholm curated by C-print.

Works: 1-2) Karon Nilzén Jonsson, There Is Only Entertainment

The Spring Show of the Royal Institute of Art runs through June 6. The BFA show is held at Marabouparken in Sundbyberg and the MFA show parallels runs at Konstakademien on Fredsgatan 12.

The BFA class is: Maiken Buus Andersen, Christine Dahl Helweg-Larsen, Alice Håkansson, Kajsa Kiuttu, Emelie Markgren, Mari Mattsson, Malin Molin, Tove Möller, Karon Nilzén Jonsson, Malin Norberg, Kasper Nordenström Jung, Afrang Nordlöf Malekian, André Nordström, Jimmy Offesson, Emilie Palmelund, Cristian Quinteros Soto, Robin Rydenhov, Jessy-Lin Santana-Burgos, Edit Sihlberg, Ossian Söderqvist, Erik Thörnqvist, Sofia Zwahlen Producent: Meryem Saadi

The MFA class is: Catalina Aguilera, Jonas Bentzer, Frederik Egesborg, Guttorm Glomsås, Vida Lavén, Christopher Long, Maia Lundblom, Lisa Lundgren, Ivar Lövheim, Sara Nielsen Bonde, Elin Odentia, Malin Petersson, Natália Rebelo, Samuel Richter, Linda Sestrajcic, Vasilis Marcus Sjögren Tzanetopoulos, Aron Skoog, Joline Uvman, Sophie Vuković, Aldo Zetterman, Hilde Retzlaff


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