See, Saw, Will See Again
We checked out the MFA ’24 Class at Konstfack and their exhibition See Saw and churned out some impromptu notes about it. Instead of appearing as a showcase exhibition, emphasizing individual "positions”, it came across as an unusually coherent class exhibition which prompted the feeling that the class really must have gone to lengths to survey their common denominators in visual colour schemes, materials and thematic ground. Pleasingly and evenly sparse from beginning to end, this exhibition, without what usually tends to be a few inevitable overpowering and dominating epicenters that extract away from the rest of the art. Not to say there wasn’t artistic output that bore singular qualities but just that the overall presentation balanced everyone’s interests out well in a way that spoke to the credit of the class as a collaborative group for the sake of the exhibition. Here’s a few among several from the class to keep a close watch on.
We ran into David Danell through friends in all haste about the time he started his first BFA year at Konstfack but found him to be one of those artists not making too much noise around him at school, instead honing up his practice in peace. At the collective BFA degree exhibition in 2022 we got to really encounter his art for the first time and were very impressed by his film that excuded air of a visionary maker; calling to mind Ryan Trecartin or Mike Kelley and the likes. His film in this exhibition juxtaposes the legend of St George and the Dragon with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Pumping Iron and intersects both with the musician Nicolas Jaar (Alfredo Jaar’s son) but doesn’t tell you why; instead asks you why…good call, and the way he levels his two main sources of imagery so inequally, using just so much of Schwarznegger that is "needed" and not more is so refreshing and has everything to do with artistic conviction and judgment. Someone else would have justified use with use so to speak but no, not here. Good call again.
Heidi Edström Star much?! Yes. Heidi Edström. The most distinctive position in the MFA1 exhibition; cracking the code of how to give a performance-based work substantial form to mark presence beyond its ephemeral temporality and not be self-effacing in a group exhibition context. But yet also not spatially sweeping as to appropriate room or stage that sounds the alarm of a great deal of ado while not in performative mode and leaving a hole (figuratively) in the collective context. Interestingly, a hole in a literal sense was part of the solution. A liquid solution. Her project The Golden Ring stems from a rigorous research-based practice in the studio and plays with the dichotomy of beauty and disgust and in this instance departs from the colour yellow and the natural staining processes it makes part of (tooth staining, urine coating). In this performance a mechanical pump system was created using the inherent architecture, to add yellow smoothie over the artist’s body while performing a scripted chant.
This is the sort of bold practice you can analogize with actors taking on risqué NC-17 roles that are a hard gamble that could break or make. Flirting with ”disgust” and shining light on its psychological and aesthetical capacity takes a certain type of artist of pedigree to pull off. Sweden needs more artists for whom performance is a cornerstone and we think Heidi could possibly have a trajectory lying ahead of a senior luminary like Anna-Karin Rasmusson.
Josefina Anjou is a Swedish artist who prior to now, pursuing a MFA, did her BFA at Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. In August she will participate in a group exhibition in Stora Galleriet at Konstnärshuset in Stockholm, curated by Jules van den Langenberg that will first be shown in an iteration over in Amsterdam. A solo is also planned this year with Andys gallery so this is an artist you will decidedly be seeing in substantial rooms outside of school soon in time. Loved this painting on view and how the painted modular surface is seated in this wooden tray-like frame. Delectable form. Internationally viable painting in the present art climate; it really has to be said and stressed.