The Fittest Gallerist on Earth
Full disclosure; ten years into interviewing and following last year which for Team C-print was very much about the overlap between sports and arts, the following interview with prominent Palma de Mallorca-based gallerist Stefan Lundgren, also ten years in operation, is a fresh breath of air.
C-P: This year is your tenth in operation as Lundgren Gallery (previously Mallorca Landings). Aside from the obvious, what are the pros of being based out of sunny Palma de Mallorca?
S.L: Every day is a good day on this island! If not stuck in too much bureaucracy, it’s an attractive place with many lovely places to visit. Big enough for many businesses to work and even grow. Two artists based in NY and LA are currently looking for a place out here. Direct flights between NYC and PMI has made it even more sexy.
C-P: I went there some years ago and was pleasantly surprised by the art scene but as an insider; how do you view it?
S.L: It’s very local of course but on the bright side; Spain is a country where culture is important and we have many galleries. Most of them, however, tend to work with local artists.
C-P: Let’s take a moment to rewind a little; as a trained artist, what was your initial entry into the gallery business?
S.L: My wife Pärnilla and I never set out to run a gallery. We came to the island as artists back in 2005, just after I had my solo at Lunds Konsthall. I was working with a Berlin gallery back then had been living in the city for 10 years. The “tricky” part was the we collected art… Quite a lot of it. Some artists who are now based in NYC and LA, told us that we should open a space in Palma so we could exhibit their work and represent them. As an artist, you tend to know how to work with other artists, and as a collector you have amassed insights into how your favorite galleries operate. We opened our first space in 2011 in a 750 sqm old palace in the city center as all our artists already had their white cubes in the big cities. We eventually outgrew that place. Today we run two large white cube-like spaces, no wait, sorry, we just opened up a small showroom in Felanitx in an old historical building to get back to the old charms that many of our artists love. It’s Spain, after all.
C-P: I’m curious; what are some of the gems in your own private collection?
S.L: You know, never ask an art junkie this question but to name just a few; Timur Si-Qin, a red room installation titled ‘Premier Machinic Funerary: Prologue’, a work titled ‘Angela750’ by Jason Meadows and not to forget two works by Sterling Ruby that are placed next to a great painting by one of my favorites; David Byrd. Among some younger artists; a Tala Madani, a Jonathan Monk and among even younger names we adore our more recent acquisitions ‘Shakira’ by Xavier Robles de Medina, a work by Louisa Gagliardi and a very special self-portrait by Igor Moritz.
C-P: Something that also evokes my curiosity and as somebody who’s into CrossFit and fitness in general, I hear you are well versed in the field and have a son, Axel Lundgren, who’s a high-level athlete. In fact, I believe you have some insights into some of the top CrossFit Games athletes. Share some anecdotes, please!
S.L: Except for seeing Axel at the CrossFit Games 2016 as a competitive teen athlete, training at CrossFit Mayhem (ed’s note: one of the leading CrossFit boxes in the world) in Cookville, TN, with my family, and of course meeting Rich Froning Jr (ed’s note: 4 x Fittest Man on Earth) and also his parents!
During Wodapalooza (ed's note: an annual CrossFit event/competition) in Miami a few years ago, I was teamed up with Alexander Elebro at top CrossFit athlete Noah Olsen’s place Peak360. That guy never gets tired! Like, ever. He gave me no time to rest. I have never before or after had a harder session but that must have been Mr. Elebro's lightest workout ever! With Axel in the family, we often have some of the leading CrossFit athletes over for dinner at home which is great fun. We follow Laura Horvath closely, of course, since she is Axel’s girlfriend. Plus, all their friends make great protein packed dinner and have great stories to tell. Laura Horvath is also one of our collectors. We have also helped other athletes like Lukas Högberg acquire art. I mean…Jacolby Satterwhite, Sara Vanderbeek, Ebecho Muslimova or Gerald Davis… These guys are on already a quite good level, both as athletes and art collectors!
C-P: Tell me about your current workout routine.
S.L: CrossFit 5 times per week at Rafa Nadal Academy in Manacor which is close to where we live. When not doing CrossFit, we spin or go running instead.
C-P: One of your represented artists, Jacolby Satterwhite, is having such a moment. He seemed to be at every major institution last year! Reading up, it seems like you have been working together for years. How did your path cross?
S.L: Jacolby was still in his early years of university and had just presented his first show in a small gallery when we spotted him. It was one of our represented artists, Luis Gispert, who told us about him after having met him at one of his lectures. I contacted Jacolby already back in 2010-2011 and in 2012 we had our first solo show with him. That year, a good one for us in hindsight, we also exhibited Alex Da Corte for the first time. With Jacolby, we’ve had another three since 2012 and what a journey he has had! And what a pleasure it’s been for us to be a part of it.
C-P: The gallery is about to participate in this year’s edition of Zona Maco in CDMX (shared booth with Madrid-based Cerquone Gallery) and have plans of opening a space in the hip neighborhood of Roma Norte. Tell us a little about your rapport with the city which I’m quite enamored with myself by the way.
S.L: Oh, I love Mexico City. We have had our radar on that place for some time now. I enjoy the Latino culture and also geographically it’s closer to many artists and collectors based in Los Angeles. We participated at Zona Maco also last year and of course it wasn’t anything like Basel or Frieze but we sold all the works by our talented painter Igor Moritz before the opening. This year we combine three of our London-based artists; Amba Sayal-Bennett, Rannva Kunoy with Igor Moritz. We have found a place in the city that will become our gallery space there but the paperwork takes time…And we are all too familiar with this; our space in Felanitx took 5 years to complete!
C-P: With the year just beginning; what’s in store for you on a personal level?
S.L: Oh, easy…getting in better shape. More cardio, weights and just more mobility. Please note that I don’t at all blame our other son Lukas and his natural wine bar Bar la Sang in Palma. The ultimate trap.
All images courtesy of Stefan Lundgren/Lundgren Gallery
Self portrait with the Lundgren team (also on the C-print front page)
From the gallery with paintings (each 300 x 200 cm) by Gerald Davis
From the recently opened up solo show 'Pray More, Worry Less' with Philipp Timischl
From the Lundgren family home
Top CrossFit Games athlete (2022 Third Fittest Woman on Earth) Laura Horvath with a painting by LA-based artist Gerald Davis
Axel Lundgren in barbell action
Jacolby Satterwhite's first solo exhibition at the gallery in 2012
Jacolby Satterwhite, 'Demoiselles' (2019), C-print (2 + 1 AP), 150 x 266 cm