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Alicja Kwade “Wandel durch Inhalt”, 2014

Report from Market Art Fair at Liljevalchs in Stockholm 1

Kristina Lindemann

This year Market Art Fair, the biggest fair for galleries from Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland and Sweden, is celebrating its tenth anniversary. Open Friday to Sunday for the general public, for the second year the fair takes place in the majestic spaces of the famous art gallery Liljevalchs located on the green isle of Djurgården, a park area of the posh eastern part of the inner city.

Many of the exhibiting art galleries have been a part of the fair for many years. A Stockholm gallery which is missing this year is Wetterling Gallery, some of their artists can instead be found in the booths of Danish galleries that form a rough 40% of the total 35 exhibitors. This does not leave much space for galleries from Iceland, Finland and Norway.

One of the most interesting parts of the fair is to be found - slightly hidden away from the main trajectory on the ground floor - downstairs. In “Market Studio”, five films by Enrique Martínez Celaya, Jacob Dahlgren, Sonja Larsson/Molly Kien, Takeshi Murata, John Skoog are screened each for about an hour on loop, followed by another film on loop in the next hour. The mood barometer of the films ranges from pensive to surreal, from conceptual to thrilling.

John Skoog. “Reduit (Redoubt)”, 2014 (John Berggren Gallery) 

John Skoog’s film “Reduit (Redoubt)” (John Berggren Gallery) is based on dark, bass-rich rumbling sounds, close-ups of a tree’s furrowed bark and the cemented outer walls of what once was a farmer's house. A slightly mumbled tale about the odd man of a village triggers a mystic sense for rough surfaces, earthy world views, dusty memories and whispered convictions, a sensory experience that resonates with other parts of the fair.

A lot of the art on display rings a strong sense for the tactile, for more-than-visual sensations and mind-body-nature relations. Surface textures in one booth are juxtaposed with contemplative zoom-in sensations at booths displaying one artist only. With this the typical fair feeling of an all-at-once market is balanced with thematic persuasiveness. 

Away from the buzz of the booths, five conversations between curators, gallerists, artists and writers, are taking place at “Market Studio”, alternating with the film screening programme. Inevitably they become each others backdrop. As the talks range from questions of displaying time based art (Steffi Hessler with John Skoog and Oscar Carlson) to the exposure of contemporary art within the digital realm (Ashik Zaman with Suzana Diamond, Jonas Kleerup, Jennifer Lindblad), artists and gallerists are given a forum to contextualize their respective booth displays and further work.

Far left: Meta Isaeus-Berlin “Fukt”, 2015 (Galleri Andersson Sandström), far right: Leontine Arvidsson “4”, 2014 (Annaellegallery), front: Mette Björnberg “Before It All Falls (2)”, 2014 (Galleri Magnus Karlsson)

Upon entering the large sculpture hall on the main floor, the eyes easily fall on the vibrant, almost ecstatic sculpture by Leontine Arvidsson that stretches over half of the large wall in the far back of the hall. The 1974 born Swedish artist, who is presented by Stockholm based Annaellegallery, makes sculptures of twisted bars that hover in rooms, fill them up, cling to them and, although reminding of scribbles on paper, transform with the spectator moving about. Market Space shows  further works that “go beyond the gallery booth context” are shown, as the press material reads.

Under water feeling with Jiri Georg Dokoupil at Market Art Space

Davíð Örn Halldórsson, Perfúm esperanto, 2015 (Hverfisgalleri)

The Icelandic gallery Hverfisgallerí shows two small, yet energetic mixed-media works on paper by Davíð Örn Halldórsson. The graffiti artist is otherwise know for large scale, room-filling, colour-maniac and site-specific works and was the winner of the Carnegie stipend in 2013 in Stockholm.

David Svensson “Absent Stories” at Specta

One of those tactile impressions is David Svensson’s paper collage series “Absent Stories” in which blank pages from books that yellowed in various shades form intricate tonal arrangements and speak of what once was and now seems out of reach.

On the floor: Wilhelm Mundt Trashstones” 2015. On the wall: Tatjana Valsan (Galleri Andersson Sandström)

At Galleri Andersson Sandström two German artists form a powerful couple: a large abstract painting by Tatjana Valsang suggests a soft, fluid surface and converses with the cool, glossy, somewhat melted “Trashstones” by Wilhelm Mundt.

On floor: Alicja Kwade “Wandel durch Inhalt”, 2014. On wall: Ólafur Elíasson “Rise and Fade”, 2015 (Gallery i8)

Master of perceptual experiences Olafur Eliasson is exhibited both at Icelandic Gallery i8 as well as Copenhagen/Berlin based Niels Borch Jensen Gallery & Editions. In the latter he is a.o. displayed with another artist know for sensory experiments: Carsten Höller. Another artist whos editions are to be found here is Tal R.

On wall: Tal R, on floor: Erwin Wurm (Galleri Bo Bjerggaard) 

At the Danish Galleri Bo Bjerggaard expressive paintings by Tal R meet Erwin Wurm’s humerous, yet somewhat cryptic sculptures and in the booth of Swedish Lars Bohman Gallery surreal ape- and bird-like creatures with human traits have settled in.

From left to right: Anna Ling, Jone Kvie, Per Mårtensson (Elastic Gallery) 

Jone Kvie’s organically formed sculptures at Elastic Gallery are a strong counterbalance in the otherwise sleek and grey booth.

Jonas Dahlberg fågel at Galerie Nordenhake 

At Berlin/Stockholm based gallery Nordenhake the booth is filled with the subtle clicking and shredding sounds that seem to come from a film loop by Jonas Dahlberg, an artist specialised on making miniature worlds look real. The loop is only a little more than a minute long, displaying a close-up of what appears to be a music automaton. However only one knob is turning while the rest of the image seems frozen.

Carin Ellberg at Galleri Andréhn-Schiptjenko 

Carin Ellberg fills Andréhn-Schiptjenkos booth with pastel candy colours, the names of works are scribbled on the walls and sound poetic (next to one of the smaller drawings it says for example “that asked for permission to retreat”), the paintings merge with their scenery.

Andreas Eriksson “Untitled”, 2015 (Galleri Riis)

Oslo/Stockholm split Galleri Riis exhibits one work only: A super large work by Andreas Eriksson, an abstract landscape work on canvas. Galleri Riis sure knows how to challenge the booth context without participating in the “Market Space” format.

Galleri Thomassen: great sculptures by Joakim Ojanen. In the far back: Larmgalleri, works by Kaspar Oppen Samuelsen

Marco Cueva “Omphalos” 2015 at Galleri Charlotte Lund