January 10th marked a new gallery season. Ah, the expectations of what new art will be shown. Ever since 2007 Hudiksvallsgatan in Stockholm has been the home of galleries. It has even expanded further into the neighboring streets – Gävlegatan and Hälsingegatan. This cluster, which now consists of nine galleries, has also been the reason behind the nickname “Stockholm’s Chelsea”.
To systematically walk through this gallery season was not an option. The stream of people was dense. The best part of openings is the people – watching and meeting of friends. But this time it was more stressful than anything else: like a belated Christmas-shopping trauma. This is usually the case with vernissages at Hudiksvallsgatan anyway: you have to hurry to see the people, hurry to see the art and in the end you miss everything. I would recommend everyone to take a few hours in one day and look at everything in peace. Here is a little re-cap of what Hudiksvallsgatan has to offer this month.
Karin Karlsson (b. 1984) with her exhibition Event Horizon at Galleri Kleerup was the happy surprise of the evening. It was a show consisting mostly of charcoal drawings hanged sparsely in the space. When you looked closer at the larger pieces you could see the markings after the pencil: like remnants of violence. What I didn’t like about this show was the lack of text. The press release was nowhere to be found at the show and now when I’ve been looking for it for about an hour and I can’t find it anywhere else. There is no information of the artist on either the gallery’s or the artist’s website. Not even Google can help me!
Karl Larsson. From Jørn (Cut Up, Written Over and Eventually Recovered). 2013. Newspaper article and xeroxed print
Karl Larsson’s (b. 1977) show on the other hand is all about text. Cut up, written over and eventually recovered at Nordenhake shows the artist’s multitude of talents. The exhibition consists of a series of works that deal with literary figures and how they are maintained through history and how an experience of poetry is relevant beyond the notion of itself. A large carpet is placed on the floor surrounded by objects and collages, 9 works in total. There is a weird office-like dynamic between all of the pieces, which creates a shared narrative.
Christian Larsen is showing the second solo-exhibition of Lucas Rahn (b.1980). The show consists of small, brown-toned, seemingly classic paintings that tell a story of Rahn’s life and his relationship to lying. The hanging is based on a system and order, which, as he explains, has been chosen for him without his own involvement. He treats it as a game. This creates a strange backdrop and puts these small paintings in a different light.
Peter Hagdahl. Explosion. 2012. C-print
At Andréhn-Schiptjenko we can see Peter Hagdahl’s (b. 1956) sixth solo show. I have to admit that I’ve always been mildly interested in Hagdahl’s work. It was last year when I saw his piece Liquid Sky at the brand newart-oriented shopping and lifestyle mall Mood (yes…It’s a Stockholm-thing) when I got really blown away by his work. This outdoor installation has sensors that follow your movements and changes in sound and light according to the visitors. For this exhibition he continues to work around the themes “influence”, “change” and “transformation”; all of which came together when one of the pieces broke during the opening. The disposition of the exhibit evolves around a long sculpture that intersects the space and makes way for other images and objects in its surrounding. Peter Hagdahl uses this as an investigation of different processes according to the themes he has chosen.
At Nau Gallery, where young art resides, you are met by no theme at all. Here you see a group show in the “sprit” (SIC) of youth. The artists on display – Erik Olovsson (b. 1982), Karl Henrik Edlund (b. 1987), Malin Gabriella Nordin (b. 1988), Milena Karlsson (b. 1987), and Rebecka Bebben Andersson (b. 1984) show a great variety of work. Most of these are quite well made and capture the zeitgeist. But there is a lack of a curatorial ambition from the gallery; each artist is merely presented on a wall, with a little nametag on the side.
It was an okay start for the New Year. I think that deep down I was hoping for more, but I always do. Great expectations are sometimes followed by a medium-sized sigh. Don’t get me wrong, I like Hudiksvallsgatan and it hosts several of the most important galleries in Stockholm (and maybe Sweden), but I feel that there should be more of a drive, a more dynamic force. Isn’t that what economic and creative competition should create?