Season of the Double Bind


This exhibition displays a nuanced selection from five Swedish women (Lisa Trogen Devgun, Inez Jönsson, Klara Lidén, Hilde Retzlaff, Linnéa Sjöberg); each artist either supports or rejects the notion that they are products of their environment. Do they manage to escape influence—or lasso it? Trogen Devgun’s work emphasizes risk-taking and the machination of identity incorporating readymade materials; Jönsson persuades one to reconsider perspective and dissect structural components—objects can be reframed in one sweep; Lidén’s imperfect collages highlight the layered nature of social conscience; Retzlaff’s concrete sculptures insist upon lexicons of communication which better suit desires; Sjöberg weaves personas and hybridizes processes until they become fluid and unfettered. In this brutish era—where a call promises no reciprocation of good will—their self-consumed forays are nourishment before another decision must be made.

Seasons wax and wane—as do male/female energies and their less easily categorized offshoots. Current events fill one’s screen size of choice with confusions, cataclysms and stalemates, leaving a grappling populace with bittersweet options which do not necessarily enforce a viable tomorrow. Do we take the proverbial cookie now, or do we wait patiently like pre-schoolers given a lesson in conditioning? More cookies are supposedly available for those who follow rules, for those with manners, for those who abide by social dictations which can, in turn, impede and constrict. It’s hard not to lead you, dear reader, into some dense forest:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Yet: what actually unfolds here is not an existential poem or reductive metaphor where one path proves to be more just or sound than another; rather, I give you reality—where you may find yourself wedged between a ‘rock’ and a ‘hard place,’ where you are damned if you do, damned if you don’t. In this paradox, how does anyone, much less an artist, know whether or not to work with or against a system, and when does one decide to change or destroy it? Catch-22’s flourish in this maze. Those who utter the words “I love you” might be the first to abuse. In this place, where words and actions do not conveniently align, it becomes increasingly difficult to be ‘good’ or ‘right’ or ‘loved’ when one must also fight to be one’s self.

With any maxim or theory, there exists some equally alluring antithesis. Mixed messages ambush the senses, yet most options appear to be less than ideal. We may choose a non-committal middle ground. We procrastinate with consumerism and social media, all that culture offers (feeds?) or seemingly private diversions, or we can go inward towards a more accepting playground. Some might argue that this wavering indecision is jaded or queer, and others might declare that we are merely cowards who don’t know how to move forward. We grow impatient; we hit another dead end. We continue to see: the outcome of choices which don’t add up, indeterminate luck dished out, the greedy advance their position and svelte thieves flock together in twisted harmony. We observe patterns but often do not possess enough power to significantly alter them; this could be the essence of our plight.

If you don’t become the ocean, you’ll be seasick every day. An ambitious woman in the corporate world can be viewed as a threat if she is too successful; she may be considered callous if she cares too much about her career. A woman in the art world is viewed in another context, but to an extent, one sphere (indeed) overlaps the other. Will the women in this exhibition be viewed as threats, and if not, what does that entail? Would you take a woman artist more seriously if she appeared to be dangerous? Would you hide from her—or hide from her work? Curiously enough, when you find yourself at that forked path, she might be your only oracle. In this world, we are not only presented with oversimplified ‘zero-sum’ games—where one person’s gain is someone else’s loss. Instead, even if temporarily, we may become entangled in some ‘no-win’ variant. Contradiction and ambivalence can either resolve or enforce conflict—at any rate, these traits are in bloom.

—Jacquelyn Davis

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Bigert & Bergström have created a sculptural chamber in the form of an egg-shaped sauna that has just been installed at Luossabacken in Kiruna, Sweden’s northernmost town.

Kiruna is currently undergoing a radical transformation, which involves a gigantic move for the whole town. This is so that the mining company LKAB can extract more of the iron seam that cuts diagonally downwards beneath the town. The iron ore is and has been – ever since it first began to be extracted at the end of the 19th century – an important source of income for Sweden, and absolutely vital for the town of Kiruna. No mine, no town. But the breaking up and devastating transformation of the landscape, the environment and the architecture caused by the move are also sparking a lot of debate. Solar Egg has been made as a social sculpture where local people and visitors to the town can meet and, for instance, discuss these challenges. In the arctic climate of Lapland the sauna occupies a key position, as a room for warmth and reflection. B&B have taken up this tradition and developed a sculptural symbol that prompts thoughts of rebirth and an incubator that nurtures conversation and exchanges of ideas. The project is a continuation of the artists strategy to incorporate the climate into the experience of the artwork which was initiated with the Climate Chambers in 1994.

The egg is made out of stainless golden mirror sheeting, its multifaceted form breaking up the surroundings that it reflects into a multiplicity of different mirror images. Landscape, mine, town, sky, sun and snow are here combined into a fragmented image that can evoke associations with the complexity spanned by today’s discussion about climate and sustainable community development. The egg’s interior has been formed out of wood, with the wall panels and floor decking made out of pine and the bench of aspen. In the centre of the egg stand the wood-heated, heart-shaped sauna stove made out of iron and stone. The temperature inside the egg varies between 75° and 85° Celsius.

Skansen har aviserat att Biologiska Museet ska stängas på obestämd tid på grund av renoveringsbehov. Det är en av anledningarna till att vi nu har startat Biologiska museets vänner för att vi vill vara med och påverka de beslut som ska fattas om museets framtid.

Gå med du också för att göra din röst hörd. Som medlem kommer du att få ta del av Biologiska museets vänners aktiviteter så som förhandsvisningar, föredrag och evenemang. Du kommer också att få förstahands information om Biologiska museets status och om den planerade renoveringen som i bästa fall kommer igång redan efter sommaren.
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Vänliga hälsningar
Biologiska museets vänner

Bigert&Bergström, konstnärer
Cia Runesson, scenkonstnär
Anna Asplind, Koreograf och konstnär
Niklas Belenius, gallerist

Enter Willem Anderssons hypnotic world, where there is a another world moving inside. This time, curiosity and orderly randomness prevails. Works being cut apart and separated, information added and removed, all in order to compose a new whole. Andersson releases control and allows the image to systematically, and gradually, emerge. The result is hence a play between dominance and submission of the subject creating a so called “glitch”. Negative images containing warm and cold interstice. One would presume to say, that in our day and age there is a desire and fascination with the analogue method, for example the almost exotic ambience of an old family photo. Some of the works recalls the process of eliciting these old photographs, while others bear a resemblance verging on digital sensation.

A journey that begins in an undeveloped phase recapitulates, accordingly, the connotation of three-dimensional relevance as the conditions are established. Simultaneously, one can presume surrealistic parallels of gentle formalism as the image ripples through and forces the viewer to be pulled into the semi-figurative subject. Like the rings of a tree, the resin seeps through and the phenomena of contrast becomes clear, whilst conveying a poetic undertone. It draws to mind, the conformation of a negative image and it’s elementary aesthetics. A mans face, a woman, and something rather more complex; it is almost impossible to discern, until the complex puzzle is solved and the pieces falls into place.

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Biotop 2017


Group exhibition during Stockholm Art Week at Biologiska museet. A collaboration between Belenius, Elastic GalleryStockholms Auktionsverk, Stockholm Art Week and partnership with Artworks. Free entrance

Exhibiting artists:
Catrin Andersson
Hans Andersson
Willem Andersson
Dick Bengtsson
Miriam Bäckström
Nadine Byrne
Timothy Crisp
Lars Englund
Julius Göthlin
Dick Hedlund
Jone Kvie
Beth Laurin
Bruno Liljefors
Camilla Løw
Andreas Mangione
Julia Peirone
Hilde Retzlaff
Linnéa Sjöberg
Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen



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In the exhibition Heart Line, Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen present a series of X-Ray photographs of taxidermy specimens from the collection of the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium. A gorilla, half a lion and a leopard killing an impala were taken from the museum’s archive and X-rayed in a local hospital, exposing the sculptural structures within.

The museum was originally opened by King Leopold II of Belgium to showcase the civilising mission and economic opportunities in his Congo Free State, amidst accounts of murder, mutilation and enslavement. It presents a Western view of Africa in which tropical taxidermy roams fantasy landscapes in elaborate dioramas next to statues of naked African children.

The X-ray works explore an excavation of subconscious form: the taxidermists imagined a movement and posture between two animals they had never seen based on empty furs and hunters’ stories. For decades, these particular specimens have shaped national subconscious through childhood memories of the museum. X-raying became a way for the artists to reveal natural history as a cultural practice, a colonial interpretation of nature and wildness.

The title of the show refers to Siberian rock drawings of animals in an X-ray view, which were based on a shamanistic belief that animals can be brought back to life from the portrayal of one line running from the mouth to the vital organs.

In the sculptural incarnations of these images the steel structures uncovered inside the scene of a leopard killing an impala are recreated in rare earth neon, mammoth ivory and natural rubber; reconstructing the imaginary choreography between two animal skins in materials of contemporary mining practices.

The act of mining for Siberian mammoth ivory (a matter between animal and mineral) or rare earth phosphates echoes the image making process as an extraction from below the surface. The surface of the earth, the surface of the body. Mining plays an important role in maintaining a postcolonial reality, extracting resources from deep in the Congolese soil and spread throughout the world.

Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen are a London based artist duo whose work is occupied with broad meanings of material and production. They work across objects, installation, film and photography to explore production processes as cultural, ethical and political practices. Their work is in the collection of MoMA in New York, Royal College of Art and Science Museum in London, M+ Museum in Hong Kong.

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Galleri Niklas Belenius is proud to present Lovisa Ringborg’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.

Although Ringborg has often explored narrative and drawn upon the visual language of performance this will be the first time she uses video in her work and it will be the central element in the exhibition. Featuring a film triptych shown on separate screens, the films run simultaneously, ebbing from figuration to abstraction, occasionally falling into sync. Accompanying the film are still images.

The central screening shows two girls who are almost identical in terms of visual appearance. They mirror each other’s actions and take turns in performing CPR. In the next scene the hands of one girl are slowly floating across the other girls neck and it is unclear whether her intention is to strangle or caress her. Black substance is pouring out of her mouth. Sheets are uncontrollably washing over the bodies, morphing into abstract shapes, seemingly possessing a life beyond control. In scenes where the effusive sheets inhabit the world both order and chaos seems to prevail and the captivating effect reaches out towards the tendency of human perception to discover meaning in random structures. All scenes are repeated in an endless loop – each subject forever defined against what it is not.

Ringborg’s work embraces, amongst other ideas, the contextual framework of the binary oppositions mind versus body. As a clear distinction between the two never can be made, we witness a struggle when two opposites assume a role of dominance over the other. There is no clear line of where one stops and the other take over. The dissolving ‘I’ becomes the visual and conceptual measure of reflection where there is room for both dissolution and unity.

Mirror Stage – An attempt to regain consciousness can also be seen to raise questions about subjectivity and identity in terms of relationships with others. How for example in strong friendships, the identification with the other person sometimes become so overpowering that you stop existing in the form you used to know yourself. The title of the exhibition points to the concept in Lacanian theory – the mirror stage – that is the permanent structure of subjectivity and relationship with the body image. It also reflects on the CPR praxis where the body is forced to awaken from an unconscious state. The films present a world that is found within the compounds of psychoanalysis, exorcism and hysteria and throughout the presence of these elements become entwined and floats in and out of focus.

Ringborg makes works that are rich with intrigue and detail but always manages to keep her caution and distance in the storytelling. Her photographic work often describes ambivalent conditions where the subjects portrayed are absorbed by their inner realities and the real action (or non-action) takes place within the subject itself. Ringborg always presents these alternative existences without becoming sentimental. Her images both embody a specific moment in the past as well as a timelessness that keeps her work in a constant state of becoming.

Lovisa Ringborg was born in Linköping, Sweden, in 1979 and lives and works in Stockholm.
She graduated from the University of photography in Gothenburg in 2008. She has had recent solo exhibitions at Harlem Studio Fellowship in New York City and at Kulturhuset in Stockholm. Other solo shows include: Passagen, Linköpings Konsthall, Rotwand Gallery in Zürich. Group exhibitions include: Location One, NYC, The Swedish Institute, Paris, Hasselblad Center, Gothenburg, Norrköping Konstmuseum, Gallery Sun Contemporary, Seoul.

The soundtrack is composed by Jenna One. Editing with help of Viking Jonsson and Karl Fredberg.

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