TATORT — A History of (Mostly) Violence

25 May - 23 June 2013

Brottsplats/Crime Scene


Gösta Adrian-Nilsson
Bigert & Bergström
John Duncan
Leif Elggren
Öyvind Fahlström
Paul Fägerskiöld
Allen Grubesic
Philip Grönberg
Sten Hansson
Carl Michael von Hausswolff
Magnus Wallin


– A History of (Mostly) Violence


In the entrance we are greeted by what looks like a large sword – it is, however, a bronze coin from the Lokele people of Congo. The fact that their coinage is crafted to look like weapons becomes a rather overt symbol of the link between economics and crime, and furthermore, a coin of this size would suffice to buy a wife…


Gösta Adrian-Nilsson was the great pioneer of Swedish modernism, his “Livsfarligt” (At Peril of Death/Fatal) from 1922 was made in a time where he lived in Paris and had contacts to Fernand Legér.


Weegee was the pseudonym of news-photographer Arthur Fellig, who became known for his uncensored presentation of life and death in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The exhibited photograph, entitled ”Murder” is from 1945.


In Sten Hanssons “1968 Athens Tourist Map” we are reminded of just how easily our patterns of consumption can support criminals, in this case the military Junta that rose to power shortly beforehand, and actively promoted Greece’s tourist industry.


Öyvind Fahlström’s 1974 “Column 4 – IB-affair” details the political scandal that unearthed from among others, journalist Jan Guillous findings about a secret intelligence organ known as IB that collaborated with CIA and Mossad, and reported directly to prime minister Olof Palme and his minister of defence Sven Andersson. The four journalists were sentenced to a year each in prison for espionage. Only decades later was it revealed that Jan Guillou had himself been working for the KGB.


After having been stabbed while working as a bus driver in L.A. in 1976, John Duncan set out on a two night performance to capture, or rather to pass on to friends the experience of believing that one’s life is about to end the very next moment. Masked, disguised and with a gun firing blanks, he went to different friends’ houses late at night, knocked on the door, and when they opened, shot them in the face…


In a 1977 performance, Leif Elggren laid claim to the international symbol of danger; diagonal black and yellow stripes.


Carl Michael von Hausswolff’s “Red” series are pictures taken of locations where crime or violations have taken place; the location is lit up by strong red light, as to suggest a looming presence of the previous trauma. The pictures on display were taken in 2003 at an evacuated terrace housing project in Chicago where after extensive drug dealing and crime the city authorities stepped in and shut the area down.


Magnus Wallin works with a highly art-historical approach to questions of norm and crip-theory. “Horizon”, 2005, consists of two unflinching eyes. Nothing more.


Bigert & Bergström’s interest lies in the human condition and its environment. “Jag hör röster” (I hear voices) from 2006 is a mash-up of pictures from a car rampage through Stockholms Old Town, reminding us of how psychopathology allways will be a variable in crime statistics.


Allen Grubesic’s “I Was Young” from 2007 is an apology for a past of typical juvenile delinquencies – prostitution and/or drug dealing – excusing it in part by pointing out the everlasting link between youth and crime.


Philip Grönberg’s work is a pattern with pictures of the perhaps most aesthetically-minded of all gangs, the transnational Mara Salvatrucha, best known for their intricate full-body tattoos.


L.A. gang culture also sets the backdrop to Paul Fägerskiöld’s hieroglyphic painting of Bloods and Crips tags, from his 2011 series “Stolen Messages”.

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