We are returning to Sweden this week for The Untitled Drawing Club. I visited Fotografiska back in 2016 which seems like a lifetime ago. If you want to read my post from then, click here. I really enjoyed spending time in this museum. Everything from the location to the exhibitions was incredible. It was also one of the nicest museum cafes I’ve ever been to, overlooking a couple of Stockholm’s islands and the harbour. For the Club, we have two links to explore – an artist vlog and a Google maps tour of the exterior of the building. I most definitely found inspiration from the vlog for my artwork this week. Read on to see my artwork and to find a link to the Club.
I couldn’t find a great deal of information online so, for this week, my overview will be brief. Instead, I’ll be spending a bit more time on the artworks higlighted by Winter in her artist vlog.
In short, Fotografiska has four sites. One in Stockholm, New York, Tallinn (Estonia) and Berlin (opening in September 2022). According to their website, they are not a ‘traditional’ museum or gallery. What they mean by this is that they don’t have a permanent collection nor do they sell any of the artworks on display. They want to ‘inspire, entertain, and create impact’ sporting the motto: ‘Have fun. Stay late. Get deep. Spill your drink’ (quotes are from their website). As I was researching to see what else I could find, I read that Fotografiska also hopes to be a culturally safe space.
After a bit more digging, I discovered some further information about the building itself. It is an absolutely striking heritage building in Stockholm built between 1906 and 1910 by Ferdinand Boberg. It served as the Customs House for Stockholm. When the time came to re-purpose this heritage building, it was going to transform into the ABBA Museum. However, that thought was abandoned due to some financial issues. Instead, it opened to the public as Fotografiska in 2010.
One thing that is really memorable about this building is how the original wooden framework is still intact and as much on display as the artworks. It is such a stunning space to walk through and the view from the cafe is just beautiful. A very relaxing way to spend some time in Stockholm.
The following artworks feature in Winter’s artist vlog. If you would like to see the vlog, click on the link to the Club at the end of this post.
Eric Johnason ‘The Architect’, 2015
There are a couple of reasons why I like this photograph. Firstly, there is a dog. If you include a dog in your work there is a 100% chance I will like it. Secondly, it’s an interesting piece from a perspective point of view. It appears the architect is sitting both inside and outside his house, at the same time. If you look for an extended period of time, the work just gets more confusing – but in a good way.
Tisah Tucknott ‘Fishy Island’, 2009
This is one of six photographs in a series that consist of fish with islands on their back. This work plays with the idea of a hybrid. Similar to the previous photograph, it becomes more confusing the more you stare.
Eric Johansson ‘Drained Memories’, 2018
I don’t know why, but abandoned places and apocalyptic scenary appeals to me. In this photograph, you can see someone standing alone in the front corner. What they are looking at is some kind of abandoned scenery. If you look at the top of the cliffs, you can see remnants of structures including what looks like a diving platform. There is water pooling at the bottom of the cliffs and it seems that the rest of the water has drained away – so you can begin to see where the title comes from.
Eric Johansson ‘Comfort Zone’, 2019
This is, by far, my favourite photograph shared on the artist vlog. It looks like a fairytale with a giant woman sitting inside a greenhouse in the middle of this beautiful landscape. I wanted to discover more about this artwork so went onto Johansson’s website. Here he describes how he wanted to create a scene that was both comfortable yet also felt like a trap. This balance is depicted so perfectly in his work. The vlog definitely encouraged me to look further into Johansson’s photography.
Alex Prager ‘The Extras’, 2019
The final artwork I want to share is The Extras by Alex Prager. I love what Winter wrote about this work – ‘we are all the leads in our own film (life) and I think we all often forget…that we are extras in everyone else’s!’ Prager’s photography is hard to look away from as you are drawn into the melodrama of the situation. In this work you can spend time zooming in on everyone in the shot and imagining their story. Yet again, I wanted to learn more about the artist and went down a rabbit hole looking at Prager’s other works.
I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to create after watching the artist vlog. I was inspired by both The Extras and Comfort Zone. However, in the end, Comfort Zone is what led me to create my drawing/cross stitch hybrid for this week. I find greenhouses and plants to be relaxing so I drew the outline of the greenhouse from Comfort Zone and filled it with plants. I’m all for having plants in my comfort zone!
As always, the Club provided a wonderful way to spend my Monday. If you want more information, or to join, click here. Otherwise, see you all back in Sweden next week!