Double channel video, 32 min.
Ingela Johansson has revisited an almost forgotten historic event: the Gotland study week, which took place in Katthammarsvik in August 1989, just ten days before the Baltic Way, a political demonstration in which a human chain was formed across the Baltic countries. With her works she tries to fill in the gaps left after rereading and understanding history as it has been officially written.
Before the end of the Iron Curtain, the island of Gotland was the closest Western territory to the occupied Baltic States. On the island’s east coast, in Katthammarsvik, a group of dissident representatives and exiled Lithuanians from all over the world met in secret over the course of a week to try to come to an agreement on the path towards independence.
Johansson’s video essay The nearest point to the free world, 1989 reveals in a non-linear way what was at stake during that week. Material she has filmed is weaved together with original tapes from the meeting, forming a body in which old footage is juxtaposed with the new, and layers of time are overlapped.
Johansson’s particular interest during her research on the independence movement has been the contributions of cultural workers – and especially, of actors from the Youth Theatre in Vilnius – to the Gotland meeting. The exiled Lithuanian artist Eugenius Budrys was one of the organizers of the study week, together with his closest friend, the architect and freedom fighter Jonas Pajauijs. Budrys’ artistic practice is thus represented in the exhibition with four of his paintings.
Johansson vaguely remembers from her childhood the events involved in the regaining of independence by the Baltic countries, and thus her own paintings are a playful yet sincere attempt to comment on and relate to the abstract works produced by Eugenius Budrys throughout his history of exile.
Pics from Portable Landscapes, Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, Riga, 2018.
“The victory, we can only achieve with guarding and guarding”
Documents and stories were being processed about the Swedish environmental movement in a multi layered installation at Gerlesborgsskolan, a preparatory art school. The story of ”Save Kynnefjäll” was represented in particular. The resistance of the nuclear fuel disposal at the nearby mountain Kynnefjäll lasted almost 20 years and became a viable popular movement.
In the centre of the exhibition were excerpts from a selection of diary notes from 1980-1985. Posters were echoing and duplicating messages from the notes and the handwriting was appropriated from archive material. A copy of the stone monument that were placed by students outside the watch cabin at the mountain, with inscriptions on solidarity, was made by the artist Ivan Stüffe. I wanted to symbolically bring the stone back to the school context to highlight the connection with the environmental community, the classes in permaculture, land art and workshops with engineers at Chalmers University in Göteborg.
Screening of the film Eternal Scar, Evigt ärr, 78 min.
Graphic design in collaboration with Kristoffer Larberg.
Text by Frida Sandström and Karolina Pahlén: Folder_Segern kan vi bara nå_
En läsning ur Rädda Kynnefjälls dagböcker
Utförd i samarbete med skådespelerskan Linda Lönnerfeldt och föreningen Rädda Kynnefjäll. Mossans marknads scen.
När Kynnefjäll föreslogs som plats för slutförvaring för kärnbränsle mobiliserade lokalbefolkningen med stöd från miljönätverk en livskraftig motståndsrörelse. Dag som natt under nästan 20 år (1980–2000) vaktades platsen av människor kring organisationen Rädda Kynnefjäll. När borrutrustning skulle flygas in med helikopter samlades tusentals människor på berget och helikoptern kunde inte landa. Vaktstugan, som befolkades av människor från lokalsamhället såväl som tillresta personer från nätverk som Avfallskedjan, står fortfarande kvar på platsen – full med diplom, hantverk, inristade ord och anteckningar från de många vakttimmar som spenderades där. Många är människorna som med idogt arbete och övertygelse vann kampen om Kynnefjäll. Många är människorna som med stolthet berättar om den gemenskap och samhörighet som var grunden för att Kynnefjäll kunde räddas. Kampen om Kynnefjäll blev en medial berättelse om jätten mot Goliat, en framgångssaga om den lilla människan mot staten.
Text: Karolina Pahlén
Tack till Christer Nilsson och Eva Antonsson /Rädda Kynnefjäll, Bohusläns föreningsarkiv och Mossutställningar.
Eternal Scar, 78 min, video
An investigation into Waste Network co-ordinated groups at locations considered as sites for nuclear waste management. The Waste Network was created 1981 as a consequence test drillings. As a reaction there was a giant upraising amongst ordianary citizens. In Kynnefjäll the local inhabitants occupied a mountain for 20 years. Through site specific research I have conducted interviews with people active in the resistance movements around nuclear and Waste managing with focus on Sweden and Japan. The narrative is unfolding the complex technological, geological, socio-political and economic discourses around the nuclear issue.
In collaboration with filmmaker Camilla Topuntoli, 2017
Screened at; Folkkampanjen, Almedalen. Represented in the collection of Hallands konstmuseum
Moving mass, (2014-2017) See blog
Together with: Eva Arnqvist, Johanna Gustafsson Fürst, Caroline Mårtensson, Åsa Jungnelius and Malin Pettersson Öberg.
Moving Mass explores glass as a concept, commodity, and as part of history and the process of production: an interplay of industry and humans as the foundation for the construction of a society and sense of community.
In Moving Mass, six Swedish artists have explored the “Kingdom of Crystal”. They take as their cue the local and global transformations of society. What has been the role of glass in the Kingdom of Crystal? And how is it to live there after most of the production has been moved abroad? Has the contribution to the glass industry’s success by immigrant labourers been overlooked? How are the losses and changes in terms of work, identity and community dealt with and portrayed? The project is a longer process encompassing various activities.
Group introduction from the book “Glass is moving mass”:
“Moving Mass is an artistic exploration of a place in transformation. To be exact, an area in the east of Småland known as “Glasriket”: the Kingdom of Crystal. The project was initiated by Ingela Johansson, born and raised in Boda in a family that has worked in the glass industry for generations. Johansson invited her colleagues Eva Arnqvist, Johanna Gustafsson Fürst, Åsa Jungnelius, Caroline Mårtensson and Malin Pettersson Öberg to accompany her on this investigation, and to create representations of the impressions and experiences of the place and the process of transformation it is undergoing. What is entailed in the transition from an industrial society to a post-industrial knowledge economy, from thriving rural communities to a depopulated countryside? What role has glass played historically — as a utility object, a work of art, an industry, a technology, a craft, object, idea and community — and what is its current situation?
The project approaches these questions from the perspectives of six different artists. In Shifting Positions — a Study in Red, Eva Arnqvist has investigated how the community of Kosta has been affected socially, symbolically, and materially in the transition from industry to the experiential economy. Following a long internship at a glassworks, Johanna Gustafsson Fürst has reflected on the working body and the dream of The Perfect Product. This has become the theme of a film, as well a series of talks and sculptures. Ingela Johansson has, in her work In the light and shade of the ornaments — a rehearsal, reconstructed the history of labour migration from Sudetenland and the knowledge transfer of engraving techniques from Bohemia, which contributed to the success of the Swedish glass industry and the construction of the welfare state. Åsa Jungnelius, who lives and works in the Kingdom of Crystal, reflects in her autobiographical work Look, a commodity that can speak! on what it is like to live there and experience the transition from representation to independent practice. In “Reverberation”, Caroline Mårtensson has conducted laboratory analyses of plants taken from some of the most polluted glassworks in Småland, letting them bear testimony to the clean-up problems faced by the region’s municipalities and citizens. Finally, Malin Petterson Öberg’s film, Reading Glass, is a cultural-historical reading of the importance of glass for Sweden and of the construction of a modern society; a reading that also reflects on its cracks and failed promises.
Visits have been carried out around Småland over the three years that this project has run. It was initiated in the spring of 2014, with a shared period of work in the Kingdom of Crystal, and was introduced to the public with a traditional hyttsill, hot shop herring, at The Glass Factory in Boda in April 2015. That autumn, the Moving Mass exhibition opened at Kalmar konstmuseum, curated by the museum’s director at that time, Bengt Olof Johansson. The exhibition was accompanied by an ambitious public programme and closed in February 2016 with the conference “Art and the Manifestation of Social Change: the Artist’s Role as Knowledge Producer and the Art Institution as a Host for Cross-Disciplinary Enquiries”, planned by the curator Lisa Rosendahl. In the autumn, the artists’ works were integrated into The Glass Factory’s permanent exhibition, Glass is Never Still – it is Moving Mass, and further events were hosted. (…)”
The project is supported by the Swedish Arts Council, Nybro Kommun and the Arts and Grants Committee.
Andrei’s Maria is an artistic film essay about Andrei Tarkovsky’s Swedish produced film The Sacrifice, shot in Närsholmen, Gotland in 1986. In Andrei’s Maria, the Icelandic actress Guðrún Gísladóttir returns to Närsholmen thirty years after the recording of Tarkovsky’s film. With her is her daughter Vera Illugadóttir, with whom she shares recollections of the production. It is an interpretation and a homage to the character Maria, a witch destined to save the world from nuclear disaster. The film explores Tarkovsky’s critique of civilization while simultaneously telling the behind-the-scenes story from the unique perspective of Gísladóttir.
The new material is interwoven with the original film through the technique of montage. Existential questions, paired with the progression of time and space, are at the center of the narrative, which is driven forward by memories of the film’s production. The mother-daughter relationship and the complexities of social heritage are other central themes of the non-linear, unpaved story that aim to describe how all of us, through time, are part of a collective movement forward; it explores the circular motion of time, like the ebb and flow of waves crashing into shore.
The story line develops around Närsholmen, the peninsula in Gotland where the film was shot in the 80’s, which invokes contemporary issues of the steady rearmament of Gotland and the looming threat of a global nuclear weapons war. The exile situation that Tarkovsky found himself in at the time serves to remind us of the Cold War; both through the reflections of Gísladóttir and her choice to distribute the film in support of the anti-nuclear arms movement, and through Tarkovsky’s call on world leaders, such as Olof Palme, to help solve the precarious situation his Russian family found themselves in.
The film delves deep into the esoteric knowledge of Tarkovsky and his interest in the interpretation of dreams, which offers a clear break from the standard methods of rational film production. The montage script draws on archival material and conversations I had with the women involved in Tarkovsky’s production, whose experiences, I found, were crucial to emphasize.
The original idea was to create a film that would reflect the local community’s experience of the recording of the film, which in addition to making its mark on the populations’ memory has also significantly shaped the identity of the place. I wanted to contribute another form of homage, one that operates on different, constantly shifting layers, while also serving as a complementary tool for further interpretation and understanding of The Sacrifice.
With support by BAC.
Technical assistance and collaboration-production, Camilla Topuntoli
Sound, Patrik Johansson, Per-Henrik Mäenpää
Text editing, Frida Sandström
I was invited to a residency Andra ögon på staden, (Other Eyes on the city), to work in the municipality of Kungsbacka to explore how an artistic methodology may be used to create a dialogue with the citizens about future urban planning. I worked occasionally in Kungsbacka during the period autumn 2015 – to autumn 2016.
In Kungsbacka I discovered Northern Europe’s last intact Led printing shop, operated by Northern Halland newspaper until 1991. It was activated with a temporary exhibition and a newly produced magazine, Kungsbacka Blodbok, designed by Maryam Fanni. Contributions from Catharina Gabrielsson, a lecturer in urban planning and associate professor of architecture at the KTH School of Architecture; Catharina Thörn, associate professor of cultural studies at the School of Cultural Sciences at the University of Gothenburg; Linnea Eriksson, poet; Camilla Schultz, activist and member of ”Together for Kungsbacka”; Frida Sandström, artist and writer; members from”Save Tölö Kronopark” and the ecological store ”Tuvan”. During my residency I also started to work on an essay, ”Eternal Scar” together with filmmaker Camilla Topuntoli. An investigation into Waste Network co-ordinated groups at locations considered as sites for nuclear waste management.
In October a conference took place, Andra ögon på staden (Other eyes on the city) about artistic practices in urban planning. Participants at the seminar included: Catharina Gabrielsson, a lecturer in urban planning and associate professor of architecture at KTH School of Architecture, Catharina Thörn, associate professor of cultural studies at the Department of Cultural Sciences at the University of Gothenburg, Linnea Eriksson, poet, Lisa Torell, artist and artistic researcher (the Norwegian artistic Research program) and Per Hasselberg, director of the popular movements Arts promotion, Konstfrämjandet.
Installation, Moving mass, Kalmar Konstmuseum 2015/2016:
Wallpaper, with inspiration from a glass pattern by architect Joseph Hoffmann.
Duration: 2 x 35 min.
Introduction by Bengt Olof Johansson:
The video artwork is a micro biography of the glass workers from the Sudetenland that were given employment in the glass industry of Småland after the Second World War. The story is constructed like a triptych. There is a reading of two actors taking turns facing each other, and a slideshow in the shape of two hands leafing through a visual material that makes connections to what the actors say. The text and the images are the result of a comprehensive research, consisting of interviews, individual stories from inhabitants in the towns of the glass works and a large amount of archival material.
The work’s first chapter tells the story of the voyage and dislocation of the Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia to Sweden, and how the workers ended up in the towns of the Swedish glassworks in the aftermath of the Second World War. The narrative elucidates how, and why, this workforce was brought over, and the effect of the migration on both a personal and industrial level, including how the National Labour Market Board and the labour movement organized the new arrivals. In the second chapter, Ingela Johansson turns towards the local context. She looks at how the glass at some Swedish glassworks was inspired by the traditions of the Sudeten Germans, especially the ones originating from northern Bohemia. We are told about what happened to one of the world’s last kingdoms of crystal, Bohemia, during and after the Nazi occupation and under Communism. The artist also illustrates how centuries of migrations from central Europe has influenced the Swedish glass industry, a vital element for understanding how the Sudeten Germans were regarded as craftsmen.
The work also reflects the concurrent narrative of the effect of globalisation on local production. Influences from the emerging and increasingly hegemonic Austro-Hungarian cultural centre in Vienna at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries spread to Czech provinces, Bohemia, and onwards to the Swedish glass industry. The essayistic narration guides us through these different places, histories and conditions. It moves between the individual level to raise questions regarding national representation and identity, but it also highlights how the destinies of the glass workers were shaped by war and different political systems.
There is a natural ease to the way that Ingela Johansson, who hails from the glasswork town of Boda, unravels with an inclusive pedagogy a story of great contemporary importance. She shows how migration and the transfer of knowledge are connected and how individual human lives are affected by the dictates of political developments.
Through my working experience from the book The art of the strike and the project What happened to the art of the strike?, addressing the miner’s strike 1969/1970 and solidarity amongst artists, I like to further explore practices of archiving, which actively try to challenge the notion of objective truths. Practices of archiving, that pend between re-narration, subjective account, theatrical forms of re-enactment and politics of memory. Raising issues concerning how art can mediate and resist public, national representation of history as monument, introducing other experiences, voices and perspectives. With the recent projects, I came to realize that an artistic montage of historical events creates an effect of knowledge, it creates affects, sensations, emotions, etc – i.e. one artistic way to write history in the moment which differs from rational historicity, truths and lies.
During my stay at Flutgraben I decided to delve deeper into the subject of artistic practice articulating itself in relation to politics of history writing. In my interest to archiving ”counter-histories”, I am exploring approaches that stem from fine art, history writing (oral history), performing arts and theatre. What happens if we turn the backside of a painting to the front and discuss another side of the narrative, the underlying strategies of representation and the meaning of political gestures and its level of impact?
The workshop Witnessing the writing of history addressed this symbolism of the “backside” in the visual arts, theatre and literature, with examples of behind the scene narratives in works by Peter Weiss and my book-project “The art of the strike”. The workshop furthermore raised questions on: witness statements: the practice of the assemblage in relation to history writing: the speaking position of the artist and what it means to spend time in the archive as an individual in relation to the collective body.
Ausstellung und Veranstaltungsprogramm zu dem gleichnamigen Roman von Peter Weiss, initiiert von Julia Lazarus und Moira Zoitl in Kooperation mit Naomi Hennig. 13. Juni – 23. Juli 2014.
Contributors: Aesthetic of Resistance Reading Group (London), Akademie einer anderen Stadt (Knobloch/Vorkoeper), Dorothee Albrecht, Iris Andraschek, bankleer, Daniela Brahm / Les Schliesser, Yvon Chabrowski, Fred Dewey, Heiner Franzen, Christine de la Garenne, Erik Göngrich, Mathilde ter Heijne, Ralf Hoedt, annette hollywood, Ingela Johansson, Halina Kliem, Julia Lazarus, Achim Lengerer, Hubert Lobnig, Lizza May David, Matthias Mayer, Ralo Meyer, Jana Müller, Warren Neidich, Kirsten Palz, Andrea Pichl, Ben Pointeker, Stefan Römer, Isa Rosenberger, David Rych, Judith Siegmund, Melissa Steckbauer, Jan Verwoert / Federica Bueti, Bettina Vismann, Simon Wachsmuth, Franziska Wildt, Sabine Winkler, Andreas Wutz, Florian Wüst, Moira Zoitl u.a.
“Witnessing the writing of history”
Installation on wall: A side story about Brecht’s exile in Stockholm, which appears in the 2nd book. The work moves around the meaning of the essay “The essay Betrachtung der Kunst und Kunst der Betrachtung” and Ninnan Santesson’s work, represented by a sculpture. It is also a commentary on female support structures: Ninnan, a politically engaged artist, taking part in the Norweigan resistant movement, rented out her house to exiles, including Brecht. As well as it brings forth Brecht’s wife and communist, Helene Weigel, who played in the iconic Mother Courage, a play which were written during their exile in Stockholm 1939.
Titel: ”The art of viewing”
Description: Photo by Ingela Johansson, 2014. From Herta Hillfon’s sculpture garden in Stockholm.
Title: ”Excerpt from the Brecht archive”
Description: A montage on canvas of photo depicting the head of Helene Weigel by Ninnan Santesson. Original display in Akademie der Künste, Berlin, by B. Brecht.
Description: Helene Weigel’s and Berthold Brecht’s reisspasse when entering Sweden during their exil 1939.
Titel: ”Betrachtung der kunst und kunst der betrachtung.” (Notizen zu einer plastik der Ninnan Santesson).
Description: A Reading by Naomi Hennig. Edited by Jo Zahn.
What happened with the Art of the Strike? (Strejkkonsten, 2010-) is based on research material collected about the wild mining strike in the north of Sweden 1969/1970, partly consisting of The Miner’s Strike Art Collection, works of art donated to support the miners. Another part of my project is a book The art of the strike produced by Glänta in collaboration with Konsthall C, Stockholm, which takes its point of departure in the cultural workers’ engagement in social and political movements and democratisation processes during 1968. In the book the strike is depicted through a montage of documentary materials, play manuscripts, texts and contemporary interviews. With the project I also explore ways to mediate the history of the strike. In a panel discussion with representatives from the 68 movement I used a format called “Witness seminar”, which stems from a “Oral history” tradition in Great Britain currently applied in academic research at Södertörns University in Stockholm. Another method is to activate the collective memory of the strike through reenactment. For example; important speeches in the history of the strike is given in conjunction with the presentation of the The Miners’ Strike Art Collection as a way to bridge the historic context into the present situation.
In collaboration with: Bildmuseet, E2-E4, Glänta, Gällivare museum, Konsthall C, Tensta Konsthall, Goethe Institute.
Supported by Konstnärsnämnden, The Swedish Arts Grants Committee.
Filialen and The Art of The Strike, The Royal Institute of Art / Kungliga Konsthögskolan. Program and curating Kim West: 26 Oct-9 nov, 2017.
E2-E4 is the name of the most common opening move in chess, the one that sets the game in motion. E2-E4 is also the name of a program for theoretical activities and exhibitions at the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm. “Theory” is here conceived not as academic superstructure or epistemic authority, but as orientation, as a first grasp of our own situation, and of its location in a wider system, network, or totality. In this sense, “theory” is what may allow us to begin, to go from the confusion of undefined possibility to the provisional determination of practice. The program explores the exhibition as a critical information system, in the service of education, aesthetic experience, and public dissemination. E2-E4 is located at Rutiga Golvet in the school’s main building on Skeppsholmen. Between 1971 and 1973, the same space housed Filialen, an experimental annex to Moderna Museet, which hosted seminal exhibitions of early 1970s Swedish alternative culture such as My Home is Palestine (1971), Women (1972), and For a Technology in the Service of the People (1972). The E2-E4 program draws upon this legacy, while paying attention to the critical potentials of spatial display systems in a context of pervasive social integration of digital media and increasing balkanization of the public sphere. Last but not least, E2-E4 is also the title of a famous minimalist composition from 1981 by Manuel Göttsching, founder of the Krautrock band Ash Ra Tempel. In 1989, three Italian producers sampled the track for their hit Sueño Latino, helping spawn the Italo House wave. That track was in turn remixed by Detroit techno producers Derrick May in 1992, and Carl Craig in 1994. The E2-E4 program celebrates this lineage through a series of rituals and events with their very own beat.
Speakers and contributors: Brody Condon, TJ Demos, Juan Downey, Matthew Fuller, Ane Hjort Guttu, Ingela Johansson, Jeff Kinkle, Runo Lagomarsino, Peter Lang, Kristoffer Månsson, Jin Mustafa, Christian Nyampeta, Jesper Olsson, Hannah Proctor, Isabella Rjeille, Felicity Scott, Benjamin Thorel, Alberto Toscano
KIRUNATOPIA Art on Landscape and Resources in Northern Sweden and Lausatia, Kunsthaus Dresden
23. November 2014 – 15. March 2015
An exhibition and program of events in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Sweden, Kunstfonds/Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresde, and KONCENTRAT, an independent art space in Kiruna.
Contributing artists: Lara Almarcegui (Rotterdam), Agneta Andersson (Kiruna), Jürgen Bergbauer (Straubing), Dave Hullfish Bailey (Los Angeles), Haifische Dresden Süd-West (Susanne Hampe, Birgit Schuh, Lisa Stagge, Christoph Rodde), Klara Hobza (Berlin), Geir Tore Holm und Sossa Jørgensen (Skiptvet), Lina Issa (Amsterdam), Matthias Jackisch (Dresden), Ingela Johansson (Stockholm), Gerda Lepke (Gera/Dresden), Britta Marakatt-Labba (Övre Soppero), Jürgen Matschie (Bautzen), Heide Nord (Leipzig), Barbara Raetsch (Potsdam), Grit Ruhland (Dresden, Ronneburg), Götz Schlötke (Dresden, †) , Boris Sieverts (Köln), Ingo Vetter (Bremen), Liselotte Wajstedt (Kiruna), Marion Wenzel (Leipzig), Florian Zeyfang (Berlin)
In 2011 the Goethe-Institut Stockholm, in cooperation with the cultural department of the City of Kiruna, the Bildmuseet Umeå, the University of Umeå, and the Konsthall C/Stockholm, initiated an international Artist-in-Residence Program to let artists observe and reflect upon the social, urban and landscape-related changes on site. In cooperation with the Kunsthaus Dresden, this artistic research will be continued. With newly produced artworks and loans from the collection of the Kunstfonds/Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, the expanded exhibition Kirunatopia at the Kunsthaus Dresden again takes up the often controversial debate on the relationship between art, (post)industrial landscape, resources, and democracy. A further issue is the historical relationship to affected cultural minorities—in this case the Sorbs in Lusatia.
The exhibition and program me of events Kirunatopia in Dresden is curated by Christiane Mennicke-Schwarz (Kunsthaus Dresden), Silke Wagler (Kunstfonds/Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden).
Film, The Mine Strike 69/70, by Margareta Vinterheden / Alf Israelsson. 73 min.
13 artworks from the Miners’ Strike Art Collection, Gällivare museum, Sweden.
Documentation of backsides presented as a slideshow.
With support from the Swedish Arts Grants Committee.
Kirunatopia – In the Shadows of the Future, June – October 2012.
The town of Kiruna is situated on top of one of the largest iron ore deposits in the world. The town was founded as a modern project at a time when Norrland was named “Land of the Future” in view of its natural resources. Today the mining has caused cracks in the ground which make the town face a historical transformation – its center has to be moved.
During 2010 and 2011, artists: Lara Almarcegui, Agneta Andersson, Geir Tore Holm, Dave Hullfish Bailey, Lina Issa, Ingela Johansson, Søssa Jørgensen, Britta Marakatt-Labba, Boris Sieverts , Ingo Vetter och Florian Zeyfang were offered work- and research time in Kiruna in a project by Goethe-Institut Schweden. Curator: Kim Einarsson.
What happened with the art of the strike? Tensta Konsthall, March-May 2013.
In December 1969, a wildcat strike broke out in the iron ore fields in Norrbotten, the far north of Sweden. Despite the fact that it was a record year for Sweden and that the state-owned mining company LKAB made a profit, the working conditions of the miners became worse. The strike spread from Kiruna to Svappavaara and Malmberget and after a few days, involved some 5,000 miners. Through NLF (National Liberation Front/Vietnam) and other local political groups, many people working in culture expressed solidarity with the miners and engaged themselves in their situation. What happened with the art of the strike? is about the wildcat strike–which can be seen as one of the first major cracks in the facade of the welfare state–and the effects it had on the cultural life. The project encompasses various investigations of the strike, and these are materialized in different ways. One is an exhibition of the Gruvarbetarnas strejkkonstsamling (The Miners’ Strike Art Collection), the largest part of which is shown at Tensta konsthall. The collection consists of some one hundred artworks which were donated by artists in support of the strike fund.
Among the artists who donated work were Albin Amelin, Siri Derkert, Lars Hillersberg, and Berta Hansson. At present, the collection is under the auspices of the municipal Gällivare Museum. The project also contains edited archive material, a series of photographs and dramatizations based on strike documents.
Various social and political groups were active all over Sweden to collect money for the miners’ strike fund when they did not get strike support from LO (The Swedish Trade Union Confederation). Several initiatives were taken on by the arts and culture scene to organize art auctions and fundraisers for the strikers including by Sundsvall Museum, Stockholm Concert Hall, Moderna Museet and Gallery Heland. The art works which were shipped to Malmfälten were nevertheless not sold. Instead, after the strike, they were spread out and stored on different premises such as ABF (Workers’ Educational Association), Gruv 4:an (4th Mine), and Folkets Hus in Malmberget. Over the years, the collection has been managed by the strike committee members and the local mining union, Gruv 4:an, in Malmberget, but since 2009 it has been stored at Gällivare Museum. The collection is owned by the miners at LKAB.
Reenactment of a speech by activist and author Sara Lidman, held at the first strike meeting in Kiruna 1969. Performed by actor Cecilia Nilsson at the opening of Kirunatopia, Bildmuseet, Umeå, June 2012.
Video. 4min. Original speech 9 min.
Witness seminar arranged in collaboration with Konsthall C and the Institute for Contemporary History, Södertörns University: The art of the strike- culture productions as solidarity during the miner´s strike 69/70, Nov 2012.
At the seminar six culture workers active during the strike met to leave a witness statement and to remember the strike. Questions that were asked in preparation for the meeting were: Why did you engage? How was the relation between culture and politics then? How would you describe the meeting between the workers’ left, the 68-movement and the culture workers?
Participants from the left: Kajsa Ohrlander, Elisabeth Pahlo, Stefan Böhm, Hanns Karlewski, Alf Israelsson, Margareta Vinterheden. Moderators(in the middle): Ingela Johansson and Kjell Österberg.
It was also an editorial space for the production of the book: The art of the strike, voices on cultural and political work during the mining strike 1969-70 / Strejkkonsten, röster om kulturellt och politiskt arbete under och efter gruvstrejken 1969-70. (May 2013). Produced by Glänta and Konsthall C. Edited by Kim Einarsson and Martin Högström.
The interior design of the editorial space was created by BLÅ TAKET 1:1.
Article by Hans Carlsson in Kunstkritikk, here.
During two weeks in the autumn (2012) the space of Konsthall C, Stockholm, was used for a theatre group in cooperation with Teateralliansen, to rehearse and improvise documentary material.
The workshop, En stor sak för en människa, was performed in collaboration with the artist and director Ellen Nyman. Participants: Anna Brixter, Marie Ekman Öhrn, Anneli Martini, Anita Nyman, Mary Stoor och Sebastian Sporsén.
Studio work developed during a three months residency at Gasworks as part of one year Scholarship from the Swedish Arts Grants committee / Iaspis (2010-2011).
In Great Britain I studied public employment histories, with particular attention to the role of trade unions, workers’ organisations, associations and museums as a source of regeneration in relation to how subjectivity of the working class are being channeled and represented in various culture productions. I focused mainly on the “Ashington Group”, or the ”Pitmen painters”, and Sylvia Pankhurst.
The “Pitmen Painters”, was a group of miners, who individually and collectively became established artists through starting an art appreciation class by Workers Educational Association in 1932. It was when they realised what was happening in their working life, in the areas where they lived and their leisure activities, that they found subjects for painting over many decades. The Pitmen Painters has become a famous theatre play on mainstream culture arenas such as Broadway.
Open studios weekend at Gasworks, December 2010.
For the event at Gasworks Open House I organized a talk on “Images of work – Art, Activism, and Anthropology in Film”. Invited speaker was Margaret Dickinson, filmmaker, and Massimiliano Mollona, filmmaker and anthropologist. Together we discussed representation of labour in documentary film practices and film as a tool of intervention and education.
From the text on the poster quoting Keith Armstrong: “The major issue today is what we do now, when the coal mines and the shipyards are gone. A lot of my understanding about politics and socialism is rooted in a certain sense of community; so, in one sense, we try to keep that community spirit alive through the Pitmen Painters but, on the other hand, you don´t want to be always harking on about the past. There are people who argue that socialism is dead but, by looking at the tradition and a poet like Joseph Skipsey, you have to argue why his work is still valid today and how he connects to the present day and the ideas of community, especially since the community is so splintered and, in many ways, broken up in a more individualistic society”.
Photo: Entrance of Woodhorn Museum, Ashington, Newcastle.
Ashington is a former collier town. I was particularly interested in the representation of the “Pitman Painters” – a group of miners from 1930s who took part in an art appreciation course in art theory but later started to paint themselves applying a “learning by doing” method.
A sense of Solidarity / En känsla av samhörighet (2007 ‐ 2012)
Together with Nina Svensson I have worked with issues relating to the popular movement and the workers’ movement’s relationship to art and the social democratic cultural policies as part of a comprehensive project dating from 2007. We initiated the project after we had been invited to participate in a culture in work life program, which was established in the early 80s by the Trade Union Confederation and other organizations in order to mediate art at workplaces, but has since then developed collaborations with museums and institutions. The material partly consists of existing documents and documentary interviews, partly of the artists commentary through compilations and individual works. We have particularly focused on the role that has been given to art and the artists within the workers’ educational associations.
En kartläggning av mellanrummen, November– February 2012, Västerbottens museum.
With Nina Svensson.
With the exhibition, A survey of the places in between, we found inspiration in the museum’s art collction and examined the museum’s art commissions. We also researched Konstfrämjandet Västerbottens’ print collection and its future re-organisation and development.
As our point of departure we focused on works on labour. We used the documentary material from the museum’s archives – taking samples from the museum’s exhibitions in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.
Material from the museum’s photographic documentation was transferred into graphic art works as part of our collaboration with the artist Ulla Carin Winter. In another collaboration with the dramatist Dennis Magnusson, we presented an installation consisting of five audio tracks, which connected the imaginary with the emblematic labour art. An audio guide, divided into six chapters, pedagogically mediated the various parts of the exhibition to the public.
Kalmar Art Museum, November 2010.
With Nina Svensson.
The participation in the group exhibition Här was a collaboration with the curator Kim Einarsson. Our aim was to critically engage and comment on the museums art collection and to reflect on the tradition of culture production within a museum with works from A sense of solidarity. Other invited artists and curators were: Conny Karlsson, Mats Brate, Malin Nilsson and Anna Norberg.
Group exhibition at Gallery Box, Art and work II, April – May 2010.
With Nina Svensson.
Participating artists: Zandra Ahl, Yngve Baum, Jens S Jensen, Anders Lindgren & Staffan Hjalmarsson, Emma Kihl, Ingela Johansson & Nina Svensson.
The seminar program To parasite on the parasite, or how we learned to work in symbiosis was taking place within the framework of the exhibition. It addressed the artist’s role, professionalism and artistic autonomy in relation to the task of mediating art at workplaces.
Invited guests: Ingrid Hemström, Jenny Johannisson, David Karlsson, Anna Kindgren / Carina Gunnars , Michele Masucci and Maja Hammarén. Organized by Nina Svensson & Ingela Johansson together with Kalle Brolin and Camilla Larsson.
En känsla av samhörighet – Repeterar cirkeln på Arbetets museum, Norrköping, October-November 2009.
With Nina Svensson.
At the Museum of Work we looked closely at the museums ideological background as part of the workers movement and its representation of modes of culture production.
As a field study, and as an expansion for the intervention with museum, we collaborated with an animal caretaker at Kolmården Zoo, to generate a discussion of expressions in visual arts, imaginable for the development of a contemporary artistic dialog at the Museum of Work and its believes in arts function in mediating work life.
We also produced a radio drama in cooperation with dramatist Dennis Magnusson. The work highlights the motifs and visual expressions of art that have become part of the canon and have assumed institutional status within the imagery of the workers’ movement. The work also consists of a series of photographs, for which we had searched out the places – stairwells, corporate dining rooms and offices – where this now emblematic works’ art now hangs.
In 1972, a Japanese documentary film company, TBS, made a documentary about my family that was shown to schoolchildren in Japan for teaching purposes and on television during prime time. The film is one of 300-400 films that depict families around the world. The series Children of the World was produced between 1972-81. Although it depicts a Swedish family with emblematic images – it is the Japanese society and the underlying structures of that particular timeframe that are essentially in focus.
I am currently working on a manuscript for a book and an essay film.
Ordnungen der Liebe, What went wrong with Manifesta 6?
Systemic family work based on the failure of Manifesta 6, in collaboration with Inga Zimprich.
Video, 19 minutes: Ordnungen der Liebe
Therapist – Ursula Siemann
Anton Vidokle – Ursula Brüggemann
Mai Abu ElDahab – Christa Meuters
Florian Waldvogel – Rebekka Bär
International Foundation Manifesta – Jolanta Rarog
Nicosia for Art – Ulrike Paulmann Erlinghäuser
Students, Cypriots – Ursula Siemann
Advisors – Annette Gieren
Thanks: Ursula Siemann, Berto Aussems, Achim Lengerer, Noaz Deshe & all representatives
During an artist residence at CCA Kiev in 2006 the Center for Context and Communication Kyiv (CCCK)emerged, as an open research project, that came to focus on Soros Centers for Contemporary Art (SCCA’s) as well as the development of Ukrainian contemporary art. Founded together with Volodymyr Kuznetsov (UA) and Inga Zimprich (DE) different participants and guests engaged in its development, Sönke Hallmann (DE) since 2008.
Between 2006-2008 the project CCCK – Center for Communication and Context Kiev aimed to combine elements of research, found footage and conducted interviews in installations and publications, which would address the development of contemporary art institutions in Ukraine. Initially starting from the Soros Centers for Contemporary Art (SCCA), which were founded in the 1990 in Central and Eastern Europe, the CCCK gradually came to address the increasing institutionalisation and their effect on the production and reception of art, which these centres indicated. As part of its artistic research between 2006 and 2009, CCCK focused in particular on the SCCA Odessa, the SCCA Kiev and SCCA Chisinau, consulted their archives and spoke to its current and former employees. An underlying topic of the CCCK’s research has been the influence of funding schemes and their inherent ideology on the manner in which contemporary art is produced and presented. CCCK aimed to trace the correspondance between this new management of contemporary art production, which the Soros Centers established, with the coinciding transition of society, such as privatization and democratisation in post-Soviet countries in the 1990’s.
BIENNIAL FOR CONTEMPORARY ART
ART AS GIFT
Curated by Dora Hegyi
A project by Ingela Johansson, Inga Zimprich.
With Sönke Hallmann
With further contributions by
Octavian Esanu, Leonid Vojtsechov,
A short institutional affair
With Inga Zimprich and Volodymyr Kuznetsov.
At the exhibition hall of the Union of Artists of Ukraine Odessa 25/11 – 09/12 and at the Center for Contemporary Art Kyiv 25/10 – 25/11
Organized in the frame of the project EXTERIORS initiated by Index Foundation Stockholm, curated by Helena Holmberg and Mats Stjernstedt. Poster design: Ajdin Basic. Production assistance: Irene Gurkalo.
With works by, among others, Igor Chatskin, CCCK, Miroslav Kulshitsky, R.E.P. (Revolutionary Experimental Space), and the participation of Mihailo Rachkovetsky.