press release

The exhibition is a collaboration between NCCA (National Center for Contemporary Arts) – Kaliningrad and Kalmar Konstmuseum (Sweden) and it is financially supported by the Swedish Institute, IASPIS, The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture and the municipally of Kalmar (Sweden).

Living in a Modern Society is an presentation of Swedish Contemporary Art. The Swedish art scene has changed in a radical way since the early 90´s. Sweden was, as many countries in the 20th century, in many ways isolated from the art scenes of Europe and the US. Things that happened in Berlin, Paris, New York and Los Angeles arrived in Sweden gradually and most of the time real influences from abroad came to Sweden through individual Swedish artists that after some time abroad went home, bringing back new influences.

In the beginning of the 90´s, the processes of globalization also become an important part of the art world, more and more artists wanted to travel and such processes was supported by many countries. One of the strongest forces bringing forward Swedish artists onto the global art scene was probably the fact that the art world itself wanted to become global, which meant that the art world needed artist from many different countries and backgrounds, including Swedish artists. Within a few years, during the 90´s, many Swedish artists became well-known outside of Sweden, i.e. Henrik Håkansson and Ann-Sofi Sidén.

The title Living in a Modern Society is partly ironic and partly based on the actual socio-political conditions in Sweden. The selected artists deals with different questions that comes from the process of going from a modern state to be a part of a more complex global world, the “modern Swedish welfare” has become out of fashion, and dysfunctional in the global order. Many Swedes considered Sweden the best nation in the world, but more and more people feel that something is lost.

Most of the selected artists work between the opposite poles: being brought up in the Swedish Welfare State, but also taking part of the process of globalization. The selected artists in the exhibition have taken on a more global perspective from the start, they are travelling extensively, they are often educated outside of Sweden, and they have an international network. Today many of the most significant Swedish artists live in cities like Berlin, New York or Amsterdam. This process is continuing and today there are several hundred Swedish artists living in Berlin only.

The global approach amongst the Swedish artists will also mean that it will be harder and harder to try to give a more specific definition of “Swedish Contemporary Art”. Artists are more active, wanting to be more independent, finding their own way, in the global art world, and not necessarily finding a position in Sweden.

The work of Karin Hasselberg and Daniel Segerberg are especially produced for the exhibition with support from The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture and IASPIS.

The exhibition has previously been presented within the biennale Qui Vive, Moscow 2008, in collaboration with NCCA-Moscow, and it been presented as a screening in Nizhniy Novgorod, in collaboration with NCCA – Nizhniy Novgorod.

Martin Schibli Curator Kalmar Konstmuseum

only in german

Living in a Modern Society
Kurator: Martin Schibli

Künstler: J Tobias Andersson, Conny Blom, Alessandra Di Pisa, Asa Elzen, Carl Johan Engberg, Oscar Guermouche, Karin Hasselberg, Jesper Nordahl, Anna Odell, Magnus Petersson, Daniel Segerberg, Ton & Gainer (Klas Eriksson & John Hellberg).