press release

David Zwirner is pleased to present Who is sleeping on my pillow, two concurrent solo exhibitions by Swedish artists Mamma Andersson and Jockum Nordström. After spending half their lives together while maintaining separate practices, this is the first time they have exhibited together.

Andersson's paintings embody a duality that is central to Swedish culture: the interplay of rural and urban aesthetics, combined with the notion of the everyday. Her lineage is tied to French painters, Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) and Jean-Édouard Vuillard (1868-1940), both known for depicting intimate domestic spaces and luminous pastoral landscapes and gardens. Inspired by filmic imagery, theater sets, period interiors, and her native land where summers are short and winters are long, Andersson's compositions and moody atmospheres suggest ambiguous narratives that are both familiar and incongruous. In her new work, scenes include a wet and wintery forest, hunched workers in a field, possible acquaintances gathered around a table, empty yet comfortable kitchens and hallways, a sleeping figure (in a painting that gives the exhibition its title). Her paintings also address materiality and the play of light and color, as her seductive, muted, and high contrast palette is applied with both airy textured washes and thickly rendered brushstrokes.

The new works by Nordström are all made of paper, in both two and three-dimensions. Delicately and elegantly constructed, the artist's collages, watercolors, graphite drawings, and architectural sculptures feel improvisational and spontaneous, yet rich in detail. The two-dimensional works read like storyboards, and he has often referred to them as "stills," where all the action takes place simultaneously in a frozen frame. His imaginative tableaux-like environments appear as fantastical settings populated with unique figures, animals, architecture, furniture, musical instruments, and other props, all varying in scale and coexisting harmoniously. In interviews, he has referenced influences ranging from the German Renaissance painter, Lucas Cranach the Elder, to the late-19th century Belgian artist, James Ensor, but also Nils Nilsson Skum (1895-1951), a Laplander artist and nomadic reindeer herder; Primus Mortimer Pettersson (1895-1975), originally a sailor, he started to paint after suffering from mental illness; and Storm P. (1882-1949), a Danish cartoonist. Presented in Nordström's latest work is an assorted community of characters seemingly from different eras, including primitive hunters on horseback, jazz musicians, 18th-century dandies, and a couple on a sleigh ride in a scene reminiscent of a traditional Victorian Christmas.

On the occasion of the exhibition, the artists have collaborated on a major new publication. Conceived as part traditional monograph, part artists' book, and part personal archive, this highly original commemorative catalogue showcases their work from the late 1980s to the present day. Included are over 200 full-color plates, in addition to intimate family snapshots and inspirational source images.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS: Mamma Andersson (born 1962, Luleå) and Jockum Nordström (born 1963, Stockholm) currently live and work in Stockholm.

From December 2010 to February 2011, Andersson will have her first solo museum exhibition in the United States at the Aspen Art Museum in Colorado. Her work is in the collections of many major international museums including the Dallas Museum of Art, Texas; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Moderna Museet, Stockholm.

From November to December 2010, Nordström will have a solo exhibition at the Douglas Hyde Gallery in Dublin. His work is included in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and Moderna Museet, Stockholm; among others.

Karin Mamma Andersson, Jockum Nordström
Who is sleeping on my pillow