press release

Ola Pehrson. Retrospective. Ljubljana. Belgrade. Stockholm is an exhibition that brings together several of Ola Pehrson’s key works and presents his artistic practice in Serbia for the first time.

Ola Pehrson’s oeuvre is permeated by a strong interest in media and communication, in technology and in the large scale systems that both form our behavioural patterns and register our lives. He plays with metaphors and make visible (and audible) the powerful forces and structures that shape us as individuals and govern our societies.

Pehrson gained considerable international recognition for his latest work, hunt for the unabomber, a bizarre recreation of an American 30-minute documentary about the terrorist Theodore Kaczynski. Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber, carried out a bomb campaign with the aim to attract attention to what he saw as the erosion of human freedom, caused by modern technology and large-scale organization. Alluding to both his thinking and methods, Ola Pehrson re-created each scene in the documentary by hand, using play dough, paint, pieces of cardboard and trash. The result is surprisingly close to the original and as Ola have stated in earlier interviews, “it is no less authentic”.

Amongst Ola Pehrson’s earlier works is Yucca Invest Trading Plant, which attempted to stimulate a yucca palm tree with a market-adapted habitat. A few years later, Ola Pehrson made NASDAQ Vocal Index, which transformed the fast changing world economy into choir music. A computer software was developed to decode the movements on the American stock exchange into musical scores. Local choires were hired in different countries and each choir member sung the index of one of the top listed companies. Basses were selected for the largest and sopranos for the smaller.

Whilst engaging with mass communication, global capital and the virtual world, Ola Pehrson regularly returned to the seemingly more tangible, small scale and local perspective. In fact several of his works take as their point of departure the suburban villa where he once grew up with his father, a financial advicer, and his mother, a housewife. Cookbook+ is a work based on records of guests and dinner menus that the artist’s mother carefully wrote down for every dinner she gave during 45 years. Closely connected is the work Birthday Party, an uncanny reconstruction of the mother's 65th birthday party, held in her home on March 16, 2000. At first glance these more domestic works appear quite appart from Pehrson's other works, however compelling connections can be traced through the artist's interest in behavioural patterns, routines and in accumulated information and data.

Ola Pehrson. Retrospective. Ljubljana. Belgrade. Stockholm. is co-produced with Galerija Škuc in Ljubljana, where it was on view in December 2007 and January 2008 and with Färgfabriken in Stockholm, where the opening and publishing of an extensive catalogue is scheduled for October 2008.

Ola Pehrson was born in Sweden in 1964; he gained considerable international recognition and featured in the Istanbul-, Tirana- and Sao Paulo biennial before he tragically died in a car accident in year 2006. Pehrson's solo exhibitions include those at Galleri Lars Bohman, Stockholm; Galeria Noua, Bucharest; Collective Gallery, Edinburgh and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. His work has been included in group exhibitions in Sweden at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, at the Malmö Konsthall and in Japan at the Yamaguchi Museum of Art.

Curators: Saša Nabergoj, Joa Ljungberg Project Manager: Anneli Bäckman

Ola Pehrson. Retrospective.
Ljubljana. Belgrade. Stockholm.
Ort: Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrad
Kuratoren: Sasa Nabergoj, Joa Ljungberg

19.12.07 - 20.01.07 Skuc Gallery, Ljubljana
01.02.08 - 03.03.08 Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrad
Okt. 2008 Färgfabriken, Stockholm