I want, and need, to work out how I can start getting some exhibition opportunities here in Stockholm. I guess that it is probably no different to anywhere else, so have to admit that I have always found it challenging to promote myself – far easier to promote other people and to be invited to show … One significant difference between here and London for example is that there are still ways to get financial support for art, for example grants that can be used to realise an exhibition, or produce work. This is important for me to remember, as I am not in a position where I am earning money to finance things myself as I often did in London. My pace is somewhat slow, so the sooner I get started the better!
Perhaps unsurprisingly I have been thinking about what kind of space, both literally and conceptually, my work occupies. These questions have come up through the research course, but also possibly because I wonder the same about myself as I become more settled in Sweden. What is my identity as an artist? What do I want it to be? Perhaps if I could start to work that out I might start to see a plan of action. A tighter focus might be just what I need right now, a way to make things manageable.
At the studio’s annual meeting on Wednesday we (Birgitta, Leif and I) received approval for our ‘motion’ that the exhibition space be guaranteed for as long as the studios are here. It has been a question hanging over the space since the private funding for a part-time curator ceased a couple of years ago. We are also the members who now have responsibility to make it happen! It is very exciting and although I think it will be a lot of work I expect to get a lot out of it, not least a far better understanding of how artists and arts venues work here. In addition I want to do as much as I can in Swedish so that my ability to talk about art in Swedish improves – something that I cannot really expect to happen on the language courses that I am doing.
Last night I went tot the opening of a show by artists who last year took the ‘Swedish’ artistic research course as Konstfack (there are two research courses running this year – one in Swedish and one in English! The one in Swedish also ran last year and it was those artists whose show opened yesterday). Many of the artists’ statements were very clear about the personal nature of the works’ content and explained that the research process had been significant to their understanding of their motivations and imagery. The ‘Swedish identity’ seemed to be a thread that ran through many pieces. I tried to imagine some of my work in the show and found it rather difficult. On the way home I wondered what a group show from ‘my’ research course might look like, perhaps I will get the opportunity to find out …