At just after 8.00 this morning I signed a contract on a studio that Klas and I are going to share.

The space is a former garage, and has most recently been the clubhouse for a motorbike club! It needs cleaning and painting but is a good solid building with the basic facilities that we need. It will easily accommodate two medium size studios and in addition there is amble storage, a small kitchen, and toilet. We might sublet the largest ‘store room’ to another artist who is interested in having somewhere “dark” to work, if he is not interested then we could perhaps have it as a shared workshop area, hire it out on a daily or weekly basis, or even have it as a gallery/project room.

Although it is not as central as I might have liked, it is very affordable(!) and right next to the train station which makes it more attractive for Stockholmers to visit. The contract is on going with a notice period of three months which means that I/we are not too bound. There is another vacant space directly above, and hopefully some of the other artists who expressed an interest in having studios will take that on.

It feels like a significant step forward not only for me but also for establishing a bigger and more accessible ‘art-house’ in town. Cycling away this morning I noticed a rather large and completely empty industrial unit not far away – the sort of place that could easily offer fifteen good size studios, material workshops, an exhibition space and education room ….

This time last week I was at Supermarket art fair. I was there as both a participant on their PNP (Professional Networking Participants) programme, and as part of the Talks and Performance programme. The two, quite distinct, experiences were both incredibly enjoyable and rewarding.

The PNP programme is in its second year and is aimed at individuals working independently and those who do not have (or do not wish to represent) a physical gallery/project space. There were about twenty of us on the programme though we rarely if ever were all together at the same time. Those of us with shared interests and ambitions quite quickly found each other and spent a great deal of the fair in each others’ company at the various talks, discussions, and meetings. Being actually involved with the fair’s programme and other attendees is very different from simply being a visitor. Being a ‘PNP’ gave me a framework for speaking with the various exhibitors, projects, and speakers that initiated conversations that went far beyond the often awkward dialogues that I have had when approaching them as an artist – the awkwardness is entirely my own and probably stems from feeling that I should talk with them rather than wanting to talk with them. It perhaps also reveals that I find it easier to present myself as a ‘professional networker’ than as an artist!

I particularly enjoyed meeting, and speaking with, Jasmin Glaab of Kunsthallekleinbasel, who runs a gallery in her apartment. Having listened to her and several other artists who use their homes as showrooms and project spaces I am seriously considering running a similar kinds of thing here. It could be a nice way to continue working with other artists once my year with Konstfönster Joar is done. I really appreciate all the tips and advice that I received as opening up my home to both artists and the public seemed a bit daunting to start with, but I am starting to imagine how it might be possible. It would be very interesting to see how it works in a town such as Enköping. If I do do it then the number of venues for contemporary art here would have increased by 300% in two years. And if Klas and I show other artists at our studios the increase would be 400%. If nothing else that should be newsworthy and perhaps generate even more artistic interest in the town!

My participation in Supermarket’s talks and performance programme was as one third of The Artistic Researcher – along with Antonie Grahamsdaughter and Karin Gustavsson. We proposed, and did, was something that we called ‘Hothousing‘, which was more live research than performance art. Each of us was interested to invite people in to our ‘research process’ so we devised ways in which to do this. We each had our own greenhouse that we re-fashioned according to our particular interests or project. I created a quite private space where my guest/visitor and I made mono-prints directly from each other’s bodies. The guest selected where we would take our ‘companion’ prints which give them authority to determine the level of intimacy that would occur between us. Having said that the close proximity that we had to each other in the small interior – curtained in vintage bed-sheets – evoked (in me at least) a heightened sense of intimacy and gave making even the simplest hand print a very particular sensibility.

The piece was the fourth iteration in the Following Eugène series. Although I could not name my expectations for the event my feeling immediately after the first time were somewhat mute and subdued. However reflecting on it during an early morning run the following day I was able to identify thoughts and ideas that would not have come to me without the evening before. In this the piece functioned exactly as it should have done – opening up previously unimaginable possibilities for development and extension.

The second time I did it my first guest turned out not only to be a very interesting curator but also someone who works part-time at the Royal Library and knew of the archive that I referred to (without naming) in my introduction to what we were about to do. We continued to have interesting conversations over the subsequent days when I was not in character (Mr Dandy Blue).

It was only on the third and final time, on the Sunday morning, that I had two men as guests. Immediately that we established that they wanted to take part I became very aware of how different I felt about what we were about to do. I did my best to behave as I had done with my women visitors however I think that I was very unconsciously conscious of another kind of feeling knowing that I would be speaking about and touching these men’s bodies. Both of them chose places that required different types of interaction than any of the other visitors up to that point (my last visitor was a woman who chose to do prints of the upper middle part of our backs). As the print process is mutual the choice of where the print is taken is experienced both actively and passively, as both artist and model, as both subject and object. Neither man chose particularly intimate places, the first chose the outside of the right ankle, and the second the soft area just below the elbow on the inside of the right forearm. However both these places resulted in us resting our limbs on each other as we first applied a light lotion, then the ‘ink’, as we took the prints, and as we removed the excess and drying ink after taking the print. I did not ask any of my visitors / collaborators for feedback on their experience – though many freely gave it by saying ‘that was fun’, ‘that was interesting’, and by thanking me for spending time with them, one said that it was something she will remember for a long time. For me it has been interesting to reflect not only on doing it with each person but also on doing it with different people on different days.

Two children and one adult decided to keep the print of their own body, the others elected to take the print that they made from my body. Those prints are now out there in the world, and here beside me I have a collection of prints of those people’s bodies – traces of a few moments that we spent together one spring weekend in Stockholm ….


Wednesday evening was a rather late one too – Ken told Julia how things were progressing with the installation, and then we chatted more generally about what still needed to be done and how they wanted to work the next day.

It felt a bit odd to be a home on Thursday morning knowing that everyone else was working away at the window. It was also the first time that I had been alone and quiet in ten days. I spent a couple of hours completing the on-line application to renew by British passport. Doing this in the light of seeing that almost every article in Ken’s copy of the Guardian (from Monday) referenced Britain leaving the EU was an odd experience. Depending on how things turn out I might have two passports in the future, I imagine that it might be easier to use a British one when traveling to and from the UK, and a Swedish one when traveling in Europe.

Everything was close to finished when I arrived at the library in mid-afternoon. There were of course some last minute things to fix and it was good to have time to talk about Ken and Julia’s public presentation in library after the opening at the window. That evening there were also four awards being presented to upcoming talents from Enköping in the fields of music, dance, and photography – these were scheduled between the opening and the artists’ talk. The awards were re-instated last year after several years’ absence and those receiving them would be the first of the new awardees. I know the woman who received the award for photography from my gym – I had always thought that she was a gymnast but I was wrong she is studying photography in Stockholm. It was great that she was selected and lovely to see how proud her family and boyfriend were – they are an amazingly creative and athletic family all of whom train at the gym, and her mother is a designer specialising in recycling denims. A family that trains together (obviously not all the time but quite often) would seem very peculiar to me in Britain, but here it seems quite alright. I am getting ahead of myself – back to the opening.

Everyday Fragments.  At five o’clock there was a good size group of people standing outside of the project window, including a reporter and photographer from the town newspaper. The reporter was interested in their artwork but also how they came to be in Enköping, both Ken and Julia are good talkers and their enthusiasm for Sweden as well as unusual art projects kept her pencil actively darting about her traditional reporters notebook.

See Maria Hedenlund’s article here

It being Sweden (short) speeches were made; one by Klas welcoming and thanking everyone (I mean both the audience and everyone involved in the production), one by me give a little background to the show, and one by Ken and Julia about their work. I really like these types of speeches and see as vital in terms of accessibility. Not only is it just polite to welcome and thank people for coming to an exhibition it acknowledges their participation, it also lets them know a little of process involved in putting a show and how many people have been involved. Furthermore it puts the visual material in context and (hopefully) offers some ways to approach it. Last but by no means least it identifies the artist(s). All of this makes it far easier for someone to feel more able to engage with the work and even to speak with the artist(s). This is something that no matter where I show in the future I will include in any opening.

Following the speeches people chatted away and looked more closely at the artworks. I saw that the chair of the Konsthall (the town’s publicly supported but voluntarily staffed gallery) was speaking with Ken, while Julia was talking with members of the arts department who are not directly involved with Konstfönstert Joar. Other people joined in their discussions and as it was getting close to time for the award ceremony a group of us were discussing the recent appointment of former V&A curator Kieran Long as director of Arkdes – Stockholm’s architecture and design museum.

Both Ken and Julia are consummate professionals and very experienced educators – their presentation was perfectly pitched and gave an incredibly rich picture of their individual and collaborative practices through the context of the m2 gallery that they run in south London.

m2 Gallery

There was plenty of interest in their practices and their ways of making them sustainable. Even after we rounded off the evening’s question and answer time people were continuing to ask things and wanting to speak with them. I was pleased to be able to introduce them, and Klas, to Ann who runs a private gallery in a beautiful building between here and Västerås. It was good to see Ann again now that she is preparing for re-opening the gallery after it being closed over the winter.

Målhammar Gallery



I had an excursion planned for Friday. Both Ken and Julia are fans of Ralph Erskine. Ken has a particular interest in him and his buildings, and as a young architect he worked on Erskine’s famous Ark building in Hammersmith, London. When they were here for Open House Stockholm in October we had discussed the possibility of an outing to Erskine’s former home and studio (a private residence that is not the easiest to locate after its relatively recent sale), however there was not time that weekend. So when Friday was forecast to be a fine winter’s day it seemed an ideal opportunity to take a look at it as well as one of his housing schemes on the outskirts of Stockholm.

We had also been invited to a visit the Konsthall here in Enköping which is not usually open on a Friday but Ken and Julia had struck up a lively conversation with Bo Sundqvist – chair of the art association who run the gallery – at the opening at Konstfönstret Joar, and as they were leaving before the weekend a ‘private view’ had been arranged. We were running a little late after stopping to take some daylight photos of Everyday Fragments. Thankfully Bo waited for us and gave us not only an interesting walk through Gudrun Westerlund’s exhibition but also a little of the building’s and the art association’s history.

The weather was perfect for strolling around Ekerö. Having found a great little café for lunch and the traditional Swedish lent bun – ‘semla’ we had a very enjoyable wander including a look in the library and the even the local branch of the state off-license (not strictly part of the Erskine experience but we were passing it was a good opportunity for Ken and Julia to see something truly Swedish)! En-route to Stockholm we made a minor detour to Vällingby – another example of a particular type of Swedish town planning that made it a living model of international interest in the 1940s/50s, attracting architects from other European countries as well as the United States.

A lovely dinner in a small independent restaurant not too far from their hotel brought a great day to a very nice close. We said our goodbyes and I headed back home.

On Sunday I was back in Stockholm! While Ken and Julia were at Marina Abramovic’s show at Moderna, Karin, Antonie, and I met to discuss our upcoming research-performance/performance-research for the Supermarket Art Fair. This included constructing and re-constructing one of the temporary greenhouses that will feature in our ‘Hothousing‘ event. Now that Everyday Fragments is installed my attention turns to my contribution to The Artistic Researcher’s first public presentation – there is work to be done!