Being asked to send a list of available works to Uppsala city’s public art department has reminded me that I need to re-think how I make things.  Looking at my work I see that it functions as temporary installation – no surprise really as that it what most of it is made for, however it does not necessarily function well as public art. That is to say as artworks that could be placed in a public context: a school, hospital, library, or other public building for example. I think that I have noted this before and yet here I am again in the slightly awkward position of having to scramble around to see what, if anything, fits the bill.


This is one of those moments where I wish that I had a mentor, or rather I wish that I had had a mentor and that we had looked at how I might be better prepared and equipped for such a request.


The souvenir: if someone looks at one of my pieces made from second-hand clothes would they be interested in a photograph of it? Or are they interested in the materiality? I guess that in some cases a good one-to-one scale photograph of a piece would work. I immediately think about the Trophy series – the actual materiality of these pieces is perhaps secondary to the image that they present. Could the same be said for the Rest pieces? I am not sure. And even if it could, do I want to produce photographic works which are kind of souvenirs?


What if the photographic works are not souvenirs – do not reference other pieces, but are works in their own right? Could I be interested in producing photographs alongside installations? In theory this is not such a dumb idea … in practice though my photography skills are far from sufficient. It is an intriguing idea however … and in some ways it avoids the difficulties of me creating works which in themselves function more like props or set-dressing rather than as durable artworks. The installation/sculptural pieces would exist quite distinct from photographs of materials staged solely to be photographed. Thinking about this takes me back to my college work experience in the editorial department of World of Interiors. I created ’props’ for a particular editorial shoot where swatches and samples of fabrics were staged for photographing – so long as everything looked good in the photograph it did not matter how it was constructed it. Here I am thirty-two years later wondering if that kind of photo-shoot might now be appropriate for my practice!


It could be good fun to take a few photographs and see i) how they look, and ii) how I feel about them. I like the idea that one aspect of my practice is time consuming – the making of material objects, and another is more immediate – the photographing of arranged/staged materials.


I have had positive reactions to some previous photographs though at the time I did not know what to do with them – neither the reactions nor the actual photographs:

  • photo of Play 2011
  • photograph taken while dismantling Ljusfältet 2011
  • photograph staged for Walk on the Wild Side publication 2014




Who knows the photographs might even appeal to those art associations looking to buy pieces for their members’ lotteries!




In other news …

I learnt that there will shortly be an open call for artists in Uppland for a site-specific coastal project. It sounds great, my only reservation and it is a major reservation is that one of the co-curators is someone who I decided that I did not want to work with again after a particularly bad (recent) experience. The other curator is Klas which is much more hopeful but only if he is actively involved in the entire process. The project has not been announced yet so when it is I shall read the information very very carefully before deciding whether to apply or not. I have to learn not to cut off my nose to spite my face.




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Being the Meetings Coordinator suits me very well. As soon as the fair began the memory of weeks of stress and anxiety fell away and I throughly enjoyed dashing around introducing myself to all the moderators/hosts and seeing names of the exhibitors who had signed up for particular meetings.


I have always liked the idea of meetings: for me they are places where people get together and make things happen – what is not to like? Of course there are meetings that are good and those that are bad – that should go without saying but many people (including some friends) judge meetings to be generally tedious and an unnecessary waste of time. For me nothing could be further from the truth! I find it amazing to be given time and space to talk about something with a group of people who in one way or another have something invested in the subject. So being able to offer the opportunity to small groups of international artists for them to discuss topics such as the social role of artist-run organisations, sustainability, archiving, collaborations, networking, how artist-run organisations can better serve artists, and acting on activism, was a sheer delight.


Many of the meetings were fully subscribed however I was able to sit in and participate in one or two. In fact I ended up co-moderating the last meeting in the programme when the moderator failed to show up (she was in deep discussion with a visitor to her booth and lost track of time apparently). Luckily the topic – the social role of artist-run organisations – is something that I have been thinking about and have opinions on. So did my spontaneous co-moderator a brilliant artist, curator, activist from Latvia. Together we lead an interesting meeting in which participants both reflected on past projects and discussed future ambitions inspired by hearing others’ experiences and ideas.


Although the meetings have an agenda (the topic or subject) there are no expected outcomes. That said most meetings ended with people exchanging contact details, I even heard some definite invitations for mutual visits and interest in collaborations. On a couple of occasions I had to remind people that there would shortly be another meeting needing the room … it was hard to stem the flow of excited chatter.


The wonderful (though sometimes terrible) thing about meetings is their immediacy. Different from someone presenting a talk and taking questions meetings are even more in the moment. One moderator told me that she felt bad for things going off subject. I spoke with some of the meeting’s participants who clearly enjoyed the diversion, and was able to reassure the moderator that the meeting had been appreciated precisely because it was able to take up points that arose during its course.


For the first time in the nine years that I have worked with Supermarket I had a role during the actual fair, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The 2022 fair is scheduled for late May, and despite the quick turn around I am already looking forward to being Meetings Coordinator again. Being an active member of the team over the fair gave me an even deeper understanding and appreciation of just how special a group of people it is that makes this fair happen – from the directors who were on site at 6 am the morning after the very late finishing VIP opening to collect the last of the rubbish and open up for the cleaners and refuge collectors, to the 38 volunteers who staffed the front desk, took care of the exhibitors’ lounge, assisted with the talks, performance, and meetings programmes, kept the fair looking neat and tidy, and helped with any number of other tasks. The fair was perhaps one of the best examples of what Swedes proudly call a ’flat hierarchy’.


I returned to Enköping late on Monday evening after helping dismantle the fair. I was exhausted and happy having spent a week with a fantastic collection of artists some of whom I have known since before I moved here, some of whom I met for the first time. What all these artists have in common is seemingly limitless curiosity, enthusiasm, passion, and commitment. Without wishing to sound arrogant I felt as though I belonged there.


Applications are now open for the 2022 fair, all artist-run galleries and initiatives are invited to apply. More information and details at



In other news …

Four years after our show Hit (Målhammer Gallery 2018), Klas and I will be exhibiting together again. This time at the Enköping Town Gallery in autumn 2022. I was really pleased to be asked to show there by the chair of the committee (in full disclosure – a committee that I sit on, and have done so since 2016). Initially I was a little put out that he suggested I find someone to share the show with, however I trust his judgement and thought that a two person show could be good if I found the right person to show with. After thinking about various other artists, some of whom are good friends, I realised that an ideal partner would be Klas. Our work, though very different, works well together, and we both have recognisable connections to Enköping which should make it a popular show. I look forward to working and exhibiting with Klas again!

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I think that I might be what you call ’an artist’s artist’.

Other artists at the studio have really responded well to the two Rest (companion pieces), and not only artists but also a very well regarded known curator and writer. The work(s) received considerably less interest from the art associations who made studio visits on Wednesday evening. To be honest I was kind of expecting it. The associations’ primary interest was in buying work for their members’ lotteries, and it was fascinating to see how focused on their task they were! One or two members took time to speak with me about my work, most though made a few polite noises and swiftly moved on.


This is the second time that I have met some of the associations on their buying rounds, and even though I did not sell anything I will continue to participate in such evenings – if nothing else I feel that it is important to show something of the breadth of practices to be found in Uppsala. And who knows maybe in the future we will come to have better understandings of each other … like all dances it takes time to get to know your partner.


Breadth and depth have been on my mind lately, specifically depth. I am referring to my own practice. There is (too) much breadth and insufficient depth. I want to go deeper … but into what? In my application for a recently launched mentoring programme I have asked for a mentor who can help me identify a good way forward. At the moment I find myself circling around and around various things that I could do (return to glitter, stick to shirts, focus on installations, make more marketable objects). What I need is someone with an informed eye and brain to help me see how I can usefully narrow my options, increase the depth, and in doing so hopefully begin to feel a more comprehensive sense direction. I want to be more knowledgeable about what lies ahead of me should I choose this or that particular trajectory. I am not expecting a perfect map but some idea of the terrain would be very useful.


It has only now struck me that I am probably still thinking and acting in the same ways as when I was living in the UK (and it is not as if my ways of thinking and acting were especially effective there). Thinking about it, I have been trying to understand and get into the Swedish way since I arrived here: I took courses at Konstfack and the Royal College, I joined a less than useful mentoring scheme, I sit on several committees, and still I feel outside of it. Perhaps that is just how it is to be an artist living in another country. Perhaps understanding is less important than doing. I am very open to change, what I need is some guidance so that I make the best possible changes. Trying to keep up with all the possible ways of being an artist is exhausting and actually counter productive as it keeps me in that broad and shallow place. I feel as though I am running around in a circle maintaining an equidistance from every destination/goal. My hope for the mentoring (if I am selected) is that together we can identify an appropriate destination for me and that I can start to set sail for it.


In other news …

I am excited and nervous as Supermarket: Stockholm Independent Art Fair approaches. I hope that the Meetings programme goes well. With all the last minute proofreading and some unexpected extra work with one of the committees that I sit on I was later than I would have liked with finalising the programme and getting out to the exhibitors. The email I sent explained that all exhibitors are invited to attend at least one meeting and that if they don’t let me know their preferences that I will allocate them a meeting. I really want to make sure than none of the meeting moderators/hosts finds themselves alone in an otherwise empty meeting room.