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The untitled Adelante groups show (very discretely) opens today. No fanfare, no vernissage but an article in the county newspaper – I have to wait until Monday to read that at work … or should I buy a copy today?


It is certainly the most diverse show that I have been in. It reminds me of exhibitions that I used to see at the library in the town where I did my foundation course. Even then I found those shows lacking something … or not really connecting with me.


Perhaps I am looking at things from the wrong perspective. Perhaps it is the very lack of cohesion that screams something that I do not want to admit – that I belong to a group of artists desperate to show and willing to take any opportunity to do so. A lack of critical judgement?


The number of mentees now seriously out weighs the number of mentors – not that we have those roles anymore. So to put it another way the number of non-Swedish born artists is far higher than the number of native Swedish artists. This significantly shifts things. When the group was part of the national Art of Participation project every non-Swede was partnered up with a Swede. To me this made sense when we exhibited together as there was a dialogue. I felt that both sides benefitted from the acknowledged crude but equal ratio of Swedes to non-Swedes. I do not get the same feeling from this show. What I get is a cacophony of disparate voices rather than conversations between international peers. Perhaps we just had better luck with our first show back in 2018. The work simply worked better together. The space was more conducive – three distinct rooms rather one large open space where inevitably a group show of sixteen artists presents something of a visual jumble (sale).


The space itself is not easy. It is a kind of mezzanine overlooking the café and facing the glazed facade of the building. The floor and walls are neutrally treated pine which lends a definite character (sauna-esque?) to the venue. The ceiling is not particularly low yet manages to feel as if it is. After installing my work I tried to take a couple of pictures for Instagram. I gave up after several attempts. The room, or our show, has committed the modern sin of not being Instagram friendly! I think that it would take a very skilled artist/curator to make a solo show work in the space. So perhaps I should not be so hard on our group attempt.


Full disclosure: all the artists are getting a fee for exhibiting. While this was not my sole reason for participating it certainly made the offer more attractive. It feels good to acknowledge this. The extra income is very welcome now that I have two studios to support. This was the first time that I calculated what my fee would be as part of my decision making process. Until now I have made judgements about participation based on less overtly economic factors. As far as I can recall I have always chosen to be in group shows because the show itself sounded interesting.


Writing this it dawns on me that I have never before been a member of an artists group that shows together. And now that I have had that realisation I wonder if I want to be part of a group that shows together. My initial interest in the Art of Participation was the opportunities for meeting other artists and making connections. It was never about putting on group exhibitions And the first thing that was mentioned when Adelante was formed was a project with an artists’ initiative in northern Sweden – that is what I have been holding on for – projects rather than shows. This distinction should make it easier for me to decide my level of involvement in the group’s activities.


I am happy if a project results in an exhibition. I am not however looking for a group of artists to exhibit with. I am pleased to have reached that conclusion, not least because it puts all my fears, apprehensions, concerns, and anxieties about the show in to context.


That all said I wonder if we will get any feedback about the show.



Adelante Group Show runs until 19 August at The Sports and Culture Centre, Knvista, Sweden