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This afternoon’s meeting with the principle of Wiks Folkuniversitet*, Konstframjändet Uppland*, and three other artists/mentors has been postponed as the principle has Covid. So I find myself at home with nothing specific to do … I can’t remember the last time that happened. I have a slightly nagging feeling that there is something that I should be doing, and it is true that there is a pretty long to do list bouncing around my head … however there is nothing that must be done this afternoon, so it seems perfect to spend time reflecting on Rest.


The exhibition of sculptures and installations (?) across the art association’s three galleries and including an outdoor piece installed on two nearby flagpoles makes me very happy, and by all accounts it makes other people happy too (even if ’happy’ may not be exactly the right word). Klas described the first room as having a definite sense of foreboding, I agree so I guess I am experiencing a certain level of meta-happiness – happiness that the show works. Conversations at the opening were both practical and philosophical, sometimes both simultaneously: I do enjoy when someone asks ’what is it?’. Such a deceptively complex question.


I was really pleased and touched that several artist colleagues came over from Uppsala. Their support and encouragement means a great deal to me and goes (quite) some way to explaining why I value my time at the studio there. It’s been a while since I felt myself a member of a physical peer-group – the last time was over ten years ago with Crystal Palace Artists. It was also fantastic that some colleagues from the culture and arts department came, including the head of sport, culture and tourism. Other artist and creative friends were there too and it was great to finally get to introduce some of them too each other – two in particular who though very different are both committed to making their homes in to rural hubs for international events and exchanges. Both are currently living in construction sites as they redevelop and extend former industrial and commercial buildings to accommodate not only their families but also exhibitions, workshops and residencies. For all my avoidance of hosting parties I am more than pleased when an opening works in similar ways.


In the first gallery one of the two pieces that I am showing is an untitled black flag. It is a thin but heavy weave on a matt black wooden pole, the outer edge is neither hemmed nor treated in another way – it is raw and frayed. The flag on its pole leans into a corner of the room. In the second gallery the untitled blue (sequin) flag hangs out from the wall on polished metal furnishings. The navy-blue sequins are dense and the flag weighty (it took several attempts to mount it before Klas found a solution that worked with the soft brick of the old walls). The sparkle of the sequins gives lightness and glamour to what would have been a very sombre and imposing work were it not twinkling away like a disco relic. In the third gallery a vintage set of (decorator’s?) wooden steps stands almost in the middle of the space. Each tread and the platform is covered in loose glitter. The glitter changes from dark, almost 100% black, on the lowest rung to light, almost 100% silver, on the platform high up. Dazzling small pricks of light dance across the horisontal surfaces from floor to head height. The pieces stands centre stage, the other eight works in the room seem to be in its orbit.

These three pieces perhaps encapsulate the essence of my work in the show: the work of grief.

The Swedish word for grief is sorg.
The Swedish word om is a preposition meaning about, of, by, again, and even round (in a spatial sense).
The Swedish word omsorg [om+sorg] means care, even attention, or concern.


Writing this I am starting to imagine a new work: a Bruce Nauman-esque neon piece sequentially flashing:

omsorg omsorg omsorg

… definitely a piece for the ’proposals’ section of my website.



It would be wrong to finish without mentioning that I sold a piece at the opening. It actually looks as though I have sold it and a second version! The work in question is a very modest sculpture made of two small vintage wineglasses, one standing (resting?) on the other, on small enlarging (convex) mirror. The piece in the show was snapped up by one of the committee who has an impressive art collection in his apartment, the second will more than likely be bought by the art association as one of this year’s acquisitions. I am very excited by this – the collector knows his stuff and apparently expressed his immediate interest in buying it, and the association (if the committee back the chair’s suggestion) will have bought something far more representative of my practice than the framed print that I thought might appeal to them.



*the terms Folkuniversitet and Konstframjändet are tricky to translate into English because they both are intrinsic to Sweden’s post second world war socialist ambitions. Folkuniversitet is literally The People’s University, established to enable working (class) people to study the equivalent traditional degree subjects. It has gone through a number of changes since the 1940s and now offers a range of courses – one of which is pretty close to the British arts foundation course. Konstfamjändet is literally Arts Promotion, this organisation was also the product of mid-century Swedish socialism. It grew out of the workers’ movement and aimed to make the arts accessible to those other than an (upper) middle-class elite. It fell out of popularity in the more materialistic 80s but has had an upswing and found new purpose in the last ten years.



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