An interview with Ashik Zaman and Alida Ivanov about the show “Like, Literally” at Eldhunden, Stockholm

Like literally

13 Feb - 13 Mar

Eldhunden
Stora Mossens Backe 14
167 56 Bromma

Curators: 
Alida Ivanov & Ashik Zaman

Participating artists: 

Amanda Hellsten, Chun Lee Wang Gurt, Edith Hammar

Richard Krantz, William Reed


Photos by

Arne Widman


installation view, Like Literally. Eldhunden











installation view, Like Literally. Eldhunden













































Short information about the curators: 


Alida: 

I’m a curator and a writer, who’s worked within the arts for 16 years, in one way or another. I’ve worked as an exhibition producer at Spritmuseum, a gallery manager at Elastic Gallery (both in Stockholm) and I’ve been a curator at Göteborg Konsthall. As a freelancer I’ve attained quite a lengthy CV, so this is just a fragment of what I’ve worked with over the years. Ashik and I started at SKF/Konstnärshuset in August last year with me as its artistic director and Ashik as the curator. Two roles that we try to collaborate in as much as possible. 


Ashik: 

I founded the online magazine and curatorial art platform C-print 8 years ago now and have prior to my position here as curator at SKF/Konstnärshuset done quite a bit of freelance work as a curator. I’ve also served as the Artistic Manager of Market Art Fair in the past and am currently a contributor for various art magazines.





Amanda Hellsten, Here for the alcohol, not the art, 2019. Eldhunden


Edith Hammar, Simstadion, 2021. Eldhunden







































































Do you want to tell us a little about the exhibition "Like Literally"? What is it about?



Alida: 

One thing that we agreed on for this exhibition was that we didn’t want an overly curated exhibition with a theme that is larger than what you actually see. Our starting point was the artists that we wanted to work with and proceeded very intuitively from what we thought would be fun to see together in a show. This show is in many ways the direction we would like to work in in other aspects of SKF/Konstnärshuset: with focus on the fun and happiness that art can bring forth in someone, and the meeting of different artistic practises and artists.


Ashik: 

The idea early on was for the title to be somewhat self-explanatory and reflect that the exhibition is about whatever you yourself see, not more or less. It’s a playful exhibition which is carried off the backs of artists who are seated in a colourful and often figurative visual language. The common denominator in the exhibition is jovial humour, one way or another.


You talk regarding the exhibition about  “no pretensions to   intellectualize beyond what you see, whatever it may be from the viewer's end. An exhibition without too much hassle (but still a little ...).

Can you develop further around this?


Ashik: 

I think that’s something that came about as the exhibition was highlighted on C-print prior to the exhibition opening. That statement was to stress again that the exhibition is not intended to be an intellectually challenging exhibition which is the objective of so many exhibitions today as it is. This is one of those exhibitions you can come to without having to think too much and instead just give in to visual impressions and experiences; something I imagine can be quite liberating at times.



Chun Lee Wang Gurt, untitled, 2021. Eldhunden


installation view, Like Literally. Eldhunden
























































How did you select the artists for the project?


Ashik: 

I think Alida and I are quite in sync with our tastes and interests and for this exhibition we went with artists whose work we enjoy and have followed a while, either from close view or at a distance. Intuitively everything just came together, with one artist bringing another to mind.


Alida: 

I agree, oddly enough we had a pretty clear idea of who we wanted to work with for this show, even though the exhibition in itself is very breezy, easy and fussfree :) It is based on the idea that we want to create a place where artists from different generations can meet. That SKF/Konstnärshuset is a gallery where a visitor may see an artist that they might not have seen before. These are some of the thoughts and discussions that we’ve had and continue to have.


Edith Hammar, Slippery, 2021. Eldhunden


Richard Krantz, Whatever happened to the man of tomorrow, 2015. Eldhunden

Richard Krantz, a work with no name, 2018. Eldhunden

Richard Krantz, a work with no name, 2018. Eldhunden

























































































































































































































And what does each participant contribute to the theme of the exhibition?


Ashik: 

I think everyone together accentuates the exhibition identity that has been intended. Chun Lee Wang Gurt is an artist who recently exhibited in Lilla Galleriet at the house on Smålandsgatan and who is of a different generation than the other four artists. It’s nice to be able to shine light on a generational overlap and connections across generations. To highlight that the visual language of the exhibition is not just marked by “young artists” and in some sense also is “timeless” in character. Something that recurs in the exhibition is the “altered” face of heroes from norm pop culture and it’s been fun to juxtapose such figures from the past with Edith Hammar’s more queer and timely figures that make for a more nuanced representation of society at large today.


Alida: 

Ashik and I complement each other in a great way when it comes to themes and thoughts around this show. It kind of covers thematics on several different levels: meaning, subject, color and shape. Even though there are several links between many of the artists I think we both ultimately had ‘a feeling’ that these artists would fit together in a holistic way.


Tell us a little about the exhibition space SKF / Konstnärshuset?


Alida: 

Svenska Konstnärernas Förening is first and foremost an organization for artists. Everything we do is based on that. The exhibitions are a way to show the work of our members and put them in a larger context. SKF/Konstnärshuset is more than just one exhibition space.


Ashik: 

The statuesque house which is commonly known as “Konstnärshuset” is located in the heart of the city in Stockholm by Norrmalmstorg and has a very Venetian palatial feel. There are two galleries housed inside;, Lilla and Stora Galleriet and since last fall we also have Eldhunden in Stora Mossen as a satellite space which is where ‘Like Literally’ is taking place.


Alida: 

Besides these main spaces we also host the Lounge that has exhibitions twice a year. It is run by artists Sanna Albenius, Felicia Fasanino Jansson and Siri Bertling Wiik.



Amanda Hellsten. Eldhunden

Edith Hammar, Hanging, 2020. Eldhunden

installation view, Like Literally, Eldhunden
























































































How do you choose what to show and curate?


Ashik: 

We are trying to think wide and of an artistic breadth; across generations and expressions and producing a dialogue between artists is our “leitmotif”. It feels really important to create exhibiting opportunities for many artists rather than just a few. We might be of a certain generation ourselves but we are just as keen for example to present and reintroduce senior artists who might have been away from the spotlight as we would an emerging artist. 


Alida: 

Exactly, we also want to work inclusively and try to add what we feel may be missing on the Stockholm art scene. Hopefully :)


installation view, Like Literally. Eldhunden

installation view, Like Literally. Eldhunden


installation view, Like Literally. Eldhunden








































































































































What is your experience of the art climate in Stockholm / Sweden in general?


Ashik: 

Stale and ancient. Sometimes it feels like changes take forever and that they are generally few over a period of time. Stockholm  is a very expensive city to act in both as an artist and art professional. It’s the sort of city where you have to be such a passionate trouper and can run the torch a few years after which point you easily get burned out and feel the need to pass it on to someone else. It’s a messy equation sometimes that doesn’t fit for everyone. I see the same galleries year after year and art press and coverage has changed very little in the near decade I’ve been writing about art actively.


Alida: 

I think there is a pretty big difference between the art climate in Stockholm and in other Swedish cities such as Gothenburg or Malmö. Stockholm has almost no artist-driven scene; it exists, but is not at all to the same extent as in Gothenburg, or Malmö. On the other hand there is a minimal commercial scene in these cities. It’s pretty sad that there isn’t a climate where both can thrive.


Edith Hammar, Rustning, 2021. Eldhunden


Amanda Hellsten. Eldhunden


installation view, Like Literally. Eldhunden


How has Covid-19 affected that climate? What do you see for future trends?


Ashik: 

I think the pandemic has been an eye-opener in terms of what is possible to substitute digitally and what isn’t. We now know a lot of meetings and visits with artists instead of travelling far and beyond can be had per a platform like Zoom. From a sustainable point of view I think the positive side of the pandemic has been that every art venue has had to reassess their practice and try new ways out. That means getting wiser both about inherent limitations and possibilities at hand. Altogether I think the pandemic has further catalyzed forward an outlook among artists that would have needed to emerge sooner or later; that is to become more self-sufficient in order to create new structures that increasingly make room for artists. The pandemic really just forced you out of a bubble and your sometimes inadequate routine ways.


Alida: 

I agree with Ashik on this analysis and would add that there is a huge public appreciation that people actually continue to do exhibitions and art despite the pandemic. It’s like a beacon of normalcy. And I would like to add that I think there will be a larger focus on local and domestic art, rather than international.  


Website for Eldhunden

http://konstnarshuset.org/portfolio-items/eldhunden/









No comments:

Post a Comment

comment