Art of Memory

What do we remember and why? What images of our history do we share and how were they created? It is the territory of memory that is the site of the exhibition at Bonniers Konsthall this autumn.

Image: Alina Szapocznikow, Cendrier de Célibataire I [The Bachelor's Ashtray I], 1972. Photo: Fabrice Gousset

Art of Memory is a series of exhibitions at Bonniers Konsthall and at surrounding museums which along with lectures and publications seek to encompass today’s notions of memory and history, and also to offer alternative narratives about the past. The art gallery will display three separate exhibitions, which both amplify and refract one another. Gerard Byrne, Cecilia Edefalk, and historical artist Alina Szapocznikow relate very differently to how individual and collective memories shape our lives. The passage of time becomes one point of connection between them. Gerard Byrne recreates overlooked moments of contemporary history. Cecilia Edefalk allows the ghosts of history to appear by showing a series of paintings surrounded by their own history: the studies and documentation from previous places where they have appeared. Alina Szapocznikow’s sculptures and drawings tell the story of the body’s often painful memories. Simultaneously, her exhibition evokes the memory of an artistic practice by displaying material from her private archives, films of her working in the studio, photos of pieces that no longer exist, and documentation from the exhibitions, such as the one at Lunds Konsthall in 1977.

Along with the gallery’s three exhibitions, a ring of work is being shown at surrounding museums in Vasastan, at places which hold the past and who participate in creating our view of history. Hans Rosenström’s sound piece takes the listener from Vasaparken to Judiska Museet to The Public Library. He makes associations with the role of place during ancient times in the art of memory, while also starting a discussion about technologies for memory in our digital age. At the Observatory Museum Ann Böttcher is showing the creation of a pictorial world by sight in her detailed pencil drawings, while Raqs Media Collective, at the same museum, is thinking about shifts in time and place, such as displaced meridians and lost star constellations. Tarek Atoui is creating a sound piece based on EMS’s (the Electronic Music Studio’s) archives at the Music and Theatre Library, and Cecilia Edefalk’s four year long conversation with August Strindberg is playing as text at the Strindberg Museum.

A part of the autumn lecture series with artists, writers and researchers, is a collaboration with the research program Time, Memory, Representation www.histcon.se (Riksbankens Jubileumsfond) at Södertörn University. The exchange between art, literature and research has, since the start of Bonniers Konsthall, been a way to deepen the program. The anthology that will be published in conjunction with Art of Memory is a collaboration with Albert Bonnier´s Publishing House with contributions from artists, writers and researchers.

With the support of Culture Ireland, Electronic Music Studio (EMS), Finnish Institute, Institut français de Suède, Polish Institute and Stockholm stad.

The exhibition A State of Neutral Pleasure by Gerard Byrne is organised by Whitechapel Gallery, London in collaboration with Bonniers Konsthall.

Symposium September 4 at 2-7pm

Guided tour in the morning at 10am-12

On the occasion of the opening of the exhibition series Art of Memory at Bonniers Konsthall and at surrounding museums, a symposium is set up together with the research program Time, Memory, Representation (www.histcon.se, Riksbankens Jubileumsfond) at Södertörn University. The symposium will present artistic as well as theoretical aspects on recent transformations in historical consciousness. The invited speakers will not only revolve around what we remember today, but also why and how, and how that is configured in the artistic field as well as in the science of humanities and history in relation to society at large.

Read more about the speakers and book your ticket