Jens Fänge ‘Gata’ (2009). Courtesy of Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm

The Moderna Museet in Stockholm recently opened The Moderna Exhibition 2010, its state-of-the-art address on the contemporary Swedish art scene. Exhibiting works by 54 artists, the position of the exhibition is to showcase artists who have made a strong impact on the contemporary Swedish art scene rather than elaborating an overview of the dominant local tendencies, though, of course, the latter is a natural byproduct of the manifestation.

In the exhibition curated by Fredrik Liew, Gertrud Sandqvist and Lisa Rosendahl, almost all practices are included ranging from Cecilia Edefalk’s washed out figurative paintings to Nathalie Djurberg’s irreverent and violent stop-frame style animations that have gained a great deal of attention on the international scene in recent years.

Needless to say, the exhibition is also heavily weighted towards conceptual practices that have been prevalent in Scandinavian art for decades. Here, they range from Luca Frei’s transhistorical games in his sculptural installation to Kajsa Dahlberg’s work that involves transcribing reader comments made into every Swedish-language copy of Virgina Woolf’s ‘A Room of One’s Own’ in public lending libraries in order to produce a new bound artist’s book.

The curatorial approach has been almost a phenomenological one. Rather than directly advocating that any specific current practice sums up the current avant-garde of Swedish art or to propose the pre-eminence of a particular theoretical stance, the curators have rather tried to confine their selection to those artists who can be seen to have made a strong impact on regional contemporary art. Almost half of the works on show have been produced especially for the exhibition and, as such, it also offers the audience an excellent opportunity to take in the latest works by many of the influential artists participating.

The Moderna Exhibition is a regular feature of the museum’s programme, taking place every four years. As such, it provides a timely insight into the state of the visual arts in Sweden and a useful and engaging crash course on the local contemporary arts scene for anyone visiting the city.


Nathalie Djurberg. ‘Snakes know it’s yoga’ (2010) Courtesy Galleria Giò Marconi and Zach Feuer Gallery, New York. Video still.

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