The Art in a Larger World
Fairytale - 1001 Qing Dynasty wooden chairs, 2007
© Ai Weiwei. Photo: Albin Dahlström/Moderna Museet
The text is from Moderna Museets Vänner Bulletinen No 1 2014
There have been times when art could have been said to have its home in Paris or New York. Today, seminal art is produced everywhere in the world, by artists who move freely between continents. How does this impact on Moderna Museet’s collecting practices? This is a question Daniel Birnbaum and Ann-Sofi Noring ask themselves as they take on the task of building a collection for the future.
We are living an era when it is imperative for art museums to review their activities. The days when one particular place could be seen as the dominating centre for art are long gone. Instead, barriers of language and traditions are being bridged. The map is being redrawn, and as the guardians of one of Europe’s finest collections of modern and contemporary art, we are compelled to scrutinise our own history in the light of new knowledge in a globalised world. With new acquisitions for the collection and an active approach to events relating to exhibitions, we seek to move the frontiers, in dialogue with a few of the many artists who are constantly in motion, between languages and continents, from one centre to the next.
Perhaps art is the sphere where we can still spot the crucial differences and entirely new poetic possibilities that emerge when cultures meet.
Last autumn, Moderna Museet featured an exhibition with Tala Madani, born in Iran and living in the USA. Her paintings and animations comment with humour and seriousness on various levels of power structures. This was followed in late autumn 2013 by an exhibition of Christodoulos Panayiotou from Cyprus, who has a background in choreography and anthropology and combines the methods of the scientist and the choreographer in his multifaceted works. In Stockholm, he is showing a large terracotta floor, brought here like the archaeological finds that were previously shipped from his native Mediterranean island.
The Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander has worked with a group of Swedish students to design entirely new furniture for the Museum’s main entrance, a project that was based on the encounter between Nordic folk crafts and contemporary everyday life in Brazil. The artist and the young people have translated visions of time and globalisation into useful objects for the convenience of visitors to the Museum even in 2014.
In spring 2014, we are showing a major retrospective on the Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco, who moves between three continents and as many languages. In an oeuvre that comprises photography, installation and sculpture, he utilises and challenges cultural identities. He finds motifs in Latin American traditions but also plays with Duchamp’s concept of readymades. Another current artist who creates new links between different languages is Meriç Algün Ringborg, who divides her time between Istanbul and Stockholm. Later this year, the Museum will be exhibiting works by her that explore this experience of moving between the two countries. Meanwhile, Georges Adéagbo from Benin continues to collect objects from the city’s flea markets and second-hand shops. Adéagbo composes these materials into a complex collage of influences. In summer 2014, a monumental piece with the working title “The Birth of Stockholm” will be presented.
Tala Madani, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Rivane Neuenschwander, Gabriel Orozco, Meriç Algün Ringborg, Georges Adéagbo – all these artists link continents and contribute to redrawing the map.
A fantastic gift just arrived at Moderna Museet: two chairs by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. They will be the start of a new endeavour to build a collection that reflects a larger world.
Lecture series 2014: A Larger World