Laura Stephenson

Laura Stephenson Photo: Mats Lundqvist

Black and Blue


10.5 2024


This spring, the exhibition “Seven Rooms and a Garden: Rashid Johnson and The Moderna Museet Collection” welcomes musicians from different genres to freely interact with one of the exhibition spaces. Friday 10 May, solo harpist Laura Stephenson visits the exhibition.

In the exhibition “Seven Rooms and a Garden”, the work of American artist and filmmaker Rashid Johnson is in conversation, confrontation, and sometimes collusion with the collection of Moderna Museet.

Inspired by Louis Armstrong’s 1929 recording of the song “(What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue”, originally written by Fats Waller, Harry Brooks and Andy Razaf, Johnson has created a special chair in one of the rooms of the exhibition to which musicians from different genres are invited to freely interact with the exhibition space.

On Friday 10 May, solo harpist Laura Stephenson performs plays in the exhibition.

The specific exhibition space is characterised by abstract art – not the static kind but abstractions full of movement, gestures and colour. There are paintings by Rashid Johnson himself, but also a 1962 painting by South African Ernest Mancoba. In addition to both artists being inspired by music, Johnson points out that many abstract artists over the years have transferred rhythm and improvisation to the canvases, often inspired by jazz music.

Laura Stephenson

Friday 10 May

Laura Stephenson has been a solo harpist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Stockholm since 1992. She has performed as a soloist with the Orchestra and given chamber concerts on many occasions. Born and educated in Canada, she was a solo harpist with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra and the Canadian Chamber Ensemble before moving to Sweden.

Stephenson is passionate about contemporary music and is a long-standing member of the KammarensembleN, Sweden’s foremost modern art music ensemble, and has performed with them at numerous international contemporary music festivals, and on many of their albums. She has also been active as a chamber musician beyond the Stockholm Concert Hall, with appearances at the Gotland Music Festival, the Lapland Festival, the Saxå Chamber Music Festival and the Turku Music Festival.

Alongside her career as a performer, Laura Stephenson also teaches at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and offers private tuition.

Installation view over the exhibition room "The Salon"
Installation view, "The Salon" Photo: Mattias Lindbäck/Moderna Museet
From left to right: Untitled (Chair), Rashid Johnson, 2023 © Rashid Johnson. Untitled, Lee Bontecou, 1959 ©️ Lee Bontecou 2023 All Rights Reserved. Painting Made by Dancing, Niki de Saint Phalle, Robert Rauschenberg, 1961 © Niki Charitable Art Foundation/Bildupphovsrätt 2023. Tertia, Barnett Newman, 1964 © Barnett Newman / Bildupphovsrätt 2023. Brace, Ellen Gallagher, 1997 ©️ Ellen Gallagher. Punch, Peek & Feel, Lee Lozano, 1967-1970 © The Estate of Lee Lozano. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth. Carnation sanguine, Jean Dubuffet, 1950 © Jean Dubuffet / Bildupphovsrätt 2023. Emblema 70, Rubem Valentim, 1970 © Rubem Valentim. Untitled, Toshimitsu Imaï, 1981 © Toshimitsu Imaï. Roman Notes, Cy Twombly, 1970 © Cy Twombly Foundation. Utan titel, Ernest Mancoba, 1962 Courtesy: Estate Ferlov Mancoba, Copenhagen. Tadana VI, Tadeusz Kantor, 1957 ©️ Tadeusz Kantor. The Wooden Horse: Number 10 A, Jackson Pollock, 1948 ©The Pollock-Krasner Foundation/Bildupphovsrätt 2023. Untitled (Edge Painting), Sam Francis, 1968 © 2023 Sam Francis Foundation, California / Bildupphovsrätt. Transparent Painting: Ultramarine Blue, Marcia Hafif, 1982 ©️ Marcia Hafif. Journey, Herbert Gentry, 1973 © Elliott Erwitt / Magnum Photos. Deux têtes, Karel Appel, 1964 © Karel Appel/Bildupphovsrätt 2023. Til min søster, Asger Jorn, 1952 © Donation Jorn, Silkeborg/ Bildupphovsrätt 2023. Figure in Marsh Landscape, Willem de Kooning, 1966 © The Willem de Kooning Foundation, New York/Bildupphovsrätt 2023. Variation sur un rectangle, Jean Fautrier, 1957 © Jean Fautrier / Bildupphovsrätt 2023. Sans titre, Etel Adnan, 1973 ©️ Etel Adnan. Off Square, Stanley Whitney, 2016 © Stanley Whitney

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