The Moderna Exhibition is a large-scale project that the museum presents once every four years. Several artists in the 2018 edition look back at Swedish history and explore the events that have shaped and reshaped society. Other artists highlight alternative experiences of living in Sweden today. And in the midst of these local standpoints, the exhibition incorporates geographically distant perspectives that, in different ways, impact our lives here and now.
The human body is tangibly present throughout the exhibition – surveilled and registered, caught between legal and geographic boundaries, and shaped by ideologies, technologies, power structures and norms. Also palpable are the remnants of nature, transformed beyond recognition to make way for vast industrial tracts of land where time passes ever more rapidly.
In a more hopeful direction, we encounter the search for an existence and a sexuality unencumbered by patriarchy, consumerism, and religious heritage, with new approaches to understanding oneself as a more integral part of a cosmological whole. The hierarchy of man, animal and plant is reinterpreted and renegotiated in novel ways, opening up the potential for imaginative new forms of communal understanding.
What is the Moderna Exhibition?
The Moderna Exhibition is a recurring exhibition format featuring between thirty and fifty artists. Once every four years, you are invited to experience a comprehensive presentation of important aspects of the contemporary Swedish art scene. The first edition of the Moderna Exhibition took place in 2006 and this fourth edition will feature both a major exhibition and a rich programme of performances, film screenings, and artist talks.
How were the participating artists selected?
To select the artists for the exhibition, the curators of the 2018 edition made an extensive and geographically widespread series of studio visits with artists in and around Sweden. They also organised four seminar days in Malmö, Gothenburg, Stockholm, and Umeå respectively, bringing together some forty curators, scholars, and museum directors to present their insights and reflections around important contemporary tendencies. These seminars were made possible in close collaboration with Malmö Konstmuseum, Göteborgs Konsthall, Bildmuseet in Umeå and the Swedish Arts Grants Committee/Iaspis in Stockholm.
In connection to the Moderna Exhibition, a publication will be co-produced with the Swedish Arts Grants Committee/Iaspis. This book will present the practises of more than fifty artists that make up a vital part of the Swedish art scene today. These practises are partially aligned to the themes of the exhibition, but will also give a broader view of key tendencies.The publication will also include essays that highlight issues of critical importance for art, society, and the planet.
What do we mean by “the Swedish art scene”?
Artists active in Sweden today may have a background in one or many other countries and cultures. Some have been living in Sweden for just a few years, others considerably longer. There are Swedish-born artists based in other parts of the world, and artists who live and work outside of Sweden but did all of their studies here. The boundaries, then, of the “Swedish art scene” do not match the national borders, although within this scene, we find many content-related connections to the Swedish state, its histories, its civic and educational systems, and its relations to the rest of the world.