SMS. Video 2 min.

Henrik Andersson, SMS, 2005 © Henrik Andersson. Courtesy BAC Baltic Art Center. Video 2 min.

Henrik Andersson

The screen is dark. A caption strip runs along its lower edge. On the sound track we can hear a voice plodding labouriously through the text. In his videowork SMS, Henrik Andersson carries out a practical test of the proposals of the Swedish Liberal party concerning language teaching for immigrants.

Quotes from the party manifesto are sent by SMS to an answering machine in Germany. As the electronic voice is reading out the message – and shifting from a German to an English accent – the disguise concealing the populist policy is penetrated. It totally falls apart when the voice spells out the word “modersmålsundervisning” (mother-tongue teaching for immigrants).

Andersson’s work is characterised by a conceptual simplicity and a sharply delineated setting, one of whose elements is an astringent sense of humour which serves to expose power structures and make visible hierarchies of values. Translation is a recurring thematic device. Frequently the focus is on the way in which cultural identity is constructed around an idea.

At the heart of Repetition is the way art and the church have worked together. Here the music of the Arab world and that of the West re-encounter one another in their shared classical inheritance. During the Middle Ages, the latter was strongly influenced by the former. A piece is created for glockenspiel using an Arabic musical scale. As the call to prayer melts into the ringing of bells, our prejudices fade away – and we are transported, listening to something exceptionally captivating and beautiful.

Henrik Andersson

Born 1973 in Gothenburg.
Lives and works in Stockholm.


Department of Fine Arts. University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm

Curatorial Programme. University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm

School of Photography and film at Göteborg University, Gothenburg

Selected solo exhibitions

BAC,Visby 2005 Galleri Signal, Malmö

Färgfabriken, Stockholm

Selected group exhibitions

Tirana Biennale, Tirana [AL]
Galleri Index, Stockholm

Invisible Landscapes, Rooseum, Malmö

Selected bibliography

Konstperspektiv, 2005.

Henrik Andersson/Henrik Rylander, LP, Firework Edition Records, 2001 Paletten, Ljudkonst, #245–246, 4–5/2001.

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