Jonas Dahlberg, Safe Zones No.9, 2004 (Ausstellungshalle Münster) © Jonas Dahlberg. Courtesy Galerie Nordenhake. Mixed media, 4 architectural models with attached surveillance camera, 1 monitor Model built by Torsten Livion, part of installation from Ausstellungshalle zeitgenössische Kunst Münster. Photo: Thomas Wrede (VG Bildkunst)

Jonas Dahlberg

Jonas Dahlberg plays with our perceptions. His video installations appear at first to be a direct reproduction of a familiar environment, but one it turns out to be impossible to find your bearings in and after a while what becomes clear is that something is not right. The environment is empty and the film has neither beginning nor end.

Several of Dahlberg’s video installations are filmed in complex models to provide an illusion of architectural environments. In his works of art, he explores spatiality and what methods exist to monitor it. He brings together two contrasting ways of relating to space, frequently being on the inside or on the outside, seeing or being seen. The shift between these positions creates a feeling of spatial ambivalence and also an interplay between active and passive surveillance.

At the Riche restaurant in Stockholm Safe Zones # 8 is being shown, which has been developed at the exhibition at Moderna Museet into Safe Zones # 10. A monitor is situated outside a toilet, on which can be seen the interior of the lavatory filmed diagonally from above. Visitors to the restaurant assume that a surveillance camera has been installed inside. Any visitor bold enough to venture is surprised to discover that what has been placed there is an exact copy of the toilet and that it is in fact the model that is being monitored.

Dahlberg’s constructed worlds are a commentary on the paranoia and the need for control that characterises the contemporary march towards a security-conscious society.

Jonas Dahlberg

Born 1970 in Uddevalla.
Lives and works in Stockholm.


Konsthögskolan i Malmö/ Malmö Art Academy, Malmö

Arkitektutbildningen. Lunds Tekniska Högskola/ The Programme in Architecture. Lund Institute of Technology, Lund

Konstvetenskap. Göteborgs universitet/ Art History. Göteborg University, Göteborg/Gothenburg

Selected solo exhibitions

The First Minute of the Rest of a Movie, Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn [DE]

Invisible Cities, Moderna Museet, Stockholm 2004 26th Bienal de São Paulo, São Paulo [BR]

Selected group exhibitions

Contradicting Architecture, Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris [FR]

Delays and Revolutions, Italian Pavilion, 50th Venice Biennale, Venedig/Venice [IT]

Manifesta 4. European Biennial of Contemporary Art, Frankfurt [DE]

Selected bibliography

Invisible Cities (utst.kat./exh. cat.), Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 2004.

Caroline Corbetta, “Citizens of an invisible city”, Domus# 874, 2004.

Lisa Panting, “Enclosed Space: two films by Jonas Dahlberg”, Northumbria University Fine Art Press, 2003.

More about this exhibition