press release

It is with great pleasure that Overgaden this spring devotes the whole house to Swedish contemporary art. The Danish artist Niels Bonde presents in the exhibition Jansson’s Temptation a number of central figures on the Swedish art scene and in this way wishes to confront and perhaps confirm a Danish audience’s possible prejudices about what is specifically Swedish. The exhibition project is initiated by the newly established Danish-Swedish Cultural Foundation, and even though the title, a Swedish national dish, implies tradition, the Foundation’s support of the confrontational and transgressive contemporary art is not in the least traditional.

Jansson’s Temptation presents works by eight Swedish artists, Roger Andersson, Jens Fänge, Annika von Hausswolff, Lisa Jonasson, Annika Ström, Lisa Strömbeck, Johan Zetterqvist and Ola Åstrand. They all offer works which in their beauty, poetry and brutality transgress national frames of comprehension and step into the human. A stew of Swedish culture with ingredients covering everything from Abba to the Laser Man, Bellman and Bergman and back again, from the People’s Home (Folkhemmet) million plan and Småland’s dark forests to Emil of Maple Hills (Astrid Lindgren’s Emil) and the crayfish feast’s obscene snaps songs.

Through these works, Jansson’s Temptation seeks answers for what the Swedes themselves emphasize as being Swedish, but also what Danes understand by the particularly Swedish. In Denmark Sweden is primarily associated with its beautiful nature, the wonderful lakes and forests with derelict farms. And the Swede’s nature is often understood as particularly formal, rational and effective – exactly like a Volvo: ”heavy, solid and trustworthy, but a bit boring to drive.”

The exhibition will invert these banal prejudices in a time when Danish prejudices benefit from confrontation. Therefore the exhibited works are also selected for their transgressive and explicit expression that undermines any expectation of nice and fine formalities. In Jansson’s Temptation an unrestrained anarchy prevails, which is to effect a sort of counter culture to the picture postcard – an at once melancholic and evil parallel universe that is comprehendible without a phrase book or Swedish- Danish dictionary.

The exhibition is produced by the Danish-Swedish Cultural Foundation and Niels Bonde. The exhibition catalogue is with text by the writer Staffan Boije af Gennäs.


only in german

Kurator: Niels Bonde

mit Roger Andersson, Jens Fänge, Annika von Hausswolff, Lisa Jonasson, Annika Ström, Lisa Strömbeck, Johan Zetterqvist, Ola Astrand