Between Realities: Photography in Sweden 1970–2000
February 8–May 11, 2014
This extensive exhibition summarizes the history of photography in Sweden during the period 1970–2000, including images – some of them classics, others never shown before – by more than 50 photographers from different generations. This was an eventful period for photography, during which one of the strongest tendencies was the shift from politically angled documentary photography to the important role of photography in contemporary art and mass culture that we see today. The exhibition fills a major gap in our understanding of the recent history of photography and is a unique collaboration between the University of Gothenburg, the Gothenburg Museum of Art and the Hasselblad Foundation.
The project surveyed and analyzed the various photographic practices and expressions that set the tone at the time. In the 1970s, most photography adhered to the documentary ideal. During the 1980s, a more subjective and artistically free attitude took over, and during the 1990s photography played a major role in postmodernist contemporary art. Another aim of Between Realities was to delve deeper than the conventional way of attributing styles to decades, and demonstrate how the changing tendencies both influence each other and extend over longer periods of time. To add complexity to this history, the focus is on both breaks and continuity in the field of photography, to clearly show the boundary between different realities.
The project was initiated by Niclas Östlind, PhD student at the Valand Academy, as a part of his thesis Performing History. He presented the thesis at the Valand Academy in Gothenburg in June 2014.
The exhibition was accompanied by the publication of a comprehensive book, with graphic design by Peter Antonisen, in collaboration with the publisher Arena. It was the year-book of the Swedish Association for Art in 2014, and number 123 in their series of yearly art books that stretches back to 1892. The book provides in-depth knowledge and increases the understanding of 30 years of photography in Sweden. The annual publications of the SAA often discuss painters and sculptors, but here, for the first time, it provided a broad overview of how photography as an art form was established in Sweden. Read more about the book here.
Caption: Ingrid Orfali, The Sucker (partly shown), 1991, the Gothenburg Museum of Art © Ingrid Orfali/BUS 2016
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