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Sten A Olsson’s Culture Scholarships 2020 – Göteborgs konstmuseum

20 April–20 June 2021

Dreamlike tropical landscapes, cosmic circles in ceramics and hyperrealist painting. The Gothenburg Museum of Art presents a nuanced exhibition featuring large-scale oil paintings and sculptural ceramics.

The artists Carl Hammoud, Hanna Järlehed and Martin Solymar are the recipients of the Sten A Olsson Culture Scholarships 2020, in art and form. The exhibition shows several works by each artist, of which the majority have been newly produced and will be seen by the public for the first time. The Sten A Olsson Foundation for Research and Culture is an important institution in the cultural life of Gothenburg, which provides unique opportunities for artists to produce new works and increase their visibility. During the past 25 years, the Foundation has awarded a large number of scholarships to further the training of talented people in art, music, theatre, dance, literature and scenography. Furthermore, the Foundation has supported many different projects in research and culture in Sweden. This year, the Sten A Olsson Culture Scholarships have been awarded to six culture practitioners who each receive 300 000 SEK to stimulate their development.

The exhibition at the Gothenburg Museum of Art emphasizes the opportunity for the artists to explore new expressions and methods – to work with different materials, go up in scale or investigate a new circle of motifs. The public will see paintings that range from dreamlike hallucinatory states to objective observation. Mysterious ceramic objects bring to mind both concrete natural materials and an abstract cosmos.

Carl Hammoud (b 1976) graduated from the Valand Academy in Gothenburg in 2004 and has since then been a leading figure in Swedish contemporary art. In the media of painting, drawing and sculpture, he investigates seeing, perception and perspective. His work is characterised by repetition and zooming in, often with references to archives, knowledge and order.

Hanna Järlehed (b 1970) was trained at the School of Design and Crafts at the University of Gothenburg and is based in Gothenburg since some years back. In her sculptural ceramics, she constantly tests the material and explores both its possibilities and its limitations. The opposition between the fragile and dainty, versus the heavy and dense, is prominent in her singular objects.

Martin Solymar (b 1981) lives and works in Gothenburg, and graduated from the Valand Academy in 2012. He chiefly works with painting, but also explores other materials and techniques. Interwoven in large-scale works that move between the figurative and the abstract are stories from popular belief, myths and fairy tales, with references to the Nordic countries as well as the Caribbean.

A comprehensive catalogue with longer personal interviews and ample visual material pertaining to all of the Culture Scholarship’s recipients has been produced in conjunction with the exhibition. Short introductory films about all the scholars are shown in the exhibition and provide more in-depth knowledge.

The motivations are as follows:

Artist Carl Hammoud
The works of Carl Hammoud are characterized by concentrated observation and a feverish flickering preoccupation with details and fragments. Recurring themes are the faith in art as language and vessel, but also scepticism of the image’s authority and an awareness of its transience. The paintings zoom in and out, moving among the remains and ruins of the present age. In a broader perspective, Hammoud’s work is also about where boundaries are drawn, exploring the blurred line between fiction and memory, as well as questioning world orders that define the fragile conditions of humanity and civilisation. For an artistic practice that unites austere precision with the melancholy of uncertainty, Carl Hammoud has been awarded the 2020 Scholarship from the Sten A Olsson Foundation for Research and Culture.

Ceramic artist Hanna Järlehed
Hanna Järlehed creates a singular ceramic world in which sealed, monolithic pieces meet fragile forms built up by thin sheets of clay. Her work moves between the decisive and the experimental, the controlled and the unexpected. There is always movement, something that is ongoing, being reshaped and flowing onward. Thick, glass-like glazes wash over the forms but also solidify into clandestine pools of water. While clay is the concrete starting point in Järlehed’s artistry, her gaze seeks the free horizon. For her powerful and daring exploration of ceramics as volume, surface and process, Hanna Järlehed has been awarded the 2020 Scholarship from the Sten A Olsson Foundation for Research and Culture.

Artist Martin Solymar
With sensitive nuances and transparent layers, Martin Solymar depicts a state of mind that seems to be dissolved, hallucinatory and ambiguous. Ritual objects and mythic figures become leading elements in a poetic visual world that cannot be assigned to a specific geographical place or era. At first glance, the paintings appear to be abstract, but upon closer observation they grow into fragments that make up complex narratives and create new rooms and landscapes. For paintings that display dynamic and narrative qualities, in which technique, form and content are all pushed forward, Martin Solymar has been awarded the 2020 Scholarship from the Sten A Olsson Foundation for Research and Culture.

All the recipients of the Sten A Olsson Culture Scholarship 2020 are:
Artist Carl Hammoud
Ceramic artist Hanna Järlehed
Actress Josefin Neldén
Musician Daniel Norgren
Artist Martin Solymar
Musician Carl Vallin