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Camilla Boström and Olof Marsja. The Stena Foundation Culture Scholarship 2023 – Göteborgs konstmuseum

2 December 2023–3 March 2024

A four-metre-high tower of birds meets flowery guardian figures and rediscovered boats for fishing in rapids. The Gothenburg Museum of Art finishes the year with an exhibition containing new works by the artists Camilla Boström and Olof Marsja, two of the recipients of the Stena Foundation Culture Scholarships 2023.

Camilla Boström (b 1972) is a Gothenburg-based multidisciplinary artist with a background in visual arts, graffiti and design. Camilla Boström trained at HDK-Valand – Academy of Art and Design, Gothenburg University, as well as the Pratt Institute in New York. She works chiefly in the media of sculpture, painting, collage and textile. She has a long-standing interest in the urban experience and the place of humans in the unpredictable throng that constitutes the living space in our cities. Often, she creates large-format mural paintings utilizing spray paint directly on a wall. Camilla Boström regularly participates in exhibitions and street art festivals internationally and in Sweden. She works both with temporary pieces as well as permanent works in the public space. Her art often deals with social issues of various kinds, from community projects with school classes to in-depth tributes to historical female pioneers.

In the exhibition at the Gothenburg Museum of Art, Camilla Boström exhibits new textile works, among others rugs in various asymmetrical formats that make use of both floor and wall space. Furthermore, she continues to explore sculptural expressions and a central work in the exhibition is a newly produced four-metre-high sculpture based on birds’ silhouettes.

Spray-paint can in hand, Camilla Boström takes a playful and undogmatic approach to painting where the moment, desire and the temporary nature of creation is in play. In her murals and other works, she cultivates a certain pictorial restlessness where colors and fragments of shapes propel each other in a carnival-like stream of emotions and expressions.

A crumpled canvas, a fence, the wall of a building, or a museum hall are all potential sites for her free-wheeling combination of techniques, materials, and pictorial traditions.

For a coloristic expression that captures the sprawling and quirky energies of street art, Camilla Boström is awarded the 2023 Culture Scholarship from the Sten A Olsson Foundation for Research and Culture.

Olof Marsja
(b 1986) is an artist based in Gothenburg. He trained at Konstfack University of Art, Crafts and Design, at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki, and also Garraduodji, the Sami education centre. Marsja works with sculptures and installations, chiefly in wood, metal, glass, and mixed materials. Recurring elements are found and recycled materials such as sports clothes, plastic bags and tent canvas. Among the important themes that are elaborated in his art are humanity’s relationship to nature, and how materials and forms are bearers of narratives and memories. Marsja is represented at the Gothenburg Museum of Art and Moderna Museet, among other institutions. He regularly participates in exhibitions in Sweden and internationally.

A new large-scale work in the form of a Sami boat, made for navigating rapids, has a prominent place in the exhibition at the Gothenburg Museum of Art. Olof Marsja researched this unusual type of boat that was produced during the 19th and 20th centuries and was sufficiently stable to be used for fishing in rapids, but at the same time light enough to be carried through inaccessible terrain. The work is presented along with new sculptures in bronze, fur and wood.

Olof Marsja is a sculptural explorer whose ambiguous installations fuse disparate materials with inner musings and experiences stemming from multifaceted societal motifs.

His art addresses humankind’s intrinsic connection to nature, and how our languages and our bodies pass on memories, silences, and resistance.

At times, the tone is quietly reflective and restrained. At others, it is violent, dramatically visual. Forceful archaic shapes in bronze, glass, and wood encounter mundane objects like sun-bleached plastic carrier bags, torn tarpaulins, and discarded Gore-Tex jackets.

For art that highlights cultural conflation and effective fragmentation while also creating new, intriguing entities, Olof Marsja is awarded the 2023 Culture Scholarship from the Sten A Olsson Foundation for Research and Culture.

The Sten A Olsson Foundation for Research
The Stena Foundation is an important institution in the cultural life of Western Sweden, providing a unique opportunity for artists to produce new works and increase their visibility. This year, six cultural practitioners each receive 300 000 SEK to stimulate further development. Since 1996, the Foundation has awarded 167 scholars hips for the continued training of talented individuals in fields such as art, music, theatre, dance, literature, scenography and circus art. Furthermore, the Foundation has awarded grants to many research and culture projects.

A comprehensive catalogue accompanies the exhibition, including longer personal interviews and a plethora of visual material for each recipient of the culture scholarships. Short introductory films featuring all the scholars are shown in the exhibition and provide further in-depth knowledge about them.

All recipients of the 2023 Stena Foundation Culture Scholarships:

Artist Camilla Boström
Musician Alec Frank-Gemmill
Musician Martin Hederos
Author Marit Kapla
Artist Olof Marsja
Circus artist Maria Zeniou

Top Image: Installation view, The Stena Hall,  Marsja, Álgoealli (urdjur/protozoa), 2023 and in bakground Watcher of the Nightless Night Watcher of the Eight Suns Watcher of the Tides, 2023. Photo: Hossein Sehatlou.