Jan Lööf — Image Maker
September 17, 2011–January 22, 2012
Jan Lööf (b. 1940) is one of Sweden’s foremost draughtsmen and illustrators. His classic comics Felix and Ville have inspired a whole generation of cartoonists. But perhaps his children’s books are the foremost reason that he is well-known to a broader audience. His double debut in 1966 – with A Wizard in Stockholm and Grandpa is a Pirate – were soon followed by a number of acclaimed and award-winning children’s books. Lööf has also contributed to the flora of Swedish children’s television thanks to his role in the cult television series Tårtan (The Cake) and his own animated production Skrotnisse och hans vänner (Junk-Nisse and his Friends), which was a collaboration with Lars-Åke Kylén.
The exhibition at the Gothenburg Museum of Art was the first comprehensive exhibition of Jan Lööf’s oeuvre. It included the original illustrations from several children’s books and comics, as well as new works and installations. In addition, several of the models that were built for the production of Junk-Nisse and his Friends were shown for the first time.
In Lööf’s richly detailed visual world, imagination and realism go hand in hand. The characteristic settings are often full of the technological miracles of childhood and populated by disarmingly inventive characters. As a viewer, your gaze tends to linger in a universe where parallel story lines and references to literature, cinema and art add more layers of interpretation.
Jan Lööf’s career is both varied and consistent; it follows a winding path, but always seems able to utilize all kinds of experiences in the next phase of visual creativity. His artistic production spans over several decades and has been loved by generations of both children and adults. Style-wise, it has always been characterized by the techniques of pencil and watercolour, distinct outlines and saturated colours, even if Lööf in recent years chiefly creates images with the aid of a computer.
The exhibition catalogue includes a comprehensive selection of illustrations and articles by Ulla Rhedin, Isabella Nilsson, Carl Johan de Geer, Magnus Haglund, Gustaf Cavallius, and Anna Hyltze. The catalogue provides different perspectives on Lööf’s multi-faceted artistic production and shows that his art is extremely vibrant, spiritual and open to new ideas.
The exhibition was accompanied by a series of activities including lectures, guided tours, and creative workshops for children and young people.