Jan Svenungsson

Talk


January 21, 2022 – "Discovery"
There is much going on... geo-political and political, but I won't comment. Instead I want to notice a tiny detail which made me happy when I discovered it.

At the end of last year – December 28 – I was in Sweden and made a blitz visit to Stockholm in order to do a couple of things. One was to see a show (where a work of mine from 1992 in included) at Liljevalchs Konsthall, celebrating its 100 years of existence.

It's always fun to see old work reappear. In this case a project which was originally made as a cover image for a telephone directory. In 1992 all Swedish phone books had covers made by artists. My work consisted of a montage face, made up of 3 photos: of myself and of my two brothers, Håkan and Olof. I had also made a number of drawings from this composite face, in order to see what hybrid identity would gradually emerge. At Liljevalchs now was the composite photo + a smaller number of the drawings, in a wall mounted vitrine. I made some photos with my Iphone and added them to this website a few weeks ago.

Then a funny thing happened. While being completely passive, I have a Facebook account. Some algorithm sends me emails informing me that friends have posted various stuff. When such messages appear, I routinely click and check what's up. This way I saw a photo the other day which was made in the room where my work was installed, although in this photo none of my work was visible. Instead I saw on the wall a painting I had ignored during my ego-centric visit to the show. It was clearly by Hilma af Klint. I then saw a poster as well, with another of her paintings. HOW could I have missed this??? For more than ten years now I have been super interested in her peculiar trajectory (and I was well aware of her already in the 1990s). And now, my work installed next to hers – and I don't see it!


January 6, 2022 – "Winter"
I won't mention any anniversary. Apart from that, I don't know where to start.

I read a thick biography of the singer Nico over the holidays. An unexpected Christmas present. I had not thought much about her for a very long time. The book is badly written, but it's full of information and I couldn't help being drawn in. Such a sad life – I guess – and such incredible stubbornness in doing an art that for most of the time very few people appreciated. I actually saw Nico play once, in 1984 I think it was. It left a vivid and morose memory. Long before I had bought four of her records. Now I just found the vinyls, which I can no longer play.

While running with my friend Michi in Grunewald once, he showed me her grave among the trees. I was most surprised. Christa Päffgen.