Local | Prominent collections come together in the exhibition about the role of the artist

By on December 12, 2015
National Museum, Modern Art and Academy of Art shows the strength of their collections by allowing different eras meet in the exhibition Konstnären. It is about different artistic roles and norms, ideals and myths created around it. In all, around 100 works by a number of art history’s most famous names, from Rubens and Rembrandt over Renoir and Picasso to Cindy Sherman.
The exhibition Konstnären wants to discuss what it means to be an artist, both today and in a historical perspective. It‘s about roles, ideals and myths and shows how artists behaved to their contemporaries values, audiences and markets. If power relations are organized around notions of gender, ethnicity, sexuality and class. Ideals and standards are modified through history, but many of the roles and the problem formulations lives on or reappear in new guises.
Role of the artist is anything but uniform. The step is a long way from the court painter working on behalf of a client, to the bohemians who want to live unfettered by the established values of society. The exhibition discusses a number of artist roles, but also points to the myths that surround them. It also shows how many and influential women artists were, and how they in the 1870s and 1880s got the male artist norm in flux.
In recent years, many artists have gone into the role of entrepreneur, among other things, reminds Jeff Koons and Ernst Billgren a kind of entrepreneur in a commercial market. But already Rosa Bonheur and Anders Zorn was very skillful in building personal brands that helped them to great success on the international market in the late 1800s. Even in the 1600s the Netherlands had the artist entrepreneur an important role, Rembrandt and other Dutch painters were customers of the new bourgeoisie.
The exhibition shows how artists relate to travel and meeting other cultures. Historical examples are Egron Lundgren, Paul Gauguin and Ivan Aguéli. Sometimes the artists’ images of them foreign cultures have been full of stencils and stereotypes. But there are also plenty of examples of artists who worked to make visible the power structures and norms, for example, Vibeke Tandberg and Meriç Algún Ringborg.
Many artists have historically seen themselves as visionaries and prophets. Feminist artists, Siri Derkert and Gittan Jönsson, has worked with both the critique of contemporary society and the political vision of the future. Other artists have been occupied with visions of a more spiritual nature. It could be that, as in the early 1900s modernists Hilma af Klint and Vassilij Kandinskij, creating images that put viewers in touch with the inner worlds and spiritual dimensions.
The exhibition is a collaboration between the Academy of Art, Moderna Museet and Nationalmuseum, based on art from the three institutions’ collections. In all, around 100 works by a number of art history’s most famous names, from Rubens and Rembrandt over Renoir and Picasso to Cindy Sherman. The exhibition has also been supplemented with a couple of key works on loan from other collections. The exhibition group consists of Margaret Gynning, Per Hedstrom and Carl Johan Olsson from the National Museum, John Peter Nilsson and Andreas Nilsson from Moderna Museet Malmö and EvaLena Bengtsson from the Art Academy. To the exhibition gives an richly illustrated catalog out with texts written by the exhibition team.
The exhibition Konstnären is shown in the National Museum’s temporary premises at the Academy of Art from February 11 to September 11 in 2016.
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