For Summer 2023, Wanås Konst presents Carola Grahn: Trädgränsen [The Tree Line]. Exhibition period: May 6–November 5, 2023. Opening May 6.
Curated by Milena Hoegsberg, Wanås Konst’s new Director and Chief Curator, and Curator Malin Gustavsson.
Trädgränsen [The Tree Line] is a comprehensive exhibition including several newly-produced, large-scale sculptures. Grahn’s practice is characterized by a Sami worldview. Her work raises critical questions about our relationship to society, power structures, and nature, often incorporating humor throughout.
In this exhibition, located across the sculpture park’s forest, visitors encounter a series of newly produced, site-specific artworks: a meter-style machine that releases joiks (an ancient form of Sami singing), a gigantic inflatable sacred mountain, a wooden architectural sculpture loosely based on the motif of a shamanic drum, and a trio of minimalist sculptures consisting of 51 m3fub of timber occupying the entrance to The Shop. The works on view evoke the commodification of nature—exemplified by both forestry and the forest-turned- sculpture park—as well as the spiritual use of natural sites.
In these works, contradictions are encouraged to give rise to questions about “what role Sami cosmology and its view on nature might play in a collective search for a more sustainable way of life” in the artist’s words. Today, many people have a complicated relationship with nature: we admire, romanticize, and long for it, while simultaneously exploiting and consuming it. In Sami mythology, gods and ancestors reside in networks of branches, animals, lakes, and the forest canopy. The natural world was seen as sacred, owned by no one, and the Sami people lived in pursuit of a kinship with the earth and other living beings.
Grahn does not offer simple solutions for adapting this mode of existence to a contemporary lifestyle. Instead, her artworks emphasize different perspectives and encourage reflections on our interactions with nature. The works on view underline the artist’s interest in holding space for the magic and spirit of the forest, in addition to asking how we might find new ways to connect with sites considered portals to the spirit world in Sami spiritualism.
While working on the exhibition, Grahn came to know Wanås as a place. During her time here, she met with forestry experts and hunters while becoming familiar with oak, beech, ash, wild boar, and deer. In several of the works on view, materials from the Wanås estate forest were temporarily removed from their industrial production cycle to become a part of the artwork. After the exhibition closes, they will return to their original contexts. Just like Grahn’s works, the exhibition’s title is open to different interpretations. Trädgränsen gestures to the demarcation between the mountainscape of the North—the edge of the habitat where trees are capable of growing—and areas with dense forest, as well as the boundary between coniferous and deciduous forest that cuts through the Wanås estate. It also points to Grahn’s evocation of the forest as a threshold, suggesting an entryway to alternate modes of interaction with the natural landscape and the world at large
About the Artist
Carola Grahn (b. 1982, Jokkmokk, Saepmie; working from Malmö) is a conceptual artist working in a variety of mediums. Interweaving traces of dark humor, references to popular culture and Sami tradition, Grahn challenges stereotypes, power structures, and social constructions throughout her work. Grahn graduated from the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm in 2013. In 2021, she was awarded the Asmund and Lizzie Arles sculpture award. Grahn’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Swedish Arts Council, Moderna Museet, and the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection Berlin, among others.
During the exhibition period from May to November, visitors are invited to participate in several programs connected to Carola Grahn: Trädgränsen including a performance, workshops in Wanås Konst Studio, and an art and literature festival focused on mycelia networks and their connections to trees. The festival is co-curated with chef and fermentation expert David Zilber, with the participation of Carola Grahn, Merlin Sheldrake and Cosmo Sheldrake.
Art and Literature Festival: October 20–21. Follow Wanås Konst on SoMe for program updates.
Open drop-in creative workshops for families in the studio every weekend and all of summer break during opening hours.
Parallell exhibition in the Hay Barn
Young-jun Tak, Wish You a Lovely Sunday, May 6–November 5.
The exhibition borrows its title Wish You a Lovely Sunday from the single-screen 2021 film installation presented in the monumental space of the Hay Barn. It is the first time the South Korean artist Young-jun Tak is exhibiting his work in Sweden. Curated by Milena Hoegsberg.
Wanås Konst (The Wanås Foundation) is Sweden’s largest sculpture park. Situated in the forest at Wanås in Skåne, and containing over 70 permanent works, it is a national art landmark. Every year Wanås Konst invites international artists to create site-specific temporary works, some of which enter the permanent collection. Previous artists who have presented in solo exhibitions include Kimsooja (2020), Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg (2016), and Yoko Ono (2011), among others. Since its inception in 1987, the non-profit The Wanås Foundation has exhibited over 300 artists. Wanås Konst is run by The Wanås Art Foundation, a non-profit foundation created in 1994, in Östra Göinge municipality, in the South of Sweden, 1.5 h from Copenhagen, Denmark. Founding Director Marika Wachtmeister initiated the art projects at Wanås in 1987. In 2011, Elisabeth Millqvist and Mattias Givell took over the leadership. Since September 2022, Milena Høgsberg is the new director. Wanås Konst is part supported by state, regional (Region Skåne) and municipal funding, part self financed, as well as supported by private foundations and sponsors. Read more on the website www.wanaskonst.se. Wanås is a place in the world where art, nature and history meet. At Wanås the sculpture park Wanås Konst, Wanås Restaurant Hotel and Wanås Estate coexist and a private 15th century castle is also found on site. Wanås Konst is part of European Land + Art Network (ELAN)