mamma andersson

28 November 2008 - 17 January 2009
Following on from her recent European mid-career retrospective, Stephen Friedman Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Swedish artist Mamma Andersson.

Andersson's mysterious and compelling paintings present an everyday world instilled with magic, folklore and unsettling ambiguity. Sensuously rendered in thick, impenetrable swathes of paint which melt into diaphanous oily streaks, landscapes and interiors merge into each other only to separate again. Her distinct visual language creates its own context where biographical references, visual quotes, cinematic flow and disjointed narrative converge.

In this exhibition domestic settings, institutional interiors and remote landscapes are bathed in cool, Nordic light and appear to have been deserted by the figures who so often inhabit them. There is a pervading sense that these uncanny scenes are sites of recent trauma or impending danger. Like a film score, her rich palette and evocative paintwork weave an enigmatic atmosphere of suspense.

As if to reinforce and crystallise what we are looking at, Andersson reproduces the same image again like a Rorschach inkblot. The mirror-like reflections of these diptychs introduce two distinct visions: the same view in reverse appears strangely altered. Playing with the conceit of image-making, perceptions are questioned as the viewer considers whether these repainted scenes represent a parallel universe, two different moments in time or a trick of the mind.

Andersson describes the work as not being about ‘nostalgia or memories, but of decline and desolation'. At moments paintwork is entirely absent, leaving incomplete and blank areas in the picture plane. In other places the materiality of the paint itself threatens to break free and overwhelm the very image which it has created. But, despite seemingly imminent pictorial collapse, Andersson holds these beautifully melancholic visions together in finely tuned balance, offering us the possibility of a future beyond the pictorial moment.

This exhibition will tour to Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin where it opens to the public on 30 January 2009.
A catalogue will accompany the exhibition.

A major monograph has been published by Steidl to accompany her recent mid-career retrospective at Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden (2007) which toured to Camden Arts Centre, London (2007) and Helsinki Taidehalli, Helsinki, Finland (2007). Mamma Andersson has exhibited widely all over the world. Recent exhibitions include: Essential Painting, National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan (2006) 15th Biennale of Sydney: Zones of Contact, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia (2006); The Undiscovered Country, UCLA Hammer, Los Angeles, USA (2004); 54th Carnegie International, Pittsburgh, USA (2004) and Devil May Care, a solo presentation in the Nordic Pavilion, 50th Venice Biennale, Italy (2003). In 2006 Mamma Andersson received the prestigious Carnegie Art Award.

Stephen Friedman Gallery is participating in Art Basel Miami Beach, 4-7 December 2008, stand B9. The gallery will be closed to the public for the holidays from 20 December 2008 to 5 January 2009.