Carl Johan De Geer.

Carl Johan De Geer and expressions from Norrbotten

2 february – 31 march 2013


Mats Wikström, an artist and curator, invites you to explore the enchanting world of folk art through his extensive collection in the exhibition “Expressions from Norrbotten.” Over the past 20 years, Wikström has passionately gathered a diverse array of paintings, sculptures and other captivating objects. His collection encompasses remarkable artworks discovered in yard sales, recycling centers and folk museums. Throughout his journey, Mats has had the privilege of meeting some of the talented artists behind these works, offering a glimpse into their lives and creative processes.

According to Wikström, folk art stands apart from conventional art market expectations, embracing an unfiltered and authentic form of expression. He finds solace in the raw and unconstrained nature of exceptional folk art. It encapsulates not only the innate human desire for self-expression but also the fulfillment derived from the act of crafting and completing each piece. For Mats, folk art represents the pinnacle of artistic achievement.

Within this remarkable showcase, Wikström’s collection intertwines with works by artists closely connected to or inspired by the folk art tradition. As a counterpoint to the regional portion of the exhibition, the curator has chosen to highlight the remarkable artistry of Carl Johan De Geer. De Geer’s approach to art mirrors the accessible and direct qualities found in folk art.

The curator extends heartfelt gratitude to the participating artists, the supportive families of deceased artists, as well as Ricky Sandberg and the dedicated staff at Havremagasinet for their unwavering trust and support in bringing this captivating exhibition to life.

The exhibition is curated by Mats Wikström.

More information can be found in the Folder (available only in Swedish).

Participating artist

Carl Johan De Geer (born july 13th 1938) tells us about a lifetime of doing film art. He was drawn to film making early in his life, back when he begun his art studies. He describes the joy of film making, his collaborations and conflicts with close coworkers. A career in film that started with a boyish fascination for violence and guns has now ended up in a more documentary tone.

Birgit Engström is the daughter of Fingal Larsson. She grew up in Bjurå. Her father worked at the state railway and was the boss of Fritiof Enbom, a central person of the Enbom-scandal. Today Enbom is considered to have been a compulsive liar. But during the 1950’s he confessed to have left Swedish national secrets to the Soviet union about defense facilities. Enbom also accused his coworkers to be participating in these contacts with the Russians.

Clifton Fexmo became known in Luleå and to Mats Wikström during the 1980’s when he started to send announcements to the local ad paper. The announcements consisted mostly of a short informative text, accompanied with a photograph of Clifton in bowler hat and cane. Clifton wrote reflections about his life. The first blogger, Clifton Fexmo’s announcements and letters, was published 2009 by local publishing house Black Island Books.

Gideon Granberg(1905-2000) was born in Bredsel. He worked in forestry and later with his own carrier company. After his retirement, Gideon started making music instruments and wooden figures, as well as painting and writing. Mats ”discovered” Gideon’s art in his hometown Arvidsjaur. When meeting him, he learned that Gideon once had known Mats grandmother’s brothers. Gideon continued to create until he was in his 90’s.

Gunnar Hansson was born 1938. In his 40’s he began to work full time with doing wood works and painting. Gunnar is a very productive artist who has done numerous sculptural projects in his local community.

Julia Nylund (1914-2002) was born in Teurajärvi. She moved to Markusvinsa and got married in 1945. They had three daughters. Julia and her husband worked on their farm until 1966. Selling the cows, and missing them, became the starting point for her handicrafting. At first she made wooden cows: Sitting at her kitchen table she crafted animals from materials she had gathered from the forest.

Kjell Sandberg. Mats Wikström became acquainted with Kjell Sandberg in Kyrkbyn where they both lived. Kjell showed Mats numerous drawings on coffee filters filled with a symbolic language.

Assar Wallenius (1937-2004) was born in Hapakylä. He lived for a period in the south of Sweden, where he worked and studied, but later returned back home to Norrbotten. Assar lived in his own world, according to his relatives. To him, painting became a way of expressing thoughts and experiences. 

Gunnar Hansson. Rådjur (Deer). Wooden sculpture.