the russians are coming!
6 june – 6 september 2010
Can art help to visualize and shed light on alienation and fear? How has Europe’s shared history influenced us and our perception of these issues? In the event of new conflicts, could the North of Sweden once again become a strategic military area? Ultimately, can contemporary art promote peace, friendship and understanding?
Boden, Sweden’s largest military town, has been strategically positioned in the north to defend against threats from the east. As a result, visitors were once greeted with large red and yellow signs prohibiting entry for aliens in multiple languages. These signs were removed in 1997, and today Boden focuses on tourism. Interestingly, the town also has one of the most active Migrationsverkets offices, a regional reception center that welcomes refugees from troubled areas worldwide. This paradox of a previously closed and secretive town now open to outsiders provides an exciting subject for contemporary artists to explore.
More information can be found in the Folder (available only in Swedish).
AES + F 1987 the collective of artists know as AES was started by Tatiana Arzmasova (born 1955), Lev Evzovich (b. 1957) and Evgeny Svyatsky (b. 1957). These russian artists have training in architecture and graphic art, and they call themselves AES+F group when they collaborate with the fashion photographer Vladimir Fridkes (b. 1956). In The Russians are Coming! the work Last Riot is shown, that the group had their breakthrough with at the Vienna biennial 2007. The heroes of the epic has only one identity; to be participants in the Last Riot. They fight themselves and the others, there is no longer a difference between victim and perpetrator, male and female. The world celebrates the end of ideologies, history and ethics.
Inger Blix Kvammen (b. 1954) lives and works in North Norwegian Kirkenes, in the north-easternmost corner of Norway, bordering on Russia. A background that has inspired her as both a craftsman and an artist. In The Russians are Coming! she shines a light on her upbringing in a bordering town to the closed Soviet Union.
Bluesoup Group consists of Daniel Lebedev (born 1974), Alex Dobrov (born 1974), Alexander Lobanov (born 1975) and Valery Potkonen (born 1972). The group works out of Moscow. Bluesoup works almost exclusively with digital animations, and they are a big part of the reason that videoart has such a high standing in Russian contemporary art. Bluesoup has participated in the First Moscowbiennial for contemporary art, Russia at New York Guggenheim and Angels of History, Post Sovjet Art at MOMA in Antwerpen, TATE Modern London etc. In The Russians are Coming! Bluesoup Group shows three different video animations: Echelon, Defence and The Blizzard.
Alexander Brodsky was born in 1955 in Moscow, Russia where he still works. Brodsky works with installations and sculptures. He is also an architect and has his own architecture firm. In his artistry architecture and art blend together in a way that rooms and buildings create a magical atmosphere. In The Russians are Coming! Alexander Brodsky shows a new, specific work.
Sara Edström was born in 1968 in Luleå, where she lives and works. Edström mostly works with sculptures and is infatuated in the long processes and casting that is required to work with bronze, plaster, composite and more.
Bengt Frank was born 1951 in Boden, Sweden. Bengt Frank was raised in a military family where both the father and the older brother were officers. An upbringing that influenced his artistry. Frank is an artist that looks for meaning: His images are filled with symbols and signs. Frank is creating a specific work for The Russians are Coming! with the starting point in an old military group photo where his father is one in the multitude of faces.
Jan Kaila was born in 1957 in Jomala, Finland and is now based in Helsinki, Finland. Since 2004 Kaila also works as a professor in artistic science at Konsthögskolan in Helsinki. Kaila stages his photographies and then adds lyrics, moving images and objects in the exhibitions. In The Russians are Coming! Jan Kaila shows a rework of the work 150 Russian Objects, about a village 20 km east of Helsinki that became rRussian territory with 50 000 Russians moving in from the year 1945. In 1956 the Sovjet returned the village to Finland and the 8 000 Finnish people that evacuated could return home, an occurence rarely spoken about in Finland.
Jens Olov Lasthein was born 1964 in Sweden and grew up in Denmark. Lasthein works as a freelance photographer. In The Russians are Coming! he shows his big project White Sea Black Sea consisting of 36 photographies. For 20 years Lasthein has traveled between two seas – the White and the Black – and crossed the countries that used to be behind the so called Iron Curtain; Russia, Rumania, Moldova, Lithuania and Belarus among others.
Diana Machulina was born 1981 in Lugansk, Ukraine. Today she is based in Moscow, Russia. Diana Machulina brings an element of the irrational into the commonplace that the viewer sees when they pay attention to the artists work. The viewer starts to suspect that there is a more complicated plan for the world that what is obvious. In 2009 she recieved the prestigious Kandinsky award. Machulina is creating a new work for The Russians are Coming! called Architecture of Russian Capitalism.
Fredrik Wretman was born 1953. He lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. Wretman works with projections, reflections and mirroring; concepts that often appear in psychoanalysis. The problems presented often concern questions such as: Is the surface superficial? Is the deep deep? Does the mirror hide the truth or reveal it? What is happening at the bottom of the Baltic Sea? Nothing is what it seems.