Henrik Samuelsson — Speaking in Tongues at Shitty Hotels


Mixed media

Henrik Samuelsson
Speaking in Tongues at Shitty Hotels

Past: November 24, 2011 → January 7, 2012

A conversation between Donatien Grau and Jan Åman after visiting Henrik Samuelsson’s studio.

DG: What really struck me when you invited me to visit Henrik Samuelsson’s studio was this feeling that a world was reaching its end. In a way, it made me think of eschatology. But at the same time there was this very “Swedish” element in his work related to this place where he grew up. How would you see the relation between this “Swedishness” and that eschatology?"

JÅ: I happen to know that part of northern Sweden really well since my father was born there. Back then it was still prosperous with active industries. But today it has turned into a remote emptiness. People have left, except for some elderly and people that are sent up there from the big cities with drug problems so severe that they are no longer wanted in the urban context. It is simply a Swedish Siberia and a Swedish version of the general European crisis. From an artistic point of view it can be turned into energy. Marina Fokidis has turned the greek crisis into an alternative collective energy in Athens — which is possible in an urban context. In Samuelsson’s paintings we see the opposite: the emptiness of the de-urbanized region. It is the backside of the global urbanization. I guess it is even more evident in China or parts of Africa. I am intrigued by the artistic results of this crisis — what about you?

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