2018 Review

January 2, 2019

This year has mostly been dominated by the work with the Entitled series. The idea was the first one I started working with this year. It was an ambitious project and the original plan was to only do some of the works now and then and to leave it open if I ever were going to be able to finish it. The first exhibition in 2018 was Gjøvik Kunstforening at the end of March. I had only made the first four of the Entitled series by then, but I decided to let them be the main works for the show anyway. It was a small but functional gallery space in an old building at the centre of Gjøvik. There was a lot of snow but I managed to transport the works and install them without problems. I met artist Elise Gegauff who also exhibited at the same time. The opening was very nice with a good crowd.

 

Gjøvik Kunstforening

 

 

Even though I sent in an application to the Arts Council for project support I didn't have much hope of receiving it. But I did. Not as much as I applied for but enough for materials. So I could actually start to produce all of them. It took me the whole summer.

But before that, I was part of Oslo Open at my studio for the first time. That was very nice and I sold one of the Entitled works, which complicated my plans a bit because I wanted to show and document the whole suite in September. I decided to either borrow the works back for that or produce some extra "stand-ins".

Before I could finish the series I had a big exhibition at Galleri Jessheim, that is run by Ullensaker Kunstforening. This was in June. Ceramics Ruta Pakarklyte (with whom I exhibited last year at Nesodden) and Sofie Nørsteng were also exhibiting but because they only used the floor I had a lot of wall space. The gallery is quite big. I had made eight works in the Entitled series by then (minus the one I sold) but also several other new works that I was happy to show - the title work Always Already, the two Fjord paintings and the big Chewing Gum work. For the opening, I had prepared a speech that was rather political. It was good to articulate that aspect of my work, even though it made me nervous.

 

Galleri Jessheim/Ullensaker Kunstforening

 

 

In August I was part of a group show titled Att Låta Det Obetydliga Tala (to let the insignificant speak) at Konsthallen Lokstallet in Strömstad, Sweden. It was curated by Yngve Brothén, the head of Lokstallet, and the other artist were Erland Brand, Malin Ida Eriksson, Jenny Magnusson and Lars-Göran Nilsson. This felt like a big deal for me. It was the first time I ever was invited to be part of something like this. It made me even happier that it was in Sweden. I had tried to show my work in my old country for some time without success. Strömstad is also the city where my parents live, or rather in Koster, an island outside of it, where I used to spend my summers when I grew up.
I had hoped to show works from the Entitled series, but Yngve chose other works. It was an interesting experience to have the works transported and installed by someone else than me.
The opening was very fun with music and performance. My parents and some friends of them attended and my friend Ebba Moi travelled with me from Oslo. Afterwards, we went out for beers together with Malin, her boyfriend and Peter Uhr, who I knew from before because he lives part-time in Koster but also works at the gallery.

 

Konsthallen Lokstallet

 


Next exhibition was at Drøbak Kunstforening in September. By then I had the first 22 in the series finished, so I simply showed them divided between the many rooms at the beautiful gallery, which was located in an over hundred years old spa just by the sea. I exhibited together with Anette Krogstad, a ceramic who sells her work to a lot of famous restaurants, and I sold another one of the Entitled works.
Hanan Benammar and Mattias Cantzler came along and we went to the gallery using the ferry from Oslo.

 

Drøbak Kunstforening

 

 

Immediately after that, I had to go to Konsthallen Trollhättan for the second instalment of Att Låta Det Obetydliga Tala. It was really fun to see the show in a different setting. The gallery was much bigger and modern. The walls were painted light grey, which made my work look good. We got to spend the nite at a good hotel and after the opening, we had beers at the hotel bar. Me, Malin and Lars-Göran decided to try to continue the collaboration and apply for more exhibitions together.

 

Konsthallen Trollhättan

 

 

When the show in Drøbak ended I transported the works out to Fredrikstad and Projektrom Helium which I had rented for a couple of weeks. I used it to document the whole Entitled suite which I finally had finished, and also some other bigger works. I had a public viewing one day in connection to an event at Heliumfabrikken. I was nice with quite a few people coming by and it was really good to see the series as a whole.

 

Prosjektrom Helium

 

 

In November I made one last show with the Entitled works at Surnadal Billag. It is an art space and residency run by my former professor Jon-Arne Mogstad. It was a long drive but the venue is fantastic, and I got to install them in bigger groups which were interesting. I also showed a couple of other works.

 

Surnadal Billag

 

 

The last thing I did this year was to participate in Vandalerforeningens and Hanan Benammars annual event Winter Solstice - Poems to Orpheus. I did a kind of a workshop where the public could participate in my project Pledges. The participants wrote a pledge at the back on one of my frames, and then they would draw a line in the wet filler to "seal" the pledge. Afterwards, I finished the works which will be exhibited in my next show at Det Gule Hus in Asker.

 

 

 

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Johan Söderström | Grenseveien 9b, Oslo, Norway | t. +47 41 355 355 | jodsoderstrom@gmail.com

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