Art exhibition in University Park
For the fifth time, Akademiska Hus, the largest property company in Sweden, has invited students from Sweden’s academies of art to decorate University Park. The ‘Permanence’ art exhibition was inaugurated on Friday.
Nine exciting new works join the 17 previous works among the grass, trees, and ponds.
Within several weeks it will be decided which of the artists will receive a scholarship of SEK 50,000 (EUR 5,470) from Akademiska Hus.
One of the young artists who contributed a sculpture is Carl Fredrik Hellström, a senior at Konstfack, the largest university college of arts, crafts and design in Sweden.
“It felt great to be asked if I wanted to be part of this. It’s the first time any of my work has been publicized like this.”
Hellström created a tree called Arbor Vitae. The tree is part of a story about a man named Max Ros, whom Hellström works with. While Max is out in the forest, a strange plant suddenly transports him to a magical place – the Inner Forest. There he meets Arbor Vitae, the Tree of Life, which gives him an important task; to restore ecological balance. Despite the tree being quite powerful, humanity has caused too much damage to nature for the tree to be able to handle this by itself.
“From then on, Max is the spokesman for the tree, and in turn I am, in a way, the spokesman for both the tree and Max,” Hellström says.
The concrete sculpture represents the bark of Arbor Vitae, and at its base ivy and woodbine grows. The idea is that it will gradually surround the trunk and create new life.
“There are several symbols woven into the sculpture; symbols for life, like the seven branches, and the apple shape,” Hellström says.
The schools each choose two students whom they think are suited to the task of producing work for the park. Following the exhibition, Akademiska Hus usually buys a number of them every year and retains them as permanent works.
“Soon it’ll be like Wanås (a well-known sculpture park in Skåne),” says Bengt Erlandsson, former regional director at Akademiska Hus East.
“We buy the sculptures that feel right in the park and which we feel will hold up over time. I’m really enamoured of many of them.”
For 15 years, Erlandsson held the reins concerning artistic decoration in University Park. Every other year ‘Permanence’ is held, and every year in between a work from an established artist is bought.
Last year the Berlin-based artist Tilda Lovell was approached, but her ‘Fauna’ wasn’t placed in time since the frost came early last year. So Lovell’s work was also unveiled in connection with this year’s exhibition.
“I created a two-legged dog looking at a stump. He has a mop for a tail, and the dog seems to be made out of the same bark as the stump,” Lovell says.
She leaves up to the viewer to determine the symbolism.
“But I can certainly say that the dog, in one aspect, is looking at itself. The idea is for the viewer to sit on the stump; the dog is then at eye level and they look at each other. The stump has clear rings, which is a reflection on life and death,” Lovell says.
Bengt Erlandsson is quite pleased with this year’s work, even if a certain sadness lies over the year’s event for him as this is his last year as regional head.
“However I hope that the tradition will continue and that University Park continues to be an artistic experience.”
Intro image: Many people want to put on Kristina Lindberg’s ‘Unwilling Sculpture’.
Picture 1: Helena Piippo Larsson’s sculpture “Decoration” is jewellery for a tree, a giant necklace of disco balls.
Picture 2: “Arbor Vitae” and the artist, Carl Fredrik Hellström.
Picture 3: “Fauna”, with artist Tilda Lovell.
Picture 4: Bengt Erlandsson, former regional director at Akademiska Hus East.
Last updated: 2011-10-04