Magazine article Artforum International

Henrik Hakansson: Moderna Museet/Index

Magazine article Artforum International

Henrik Hakansson: Moderna Museet/Index

Article excerpt

These two exhibitions amounted to the first substantial showing in Stockholm by one of Sweden's best-known younger artists. Henrik Hakansson's exhibition at the Riddarhuset was part of a series organized by Moderna Museet in various venues throughout Sweden while the museum building on Stockholm's Skeppsholmen Island is temporarily closed. Index, continuing its process-oriented approach, showed Hakansson's recent audio piece Nightingale Love Two Times, 2002, next to a new work developed in collaboration with local ornithologists.

Both presentations were experimental, but in different ways. Installing contemporary video-based art in a baroque palace is quite unexpected for Stockholm and adds "richness" to the work. Hakansson says he doesn't really differentiate between specialized art venues and other spaces but looks only for a pronouncedly cultural environment for showing his nature-based work. This particular interior brought out new nuances for reading the artist's intentions, modulating both content and formal presentation, overwhelming the atmosphere of privacy and direct, unsanitized contact with the work that you would expect from a modern art space. Even the smell of dust and the limited visiting hours added to this sensation. A piece like Flight of the Bumblebee, 2002, came across as strongly illusionist, with slowed-down and blown-up footage of the flying insect projected on the ceiling, which seemed to open up directly onto the sky.

At Index, on the other hand, the viewer encountered a clean art-context display, which facilitated a more "neutral" look and at the same time underlined Hakansson's extensive collaborations with partners outside the world of art. The intriguing and simple Because the Night (Luscinia luscinia), 2003, shown for the first time here, consists of slowed-down black-and-white footage of a nightingale singing in a bush. …

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