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In the City Grows a Field    

50 artists in Malmö 1.10 2022–15.1 2023

This fall, Malmö Konsthall opens one of its largest group exhibitions in later years, featuring Malmö-based artists and the city’s dynamic art scene. The exhibition In the City Grows a Field contains works by 50 artists from different generations showcasing many artistic expressions. This teeming and rich presentation reflects art’s tenacity and integrity and the collective forces that create unique conditions for artists to work in Malmö.

The exhibition reflects the dynamic energy of the city, its attraction for artists to move to Malmö and stay there, the tenacity and integrity of art, and its network of alternative and artist-run exhibition spaces. The collective forces that create the conditions for artists to work in Malmö are highlighted: a unique collegial, artistic, and organizational situation that creates ripples on the water outside the city’s borders and the established art institutions.

In the City Grows a Field is a teeming and rich presentation with artists from different generations, working in different media and with various artistic practices. It is a meeting place for the different alternative scenes and collectives that exist in the city and its audiences. The exhibition includes a multitude of techniques; painting, sculpture, and photography, installations and conceptual works, as well as political and social works.

The collective as an artistic practice is highlighted in the work ON-HOLD which includes about 20 artists in addition to the artist and initiator Johan Nahoj. With In the City Grows a Field, Malmö Konsthall takes a comprehensive approach to how to reflect the city’s art scene as well as how to expand the format and practice of making an exhibition. The exhibition spans over time and generations and includes artists born in the 1940s as well as the 1990s.

The exhibition is curated by the Director of Malmö Konsthall Mats Stjernstedt and curators Asrin Haidari, Emily Fahlén, and Elena Tzotzi, carried out with support from the Swedish Arts Council and The Society for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage and Green Parks in Malmö.

→ The exhibition is accompanied by 5 events staged by Moloid A…

Anna Andersson, Marianne Andersson Embäck, Sergio Augusto, Kah Bee Chow, Anita Christoffersson, Lars Embäck, Zardasht Faraj, Carola Grahn, Astrid Göransson, Sigrid Holmwood, Bo Hylander, Torsten Hylander, Andreas Johansson, Cia Kanthi, Tamara de Laval, LealVeileby, Iman Mohammed, Johan Nahoj, Mariella Otto, Rasmus Ramö Streith, Samaneh Roghani, Julia Selin, Magnus Thierfelder Tzotzis, Jonelle Twum, Thale Vangen, Charlotte Walentin, Amin Zouiten, Jon Åkerlind.

Participating artists in Johan Nahojs work On-hold are Kah Bee Chow, Petter Dahlström Persson, Nils Ekman, Mattias Eliasson, Ingrid Furre, Helen Haskakis, Ingvild Hovland Kaldal, Ingela Ihrman, EB Itso, Gabriel Karlsson, Johan F Karlsson, Ellinor Lager, Youngjae Lih, Ariadna Mangrané, Marcus Matt, Jennifer Myerscough, David Nilson, Olof Nimar, Joana Pereira, Jennifer Sameland, Joakim Sandqvist, Selma Sjöstedt och Matti Sumari.

Emily Fahlén, Asrin Haidari, Elena Tzotzi and Mats Stjernstedt

Malmö is a fantastic city for art. This exhibition aims to tell the story of what is happening in the art scene of Malmö – right now – with the help of the artists who work tirelessly in it. Born between the 1940s and 1990s, they are all active in Malmö’s art scene and work with a wide range of expressions. Fifty artists participate and bring to the exhibition a shared belief in art as something indispensable. Many of them have experienced both success and quiet periods over the years, but their work with art has continued regardless. Some have only just started.

There are conditions that influence the specificity of art in a city. How the field is allowed to grow. In Malmö, the scene is characterised by a self-organised tradition where studio collectives and artist-run exhibition spaces create unique conditions and collegial contexts in which to participate. The breadth of these small-scale initiatives set this city apart – not only in a Swedish context but also internationally. We can call them supportive structures, long-standing and temporary arrangements where art is given a collegial meaning and where new ideas are tested. At the time of writing, these places include Alta Art Space, Canopy, Celsius Projects, Digitaliseum, Galleri CC, Galleri Format, Galleri Ping-Pong, Galleri Rostrum, Malmö Open Studios, Molekyl Gallery, Plattform KcSyd, Signal – Center for Contemporary Art, Skånes konstförening, Whose Museum, the studio associations Addo, Borrgatan, Sulfur, Alta and Vista, and the collective workshops, among others. These independent cultural spaces have historically also been a pivotal feature of the art scene. Maintaining a collective sense of community takes hard work and perseverance, it is a balancing act that is hard to pull off. That effort includes managing ongoing relationships of varying kinds, among the people within the local community and with external interests (such as a rise in rent costs, a threat of demolition, urban transformation or safety concerns). Several of the artists in the exhibition share a common engagement in these initiatives, and they balance the time needed to maintain their network of colleagues with the time invested in working on their own art practice. This is a strength we want to incorporate into the exhibition.

But equally the exhibition is a collection of the work of individual artists who are characterized by independence, daring and resolve. Out of this collective emerges a situation that resounds through the song of a tree, whispers in the cardboard boxes and tinkles to the beat of an apple-shaped instrument. The exhibition is populated by mothers, fathers, demons, angels and autonomous friends. The sacred is present, and so is death. From carefully wrought matter, links are established across a blue-green space.

The exhibition In the City Grows a Field is the result of a collaboration between the four of us curators, but it has also been shaped through the voices and proposals of others. In a new piece called ON-HOLD produced specifically for the exhibition, artist Johan Nahoj creates a context to feature works by twenty-three invited fellow artists, and through a programme staged by the artist duo Moloid A… the content of the exhibition expands through poetry, discussions and happenings. Curator Jari Malta writes a letter from Malmö, and the organisation Helamalmö hosts the opening party. A polyphony of expressions, voices and experiences convey a strong belief in art and a desire to share that passion with others – with us and with you.

Pastellig målning av flicka som tittar genom en vit rektangel. Någon annan håller rektangeln framför hennes ansikte.
Marianne Andersson Embäck, Autonoma kamrater II, 2014.
Färglad teckning i krita av abstrakt form som liknar en trappa eller båge.
Jennifer Sameland, Dumpad på nyårsafton, 2018-2019.
Photo: Andreas Larsson
Svartvit bild av ett textilt konstverk med flera kvinnor som ser ut att demonstrera eller ropar något.
Samaneh Roghani, Perpetual Ultimatum, 2022.