28 January, 2010

Guido van der Werve opening

Stu & I go to quite a few openings at galleries here in Stockholm. Like I mentioned, almost any Thursday, you can bet there is something going on arts-related, whether film, photography, contemporary art or music. And there is nearly always free wine, which is no small part of how I get Stu to accompany me.

I thought maybe once in a while it might be interesting to note what we've seen here. Maybe not a full-scale review, but it'd serve me to remember what artists we have checked out and what they were showing, and might be a change of scene for those less connected to Stockholm art happenings. And maybe a note of some upcoming, so that if you do live in Stockholm, you too can take advantage of free wine and culture. In the last week or two, we have been to several interesting shows, but last night is the one I remember most clearly, so thats the one you get here, today.

The spring season at Bonniers Konsthall opened last night. Its a relatively big konsthall, privately owned and funded by the mega-giant Bonniers publishing house. It is actually attached to the Bonniers building in Vasastan, so it is incredibly convenient for us. Their last show, Livsformer, was super, and I am sorry if you missed it.

Bonniers is doing a series of artists' films this spring, while a traditional exhibition will be hung in February. Last night's film was by Guido van der Werve, a Dutch film artist, called Nummer zes: Steinway grand piano, wake me up to go to sleep and all the colors of the rainbow. The artist was on hand last night to give an introductory talk, but we made it too late to get a decent seat or view or even really hear the guy. Next time.

But the film was really quite cool, if maybe confusing (especially since they just loop the film, and we popped into the theater right in the middle.) van der Werve shows a series of haunting, lonely shots of himself in various places, obviously deep in thought, recalling that he has lived his life surrounded in black & white. An inserted voice-over (in English) recounts the history of the Steinway & Sons piano business. I learned quite a bit about the music world's most respected piano company. For example, did you know that the company is responsible for over 100 hundred piano-related patents, some of which revolutionized the piano-making industry? After an interview on camera with a Steinway salesman (yes, it costs over 17.000 euros) the artist leaves with a different kind of resolution, like he has a mission.
You then watch in horror as a crane attempts to lift a giant, expensive-looking grand piano into an impossibly tiny Dutch window. The artist proceeds to cram an entire symphony orchestra, all with instruments, and an audience into the smallest apartment ever. Where they play Chopin. You then watch, again in agony, as a crane lifts the same giant, heavy, not cheap piano back out of the window and on the the street below. All that remains in his apartment is a rainbow through the window, and you see he got a little color in his life. Happy endings. Unless, of course, that piano was repossessed.

That film we be showing for the next 2 weeks, and another will take its place.

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