Who is sleeping on my pillow
“Mamma builds houses, Jockum inhabits them. She gathers, he hunts.”
– Paolo Colombo
David Zwirner is pleased to present Who is sleeping on my pillow, two concurrent solo exhibitions by Swedish artists Mamma Andersson and Jockum Nordström. After spending half their lives together while maintaining separate practices, this is the first time they have
This is Mamma Andersson’s second exhibition at the gallery (her U.S. debut was at David Zwirner in 2006), and Jockum Nordström’s fifth. Known for her complex, multilayered subjects that converge between domestic interiors and Nordic landscapes, Andersson will present all new paintings. From Nordström, on view will be collages, other works on paper, and sculptures made of cardboard and matchboxes. Also featured will be two collaborative works, Sleepwalkers and Wetland, both from 2010. In these two-sided works on paper, Andersson has created lush color washes on the back, while Nordström has collaged the front with figures of people, animals, and trees.
Andersson’s paintings embody a duality that is central to Swedish culture: the interplay of rural and urban aesthetics, combined with the notion of the everyday. Her lineage is tied to French painters, Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) and Jean-Édouard Vuillard (1868-1940), both known for depicting intimate domestic spaces and luminous pastoral landscapes and gardens. Inspired by filmic imagery, theater sets, period interiors, and her native land where summers are short and winters are long, Andersson’s compositions and moody atmospheres suggest ambiguous narratives that are both familiar and incongruous. In her new work, scenes include a wet and wintery forest, hunched workers in a field, possible acquaintances gathered around a table, empty yet comfortable kitchens and hallways, a sleeping figure (in a painting that gives the exhibition its title). Her paintings also address materiality and the play of light and color, as her seductive, muted, and high-contrast palette is applied with both airy textured washes and thickly rendered brushstrokes.
The new works by Nordström are all made of paper, in both two and three-dimensions. Delicately and elegantly constructed, the artist’s collages, watercolors, graphite drawings, and architectural sculptures feel improvisational and spontaneous, yet rich in detail. The two-dimensional works read like storyboards, and he has often referred to them as “stills,” where all the action takes place simultaneously in a frozen frame. His imaginative tableaux-like environments appear as fantastical settings populated with unique figures, animals, architecture, furniture, musical instruments, and other props, all varying in scale and coexisting harmoniously. In interviews, he has referenced influences ranging from the German Renaissance painter, Lucas Cranach the Elder, to the late-19th-century Belgian artist, James Ensor, but also Nils Nilsson Skum (1895-1951), a Laplander artist and nomadic reindeer herder; Primus Moritmer Petterson (1895-1975), originally a sailor, he started to paint after suffering from mental illness; and Storm P. (1882-1949), a Danish cartoonist. Presented in Nordström’s latest work is an assorted community of characters seemingly from different eras, including primitive hunters on horseback, jazz musicians, 18th-century dandies, and a couple on a sleigh ride in a scene reminiscent of a traditional Victorian Christmas.
On the occasion of the exhibition at David Zwirner, the artists have collaborated on a major new publication, designed by their son Valentin Nordström. Conceived as part traditional monograph, part artists’ book, and part personal archive, this highly original commemorative catalogue showcases their work from the late 1980s to the present day. Included are over 200 full-color plates, including the most recent works
(all from 2009 and 2010) being exhibited in New York, in addition to intimate family snapshots and inspirational source images. Who is sleeping on my pillow includes essays and poems by Paolo Colombo, Anders Krüger, and Stig Claesson, along with an interview between Nordström and his close friend, the artist Marcel Dzama.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Mamma Andersson (born 1962, Luleå) and Jockum Nordström (born 1963, Stockholm) currently live and work in Stockholm.
From December 2010 to February 2011, Andersson will be the subject of an exhibition at the Aspen Art Museum in Aspen, Colorado. This will be her first solo museum exhibition in the United States. Her recent exhibitions include a critically acclaimed mid-career survey at Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden, which traveled to Taidehalli Kunsthalle, Helsinki and Camden Arts Center, London; Grafikens Hus, Mariefred, Sweden; and the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin. She was included in the exhibition Devil May Care at the Nordic Pavilion at the 2003 Venice Biennale, and in 2006 she was the recipient of the Carnegie Art Award, with a corresponding exhibition, which traveled extensively through Europe. In the United States, her work is in the collection of the Dallas Museum of Art; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and in Sweden, Göteborgs Konstmuseum; Malmö Konstmuseum; and Moderna Museet, Stockholm.
From November to December 2010, Nordström will have a solo exhibition at the Douglas Hyde Gallery in Dublin. His recent exhibitions
include A Stick in the Wood at Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden; Diptych: Jockum Nordström and Mindy Shapero at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio; and the group exhibition (with William Kentridge and Kara Walker) In Praise of Shadows at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, which then traveled to the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art and the Benaki Museum, Athens. Like
Andersson, Nordström was also the recipient of the Carnegie Art Award (2002), with a corresponding traveling exhibition. In the United States, his work is in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and in Sweden, Göteborgs Konstmuseum; Magasin 3 Stockholm Kunsthall; and Moderna Museet, Stockholm.