Thursday, December 23, 2010

contemporary art in sweden?

We do not claim we have ever reached – and indeed we hardly ever tried to reach – some overview of swedish art, to see where the hell there might have been fresh imaginative-investigative reveries-interventions pursued in this particular sphere, this problematic sphere which to us seems more or less completely doomed and derailing-diverting as a place, but which obviously remains an area where many scattered impatient minds will go to pursue occasionally perfectly surrealist instincts, in the absence (or mere isolatedness and relative weakness) of large-scale integrative ludic-experimental-utopian projects that would frame and boost all creative compulsions in a more adequate context...

Instead we have just tried to memorise those somehow interesting artists who have crossed our path or caught our eye during the past 25 years, and often we've failed to do even that. A certain polemical lack of interest in art, simply to counter the still dominant confinement/misunderstanding of surrealism itself as being a tendency in art, has indeed usually kept our attention elsewhere.

But with a tool such as a blog, we could at least present without further commitment an imperfect list of such artists whose work at least somewhere has some such freshly disturbing aspect – or rather only of those websites (usually but not always personal ones) that may perhaps betray this (thus it is clearly not an exhaustive list of swedish artists who remain under serious or absentminded consideration whether we like their stuff, since many have little or none web presence or keep the most interesting sides secret).

This will inevitably be quite haphazard, there be old and young, schooled and raw, unknown and famous, professionals and notorious amateurs, most are brief and/or indirect acquaintances but a few are very good friends (or are our own). We will eventually turn out to be thoroughly mistaken about some of them, while we are not at all ashamed that we have missed numbers of perhaps interesting ones. Some we admire but some are just cases where we would like to emphasise or seriously suggest a perhaps not obvious surrealist aspect.

Kristina Abelli Elander

Tove Adman

Hawk Alfredson

John Andersson

Annan konst (Postfuturistiska sällskapet)

Nina Bondeson

Christofer Dahlby

Edvard Derkert


Anna-Stina Ehrenfeldt

Markus Ekeblad

Leif Elggren


Alan Friis


Maria Hagelby

Joakim Hansén

Jens Hedin


Martin Jacobson

Lisa Jonasson

Kolbeinn Karlsson

Rose-Marie Klintman

Jenny Källman

Monica Lehn-Domnick

Lars Lerin

Maria Lilja

Per-Ivar Lindekrantz

CM Lundberg (mobile blog) (official site)

Lars-Gösta Lundberg

Linda Lysell

Petra Mandal

Valeria Montti Colque

Iwo Myrin

Mia Mäkilä


Nicole Natri

Niklas Nenzén

Johan Nobell

Gabriella Novak

Åsa Nylén

Ulf Rahmberg

Gerald Steffe

Matti Steiger Lundmark

Natalie Sutinen

Uno Svensson

Bogdan Szyber & Carina Reich

Fredrik Söderberg

Otmar Thormann

Janie Varades Söderberg

Bo Veisland

Marcelo Videa

Kristoffer Zetterstrand

Emilie Östergren

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Renaissance Fountain


"In the parched path
I have seen the good lizard
(one drop of crocodile)

Lorca, from The Old Lizard

"I was sitting writing on my textbook, but the work did not progress; my thoughts were elsewhere. I turned my chair to the fire and dozed. Again the atoms were gamboling before my eyes...My mental eye, rendered more acute by the repeated visions of the kind, could now distinguish larger structures of manifold conformation; long rows sometimes more closely fitted together all twining and twisting in snake-like motion. But look! What was that? One of the snakes had seized hold of its own tail, and the form whirled mockingly before my eyes. As if by a flash of lightning I awoke..."

(Friedrich August Kekule relating (possibly cryptomnesiacally) his discovery of the chemical structure of the benzene molecule in 1864)

"It had no need of eyes, for there was nothing outside it to be seen; nor of ears, for there was nothing outside to be heard. There was no surrounding air to be breathed, nor was it in need of any organ by which to supply itself with food or to get rid of it when digested. Nothing went out from or came into it anywhere, for there was nothing. Of design it was made thus, its own waste providing its own food, acting and being acted upon entirely with and by itself, because its designer considered that a being which was sufficient unto itself would be far more excellent than one which depended upon anything."

Plato, from Timaeus, (The Construction of the World)

"This symbol appears principally among the Gnostics and is depicted as a dragon, snake or serpent biting its own tail. In the broadest sense, it is symbolic of time and the continuity of life. It sometimes bears the caption Hen to pan - 'The One, the All', as in the Codex Marcianus, for instance, of the 2nd century A.D. It has also been explained as the union between the chthonian principle as represented by the serpent and the celestial principal as signified by the bird (a synthesis which can also be applied to the dragon). Ruland contends this proves that it is a variant of the symbol for Mercury - the duplex god. In some versions of the Ouroboros, the body is half light and half dark, alluding in this way to the successive counterbalancing of opposing principls as illustrated in the Chinese Yin-Yang symbol for instance. Evola asserts that it represents the dissolution of the body, or the universal serpent which (to quote the Gnostic saying) 'passes through all things'. Poison, the viper and the universal solvent are all symbols of the undifferentiated-of the 'unchanging law' which moves through all things, linking them by a common bond. Both the dragon and the bull are symbolic antagonists of the solar hero. The Ouroboros biting its own tail is symbolic of self-fecundation, or the primitive idea of a self-sufficient Nature - a Nature, that is which, à la Nietzsche, continually returns, within a cyclic pattern, to its own beginning. There is a Venetian manuscript on alchemy which depicts the Ouroboros with its body half-black (symbolizing earth and night) and half-white (denoting heaven and light)."

Text from Project Ouroborus at the University of Minnesota

To illustrate that our size is midway between that of the Planck scale - the smallest possible size - and that of the observable universe Joel R Primack and Nancy Abrams introduce the Cosmic Ouroboros, a serpent swallowing its own tail.

Variable star V838 Monocerotis, photo by NASA

"The crocodile, which emerges silently and mysteriously from the waters of the lakes and river, could be likened to the primeval mound and was thus believed to embody the elemental powers of creation. Although a treacherous creature, it was considered a benefactor of the land, analogous to the Nile itself whose threatening floodwaters nonetheless ensured the perpetuity of life. Herodotus (writing in the fifth century BC) tells of our traditional belief in the elemental power of this beast and its ability to transform human beings into something approaching the divine:

'When anyone, be he Egyptian or stranger, is known to have been carted off by a crocodile or drowned by the river itself, such a one must by all means be embalmed and tended as fairly as may be and buried in a sacred coffin by the townsmen of the place where he is cast up; nor may his kinfolk or his friends touch him, but his body is deemed something more than human, and is handled and buried by the priests of the Nile themselves.'"

from introduction to Krokodilopolis (Per Sebek)

"How does the little crocodile

Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!
How cheerfully he seems to grin,
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!"

from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

"I have often," said Smee, "noticed your strange dread of crocodiles."
"Not of crocodiles," Hook corrected him, "but of that one crocodile." He lowered his voice. "It liked my arm so much, Smee, that it has followed me ever since, from sea to sea and from land to land, licking its lips for the rest of me."
"In a way," said Smee, "it's sort of a compliment."
"I want no such compliments," Hook barked petulantly. "I want Peter Pan, who first gave the brute its taste for me."
He sat down on a large mushroom, and now there was a quiver in his voice. "Smee," he said huskily, "that crocodile would have had me before this, but by a lucky chance it swallowed a clock which goes tick tick inside it, and so before it can reach me I hear the tick and bolt." He laughed, but in a hollow way.
"Some day," said Smee, "the clock will run down, and then he'll get you."
Hook wetted his dry lips. "Ay," he said, "that's the fear that haunts me."

from Peter Pan, by James M. Barrie

"In the Orphic tradition, "Time" was personified as one of the main protagonists of creation. The folk-etymological identification of Cronus with "Chronos" then allowed for an attractive metaphorical explanation of Cronus’ cannibalism: the story symbolically signified the way time "eats" or takes away all things it has earlier produced. /.../
Probably drawing on earlier Phoenician creation stories, the Orphics also envisioned "Time" in the form of a cosmic serpent winding itself around the universe. When the first astronomers began to model the universe as a sphere rotating on an axis, this serpent was linked with the outer circumference of the cosmos or with the ecliptic band. The ancient Near Eastern image of the ouroboros or tail-biting serpent, which had existed long before in Egypt, was then used to represent this cosmic serpent wound around the earth."

from Myth as Metaphor by Rens Van der Sluijs

"And when we fell together

all our flesh was like a veil

That I had to draw aside

to see the serpent eat its tail."

Leonard Cohen, from Last Year's Man

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Unfinished Works

"Sometimes it may happen that a speculative artist may, by his own eccentricity, think out for himself some new method in Alchemy, be the consequence anything or nothing. He need do nought in order to reduce something into nothing, and again bring back something out of nothing. Yet this proverb of the incredulous is not wholly false. Destruction perfects that which is good; for the good cannot appear on account of that which conceals it. The good is least good whilst it is thus concealed. The concealment must be removed that so the good may be able freely to appear in its own brightness. For example, the mountain, the sand, the earth, or the stone in which a metal has grown is such a concealment. Each one of the visible metals is a concealment of the other six metals."

Paracelsus - Coelum philosophorum

Paddling towards siren shores.

Collecting the yeast of urns from distant star-beaches.

Hurry love.

Not now, I am evaporating.

Famine! Famine!

Searching for warty toads at the bottom of the waters that flooded the summit in spring-time.

Getting out of the oyster bed (before the page).

Taking the dead end of metaphor.

I have made numerous pencil sketches that were abandoned before their ideas were outlined in their entirety or had grown to a full motive. On a whim I transferred some of these unfinished sketches more or less randomly from white papers to papers with structured backgrounds.

During this process it often happened that the "unfinishedness" as by magic was drastically removed from the visual appearance. Forms took up my hints and began to tell a story, or started to break down the motive. The ones showed here became alive to me. But since the sketches neither were properly "finished" according to my original thought nor deterred totally from what was vaguely intended to be there, I played around with the idea of expressing the process of transformation in terms of a "negation of the negation", or akin to how psychoanalysis manages to outline the structure of the unconscious by projecting the ideas of lack and desire upon it.

Because from this dialectic an agreeable analogy seem to present itself. Namely that the transformation of the images come to display features of the original "non-element" at another level of meaning. (From the Paracelsus quote, I even constructed the phrase "unconcealing the incomplete features" for the process, thereby alluding both to how the matter embedding the metal ores is removed and to the sense of precognition which is involved in creation.)

The new level of meaning referred to remains, I would think, qualitatively percieved as the artist´s familliar sense of animistic euphoria, as when the work suddenly becomes alive and other. But the further implication of this change is that the artist´s dethronement or removal is actually suggested, since the suspicion that "thought is flowing forth directly from material reality" begin to make its glorious claim. This gets me back to why the drawings were abandoned to begin with: it can often be very tedious to have do all the thinking, planning and manual labour for oneself.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Now available is Josie Malinowski's book West of Pure Evil (Oyster Moon) (available through Lulu and strongly recommended). There is no such a thing as an octopodiphilic sect and Josie Malinowski is not its high priestess. In order not to try to metonymically characterise the book through an allegedly representative quote of its quantitatively dominant sinister tales (o what a storyteller) and perverse nursery rhymes, we'll cite a seemingly traditionally surrealist poem:

A few years of the wasteland

She wouldn’t testify to the homicide but she did categorise my fish:

The ephemeral fish, a-wandering through the desert plains,

bleating like lost souls trying to find meaning in food.

‘If he has some, I’m having a canvas-bag full of horse shit’ one


and in agreement another leapt up and smacked a boy on the buttocks.

The boy stared on in pure bewilderment.

His mother, seeing the cacophony of evil brewing beneath the smiles

of merchant’s pimpled faces,

hauled his ruddy backside up and threw him in his cage

(shared with pet marsupials).

A trumpet sounded and the race began.

Thirty thousand eggs jumped on the backs of cockerels

and whipped them till a thick layer of cockroach skins

plastered the floor and made for poor footing.

Disappointed, three men clad in Hawaiian shirts took out their machetes

and started lopping off limbs at random.

The third, the cruellest and most arbitrary,

started with his own foot to show how serious he was,

and not more than three decades later the area known as Legland

was a haven for the more daring tourists

or those with a penchant for absolute schadenfreude:

pleasure at seeing one’s companion’s arm lopped off

as she holds out a peseta to a starving child.

The moon shone down orange on a beaten up tramp enjoying the

spectacle quietly

from a disused army bunker where he stored jars of blood

and nail clippings to sell to scientists for a small sum;

he was saving to buy a razor blade to slit his wrists

and jump into the nearby lake where they said paradise awaited those

who gave up their earthly bodies to it.

Having achieved his goal several weeks later the tramp,

far from the paradise he craved, was raised up on a dais on the sand,

pulled along by snakes driven by fire and fury,

destined to spin forever in a cloudy night.

It was 3 ‘o’ clock.

A haggard child crawled by on its belly calling ‘slaughter! slaughter!’

After this, nothing else was known – except that a few greasy slabs of

horse meat

were seen with a priest, fuelling the next great scandal,

which I’ll tell you about after supper.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ant hill chewing on a fence + Gravel in a pit

A sound and an object found in the same area during a walk in Stockholm 2010-07-09.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Yes the marble eyes

here the corner unfolds
for the horsemen in the narrower chamber
your glass jars

fish in gathered hands

for the mountain that yields to
the whole body's obsession

and the relics that raise their eyes
into sand

the stifling bushes in the room

yet still in the spine
the silent hanger, the pearls

translated by EL & Merl Fluin

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Drowned and the Inevitable

- Automatic horror movie soliloquy

Casual newsbreaks. Entities in waiting. Legitimacy calls. Crackdown. As if.

Dreams are about something. Casualties add up to it. Schools of fish being herded by the stars. Wait for daybreak. Do not touch the stones. Do not add water. Remove the bad tissue and do not follow the sparkles scuttling along. You have no idea. Do you want to talk about it?

When I was a small baby last week, there was a bad neighbor with good shoes. We had no idea what to sing, and it attracted a colony of guillemots. Crabs were sticking to nightmares, fieldtrips gathered in other lunchbags, and none of us ever went to school again. That's how I remember it. It might be just a story to you.

The last time I saw that wooden statue, I couldn't refrain from yelling at it. And for all that time, not a single cloud darkened the sky. A goose with two heads. A fairytale with a long fermented tail. Agony will please us. Just get on with the chores. No one will see these droplets. We will all be able to sleep sweetly.

Being told that there is an answer to that pain. We didn't expect anyone to emerge from the woods so soon. There was a fine mist, that's all. Looking down from the treetops. Not knowing. It is a craven bridge and it is running high. A fit of cramps and it all crumbles. It is all just a particular kind of bird. I have no wish to remain alone here. We wouldn't be anything but similar ghosts in this shade. Matter has a fragrance of lemon and seafood. We are encircled by scrapings.

Crabs running down the trunks. Please open this particular door.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Biting splenic flexure

Some lockjawed angel who breathes through a tube
found a baby in a limekiln just a hand’s span from Sodom.

All the mums and dads and grans and uncles
clamoured to know how the trick was done.

Trip wires, rabbits or geomancy
or the insertion of eels into intimate combat,

little fangs biting the slackjawed angel
whose pelvis was crushed beneath the wheels of the sun.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

John Andersson: There's a nightly rainbow

John Andersson:

There's a nightly rainbow

(from Lucifer, 2000)


In her brown whale eye

I see the corners pack off

Through the whirling world

Through the articles


There's a nightly rainbow

A few can see

And by it's end

lies a golden farm

In the farm there's a man

Trembling in a web

Hold up your lantern

He's completely dry

Lift up his hand

From the table dust

And read the words

Written on a case


In the sky shines a moon

Radiating bloomy ways

I can see no bone to pick

Nothing in the wind


The text above was lifted from the recently updated digital poetry archive of the surrealist group of Stockholm. The image at the top by J A is titled ”John Andersson ser på valar”.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Book launch, Saturday 12th June

Saturday 12th June
Izzy Young Folklore Centrum
Wollmar Yxkullsgatan 2

Organica Fläktrum
published by Styx

The Reality Binge Trick
published by Head Louse Press

Hydrolith: Surrealist Research & Investigations
published by Oyster Moon Press

Monday, May 3, 2010


The sparky man! Yes, he's so sparky. He's positively crackling. You know what I heard? There was this one time when he was supposed to be telling the children all about inorganic chemistry. I don't know why, it was something to do with the weather or the alignment of limbs or the dog star or whatever. Anyway, apparently he went all the way to the captain's quarters to steal the charts, right, because he didn't really know anything about inorganic chemistry but he knew that the captain had hidden a crib sheet inside one of the sea charts. But he stole the wrong charts and when he opened them up all this sticky stuff started pouring out! Imagine! It was all on his clothes and everything, LOL! That's not the point, though, anyway, the point is that he didn't have the right charts, and all the children were waiting, and all the mums and dads were there, and some of the mums were pushing pushchairs, you know, with big heaps of shiny tin cans piled up in the pushchair seats, with all the labels taken off. So you had to open the can to find out what was in it. So he started waffling and making things up, talking about tripods and bunsen burners and how the earth was at the centre of the sun, just whatever, and while he was talking he was sort of shuffling over to the pushchairs, and then he started rummaging around amongst the cans, still talking about magma and the universe and the galactic ice storm that had conjured all the stars into the Milky Way like ice crystals conjured into trees, and he kept on rummaging until he pulled out this one tin can that was all kind of blown out at the sides. I mean whatever was in there, meat or fish or whatever, I don't know, but that can was so old or had got so overheated from the sun or whatnot that whatever was in there must have been RANK and all the gas was trying to get out from inside the can and it was all blown up like a pregnant sea horse. And he slipped that can into his jacket pocket, still talking about iron ore and Sumatra and the boiling sulphur springs on the moon, and slipped off his jacket as if he was suddenly too hot, sweaty, needed to cool off, and then suddenly, WHAM, spinning his jacket round above his head, with that tin can still in the pocket, and spun it round and round and let go so that it flew off up into the sky, and then it fell back down and hit the blackboard at the front of the room, and the tin can exploded and the jacket caught fire and thousands and thousands of scorpions poured out and started running around everywhere. That's what I heard, anyway, from Nicola's mum, and her boyfriend's dad was there and saw it with his own eyes. And that's why the call him the sparky man, because he loves lightning so much that he has a big burn mark right down one side of his chest.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Forensic taxonomy

Crops shattering
as if downright nevertheless, in a tumbleweed scenario forgetting whom to benefit, and as if it was in those pages in those sullen despair of dictation fortnights subtle countermeasures not in such an open scenery - look don't look there might not be someone there to reproach you, and you might simmer starlings for the weight of your inanimate bloodshed, and intimidating maggots, though not of madness shed and not of simplemindedness ordered around to the tablecloth and its ultimate corner in the serrated latitudes,
none there to supervise, mortuary gamewise sampled, teaspoon of solicitude, dropped into this marble as if by coarse-ground sector schematics, I had never alotted fairways this scrambled crayfish and laughter housewise, forcefully reproaching the guidelines and crumbling the sacks of necessities hidden in a candlestick,
not knowing how thereby the life of scallops and their shallow tendrils approach the intimacy of gathered nestlings,
not at all, not a single bloodshed to this fortunate essay of lost moments and cough syrup,
had we only been fastened by this atrocity or another and seen or not seen voracity take another direction in history-

(in the comprehensive program of automatism exercises, somebody had suggested writing an automatic text drunk.)

(Byssus threads which might illustrate the "tendrils of scallops")

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cutlery ethnology

Dream suggestion: Some groups of people have developed the skills of eating using four or five chopsticks in their left hand, which resembles a bird's nest or more specifically imitates "Aristotle's lantern" (the chewing apparatus of sea urchins). They themselves prefer to liken it to the beak of a squid, which it does not resemble. It is however remarkably apt for both crushing and peeling shrimp.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tree geometry

As if non-seeing promises would have benefitted from such doubts and dashes and the skies were nothing but illustrious, clear and wasted, and there would have been nothing to carry on, except in modern snowflakes, or the carcasses of beloved machines, and no seven wholehearted ash-carriers climbing the strange ladders; it might all have been a pathway to hinterlands of sycomore barriers as well; water could not be carried there, stones would assume other meanings, neighbors offered their necks and turtles went mad; as did we all but fell asleep and spilled our effort in the grand bathtub of inertia.

(english-language automatic text saturday morning; such exercises are not often seen here but now part of a collective project; what if we were to continuously post such inconclusive outbursts and really populate the desert in a dalinian sense, o noise and vanity)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Polytheism of the Imagination

Some Local Deities

Some local Deities, painting by Niklas Nenzén

So she walked on the burning before she took her shoulder's narrow road, a lone chameleon and what she wore on her head. A basket of sticks bent by the wind. And eternity was just one of those ordinary thin cloud streaks.

No one saw who attacked whom either. With only a bark of surprise and a rotten smell, like the return of discarded fruit. For they had succeeded.

It was not even a real party, just a frequent meeting which everyone, for once, could attend. And they had just begun to move slowly, towards the evening. Even though those in the city thought otherwise, they would meet them at night.

/ Emma Lundenmark

The First Sighting of the Lone Chameleon

Polytheists of the imagination are known for trying to support and give in to the temptation to perform heathen rituals in honor of gods of which we know nothing more than we can imagine.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'

Jacques Rigaut on his anchor-clef draisine, wearing a brick suit "to endure the heat".

The drawing above represents a dream-interpretation of the following actual form, which was seen in a photo of a café interior, and which was interpreted as a seahorse (by me) and as Krazy Kat (by JB):

Foto: Peter Bigestans

The dream-idea seems to retain the seahorseness as well as incorporate the brick-theme of K.K.

/Niklas Nenzén

Monday, February 8, 2010

Satan´s Apple: Mythollywood Re-Revisited

About one year ago the surrealist group of Stockholm engaged themselves briefly in a dicussion about one´s mythological apprehension of characters from the realm of popular cinema.

A survey, a text, some scanty response and examplifications were produced, but since then not much has happened and the project has inadvertently been put to rest.

For my part, one of the examples from this discussion was later epitomized visually and will be presented here, along with the mythological interpretation.

/ NN

Satan´s Apple

Clint Eastwood's early western movies predestined him for incarnating the archetype of The Hanged Man in cinema; someone who by capitulating to the cyclical processes has attained a calm, wise and vacuous personality, fit for the audience´s inflated projections.

Beneath the actor´s mask he may additionally touch something imbecile beyond good and evil, since his role characters - much like his fellow-hanged-man Odin in Norse mythology - often seem to strike their enemies with the impersonal zealousness and precision of a discretely working natural force rather than as a human avenger or as a character with the usual heroic motivations.

Furthermore, I think that this mysterious non-human element goes hand in hand with his morphological appearance, which could be described as lying somewhere between root crop and old wood (a derivative relative of his is the ironic comics super-hero Flaming Carrot, whose name and character even further juxtaposes the very same traits).

So, what is individualized in Clint Eastwood´s figure in this image I´d call - and here I borrow a phrase from the speculative sphere of natural philosophy - something like "the impacts of vegetal intelligence on human life." Part human, part plant he is depicted here as the both mythologically and medicinally complex Mandragora officinarum.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sacho The Suburban Cephalopod

Sacho The Suburban Cephalopod (Huvudfoting) - As seen in a dream, by Niklas Nenzén

Cephalopod dreaming

The terrestrial cephalopod editor has duly participated in the world's joy concerning the video and newspiece finally confirming that octopuses use tools. But this is not a newsblog and nobody needs further proof of cephalopod intelligence. What we would like to know more about specifically on the other hand is what cephalopods dream. Our contributor Ika asked yesterday whether there was a connection between this blog and research about cuttlefish dreaming. Yes I am sure there is only we knew nothing about it. A informative text on animal dreaming can be read here.

If somebody has some advanced empathic or chance method of imagining cuttlefish dreams, or just want to ascribe some of their own dreams to cuttlefish, please add them as comments here or email them to biographed dot poet at gmail dot com.