Acts of Self Ruin is a two year research programme at Marabouparken, exploring the struggle for collectivity and equality in an age of individualism. Through a range of activities including exhibitions, residencies and a public programme, we will explore acts in which communities and individuals have put themselves at risk or ruin in the pursuit of other ways of living, or in pursuit of equality and solidarity. Acts that might produce shame or embarrassment in their deviation from existing hierarchies: acts of communal inefficiency, of professional disloyalty, of solidarity with a persecuted colleague or the rejection of national identity. The research investigates not only overtly public political acts but also personal acts of self ruin. In what ways do we unlearn the encouraged subconscious individualistic ideology and its inherent classist, racist and sexist perpetuations? Acts of Self Ruin is a concept explored by Leela Gandhi in her book The Common Cause (2014) and informs this inquiry. The book proposes different forms of solidarity and community developed through acts of self-ruination.  Acts aimed at making common the cause between individuals across cultural, political and class divides.

Starting from the Self is a group exhibition exploring practices that begin from the personal experiences of the artist(s) to understand how society is structured and organises us. The exhibition is particularly concerned with how gender, race and class play into questions of private and public boundaries and the different ways people have transgressed and renegotiated these borders and the categorisation of space.

The exhibition includes work by local artist Helga Henschen, a resident of Sundbyberg who persistently and playfully inserted her words and work into the public sphere. Henschen is known for reformulating advertising space to publicly communicate her criticisms of society, and for building an art practice that could be tied to public political work through the Social Democrat Party, where she fought for the rights of political prisoners and children. Stockholm based artist Pia Sandström develops a new commission in the gallery, that explores the urban environment as seen through the eyes and experiences of the other female artists in the exhibition. Pia’s work forms a framework to navigate the works of Helga Henschen, Lilian Domec, Hackney Flashers, Lubaina Himid, and Billie Zangewa.