• Leif Holmstrand, Three Lovers, performance att Galleri 54 in Gothenburg, Sweden, 2020. Photo Grzegorz Fitał
    Leif Holmstrand, Three Lovers, performance att Galleri 54 in Gothenburg, Sweden, 2020. Photo Grzegorz Fitał
16 October 2021–30 January 2022

Leif Holmstrand – From the Depth

Marabouparken konsthall continues this fall with a large-scale solo exhibition by Leif Holmstrand. The exhibition will include works from his entire time as an artist, from the 90s until present day. Leif Holmstrand is perhaps mostly known as a performance artist, and the performative is a clear red thread in the exhibition. Live performances will also be a part of the program during the course of the exhibition.

The exhibition highlights his comprehensive work as a visual artist. His many objects where the material is central – yarn, textile, black garbage bags, prams, tough nylon rope – have occasionally been actors in his performances, but are also independent works in their own right. They gather here on the stage that is the exhibition room – even though they have been created during a twenty five year period, they are all remarkably contemporary, sharing a distinct affinity among them.

Leif Holmstrand, Three Lovers, performance på Galleri 54 i Göteborg, 2020.
Leif Holmstrand, Asami Kannon Clothing, 2016. Foto: Aamod och Sophelia Korhonen

A selection of costumes featured in performance situations are shown in the exhibition. One of them stems from the extensive project Asami Kannon, which manifests itself in both literature and performance. While the character gets its first name Asami from a Japanese horror film, Kannon is the Japanese name of an East-Asian deity, female at times, male at times, who is associated with compassion and charity. In the piece many recurrent themes of the artist congregate – the ritualistic, the violence, the vulnerability of the body and mind, the transboundary gender belonging, trash as culture and life’s ultimate consequence –  but also a deep empathic understanding of mankind’s condition, warmth and compassion.

An interest in the mythological is consistent for Leif Holmstrand. In a series of photographic works from 2018, Holy Helpers, he presents “14 mutated saints” with the words: in a world of garbage bag plastic, make-up and new kinds of eyelashes; these saints can guide queer people through diseases and traps of the mind and dangerous surroundings”. 

Leif Holmstrand, Breeder Covers, 2018

In another work we meet Aphrodite Anadyomene while she rises from the sea, an Aphrodite that drags the seas garbage with her from the depths – she too a goddess who far from Botticelli’s Venus, is connected to a darker history of rage and violence, born as she is from her fathers castrated genitals. The shapeless ocean, taking firm shape – an ideal image of creation and art – becomes an image of art as a place containing a versatile reality of raggedness, a place where experiences can be included and managed and where Anadyomene, partly risen, partly trapped in a wave of entangled nets and black plastic, claims her place in the world.

The, by format, largest work in the exhibition Breeder Covers (2017 – 18) takes up all of the gallery’s 25 metre long back wall. It consists of 24 objects, crocheted in black yarn. Shapeless, but precise, they reminisce of both body and garment. Alike, but all different, a kind of army, intimidating but pitiful. The yarn hangs and drapes, the crocheted forms seem waiting to be filled. The “breeder” from the title is gay-slang for heterosexual men. Each of the objects has also been given an individual title after a species of slime-mold, curious single-celled organisms who under certain conditions act as a mass, prepared to sacrifice its inefficient parts. 

During the same period we are exhibiting Leif Holmstrand’s drawings in the project room on floor 1. They have a feeling of restlessness, the pencil seldom seems to leave the paper and the line’s long threads form nets, maps, figures reminiscent of the sculptures’ rope and yarn.

Leif Holmstrand’s extensive oeuvre  also includes close to 40 published collections of poems, which we will emphasize in the public program of the exhibition.

Nuggets of Nature

Performance 6 November


Readings 27 November

Born Without Hands: “Yes We Have Hands!”

Concert, information about date will follow