The signal flag Lima, also called the Yellow Jack, is the International maritime flag for “ship is under quarantine”.
MAY 7 – JUNE 15, 2020
A 40-day long exhibition about the COVID-19 crisis
Galleri Sebastian Schildt proudly presents the rather spontaneous group exhibition Quarantena. This exhibition features brand new works by 29 local and international artists, who have all been inspired by their personal experiences of the current pandemic.
Quarantena is a contemporary collection of art works conveying stories of the waiting, longing, worry and pain but also the resilience, gratitude and hope that people are experiencing in the midst of this crisis; forming a unique testament to this time. The reflections of these artists are intimate and heartfelt but also demonstrate the analytical and significant societal function that art can have.
The word “quarantine” comes from “quarantena”, meaning “forty days”. Quarantena was a term used in the 1300s-1400s Venetian language and referred to the period of time that all ships were required to be isolated before both passengers and crew members were allowed to go ashore during the plague epidemic.
Participating artists: Tobias Andersson, Tobias Birgersson, Kuki Constantinescu, Anna Forsberg, Ulla Forsell, Mona Fällberg, Castello Hansen, August Happ, Aia Jüdes, Ann Karlholm, Tove Knuts, Caroline Lindholm, Åsa Lockner, Charlotte Mrani, Olle Olls, Åsa Pärson, Ru Runeberg, Helena Sandström, Karlheinz Sauer, Sebastian Schildt, Jin-Sook So, Ulrika Swärd, Pamela Wilson and Ann Wolff.
Oil pitcher and salt/ pepper container, “Chain Reaction”, sterling silver.
Silversmith Ru Runeberg resides in Finland, where lockdown restrictions were more rigorous than here in Sweden. Inspired by the themes of quarantine, travel bans and immobility – he thought of the limited freedom of a caged bird and created this sculpture in sterling silver. The work is titled “Chain Reaction” and the bird is shackled to a ball and chain in the form of a Coronavirus particle. The bird actually doubles as an extravagant oil pitcher, while the ball may be used as a container for salt or pepper.
Bowl, “La Mano Negra”, fine silver.
Swedish silversmith August Happ has created this fine silver bowl in one piece, titled “La Mano Negra”. The bowl is in the shape of half an earth globe with embossed shapes of continents in its surface. It rests upon a skeletal hand – symbolizing how the Earth and humanity itself is balancing on the brink of disaster, be it environmental or viral. But perhaps this reminder of the frailty of our existence can also serve as insight? It could be an opportunity to re-evaluate our ways and lay the foundation for new, more sustainable habits. Crisis as an awakening.
Ring, “Corona Ring/ Red Dots”, silver, brass, iron.
During those first confusing weeks of the virus outbreak, Swedish jewellery artist Tobias Andersson created a series of five rings titled “Red Dots”. The imagery that directly came to his mind was that of skulls and the Coronavirus particle. Andersson is no stranger to creating jewellery with skulls, but this time they are more damaged than ever before – all banged up, bloody, bruised and covered with band aids. He also created the “Corona Ring” in the form of a metal skull with holes drilled through it, and nails aggressively piercing it. The nails are painted with the alarming red dots that we have all come to recognize as belonging to the little, yet lethal monster virus.
The series ”Red Dots” includes five different rings.
Brooch, “X”, silver.
Swedish silversmith and jewellery artist Åsa Lockner has created this large silver brooch titled “X” . The “X” brooch represents the self and its rays symbolize the impact and various dependencies we have on others.
In these uncertain times, most people are happy with the necessities and the concept of luxury is in a state of flux, Lockner says. It makes it ever so clear that the artistic profession relies upon its audience having a sense of security. “I miss my outward connections, my context and clients. Getting through Covid-19 is dependent on knowing that there is something on the other side… Hello! Is there anyone out there who sees my work?”, she asks.
Necklace, “Breathing”, waxed cotton, 18K gold.
This necklace is by Swedish gold- and silversmith Helena Sandström. It is made in 18K gold and waxed cotton, looped and tied in the form of air bubbles.
On the news, everything is about breathing difficulties. Collapsed lungs, shortness of breath, oxygen, respirators, ventilators, intubation…
Everything is uncertain
Everything stands still, yet everything rushes
I tie my breath
breath by breath, one at a time,
knot by knot
Breathe, do not forget to breathe
The biggest fear – that of not being able to breathe.
Textile, “Comfort”, handwoven and hand-coloured wool velvet.
Swedish master handweaver Åsa Pärson has created this handwoven and hand-coloured work titled “Comfort” in wool velvet. What is it about velvet that feels so luxurious? Is it how the surface of the velvet absorbs the light and how nice it feels to touch? Or perhaps knowing the amount of time and effort that went into creating it? These days, there is plenty of time to spend – even to create something as unnecessary as a piece of checked velvet, woven in relief.
The loneliness of social distancing inspired Pärson to get a cat: someone to snuggle with, play with and to pet their soft fur. She decided that her velvet piece should have a similar surface as that of fur and to be comforting to caress. She considers herself lucky to be a handweaver and thoroughly enjoys the slow creative process where the body learns a new rhythm together with the material and technique. Pärson describes it as encapsulating time in her weaves, time that is barely visible and perhaps does not have a function but that might result in something beautiful. This is in itself a comfort to her.
& QUARANTINE STORIES
Handmade rug, ”Quarantine Stories”, wool.
How has the quarantine affected artists in different parts of the world? Galleri Sebastian Schildt proudly presents the art project “Quarantine Stories”, where six international artists create one rug together. This project was initiated by Swedish designer Anna Forsberg and interweaves the experiences of artists who are based in different epicentres of the Covid-19 pandemic. These artists have never met each other before and “Quarantine Stories” explores how a collaborative creative process can occur without them actually having physical contact. Each artist works in their own studio with their own pattern for the rug, which will amount to 40 cm of the rug’s total length. The rug will then be a joined composition of stories from people who have been connected via their art in times of crisis.
Anna Forsberg creates exclusive handmade rugs in collaboration with skilled craftspeople in Kathmandu, Nepal. This collaborative rug will also be made in Nepal – a country that was already struggling with poverty before the pandemic. The “Quarantine Stories” artists decided that the proceeds from the sale of their rug will go directly to a local charity in Nepal.
The participating artists are: Anna Forsberg (Stockholm, Sweden); Zhou Kuang (Wuhan, China); Mattia Turco (Milan, Italy); Ana Cano Brookbank (Madrid, Spain); Estefania Leighton (Santiago, Chile); Vizie (New York, USA).
Rug height 240 cm, width 170 cm.
Face mask, “Á la Orville Peck”, cotton, fringes, rubber bands.
Swedish designer and jewellery artist Tove Knuts often crochets her work – a practice that has not been all that affected by her self-isolation. She continues to crochet in a calm corner of her home, but of course, even here Corona has completely taken over as a conversation topic. Everything seems to be about the pandemic in one way or another. We discuss the to be or not to be of wearing face masks. Is it an effective protection against the virus? Tove Knuts found them fascinating and began experimenting with various fringed and beaded versions of the face mask.
An inspiration here was the enigmatic country musician Orville Peck, known for performing in fringed masks and never actually showing his face in public.
Bowl, “The Shit Hits the Fan”, sterling silver, fist in bronze.
The left hook is a surprise of a punch. It is the closest power punch to your opponent if you are right-handed, and so it is short range, quick and powerful. Metal designer Mona Fällberg describes how boxing symbolizes an awakening to her. Be it as a response to a significant life change or in response to a global pandemic that has hit us all unexpectedly and forcefully – an awakening just the same.
But to her, boxing does not just symbolize a sucker punch and an awakening, it also means to take care of yourself and making sure that you are keeping physically and mentally strong in trying times. Boxing symbolizes a finding of your inner strength when shit hits the fan.
Mona Fällberg has made this bowl in 3,5 kg sterling silver, titled “The Shit Hits the Fan”. The movement of a left hook is frozen in the fist imprint on the side of the bowl; the mark of a piercing punch that has you gasping for air. Accompanying the bowl is a clenched fist in bronze. The bowl is a continuation of Fällberg’s plate “The Pugilist”, which she created for the gallery’s previous exhibition Corpus Maximus.
Brooch, “Vanitas”, reconstituted coral, backside with black oak from a shipwreck and lock in gold and steel.
Danish goldsmith Castello Hansen excels at creating impeccable brooches. This brooch is titled “Vanitas” and is in the shape of a pink urn. Upon closer inspection, the contours of a skull emerge in the brooch and reminds the viewer of their mortality, Memento mori. There is also a theme of repurposing here, as the brooch is made in reconstituted coral and black oak collected from an actual shipwreck.
Sculpture, “Virus Shot / The Corona Collection”, glass.
Inspired by a detail of a Hieronymus Bosch painting, Swedish glass artist Ulla Forsell created this series of five individual sculptures. Together they form what appears like a scene from a magical apothecary or laboratory setting. A medicine or vaccine is being produced here, but the alluring colours of the sculptures also evoke images of toys. Ulla Forsell’s work is titled Virus Shot/ The Corona Collection and is an expression of her wish for a solution to this pandemic.
Weave, “The Spring of 2020”, silk, linen, paper.
The virus-induced panic buying and hoarding of certain key items inspired textile- and jewellery artist Pamela Wilson to create her two weaves. In her native country Australia, it was first toilet paper then wine that was flying off the shelves.The authorities issued buying restrictions to quell alcohol stockpiling and the new limit per customer was set to a mere 18 bottles of wine per day (!)
Wilson gathered a lot of wine labels and combined them with linen and silk weaves to create her unique textile works. The first weave is with unbleached silk which appears like thin gauze and alludes to hospitals, while the second weave is more vibrant in colour and is inspired by Spain – an epicentre of the Coronavirus. Both works are mounted on paper and measure 45 x 45 cm.
Sculpture, ”Hood”, edition 2/10, cast nickel silver.
Quarantena creates a space for reflection. Reflection as foundation for artistic creation, visual artist Ann Wolff says. Her sculpture embodies time and space; time is fleeting and the removed hood is empty. “Hood” measures 18 x 34 x 21 cm.
Pocket watch with watch chain and brooch, “Close Encounter”, silver.
It is as if time is standing still. You have to keep your distance, not get too close and definitely not touch or hug people. This is the type of contact that I miss the most, Romanian painter, designer and silversmith Kuki Constantinescu says. Her contribution to Quarantena is this silver pocket watch, with a watch chain and brooch in the form of an outstretched hand. The work is titled “Close Encounter” and the watch has stopped.
Photograhy, “Longing for Apples”, plexi photograph mounted on a wooden light box.
Aia Jüdes is a Swedish interdisciplinary artist, fashion photographer and experimental crafter. She loves the resulting images from shooting at night with her analogue Hasselblad camera; and this suggestive and humorous photograph titled “Longing for Apples” is from one such photo shoot.
The image shows a dancer in a latex suit, frolicking about in the garden and swinging from lush apple trees. “Longing for Apples” represents a state of longing for when all of us are finally free to go outside again and really live out our pent-up desires, whatever they might be. The photograph has a playful reference to the Garden of Eden and Eve munching on the forbidden apple, but this modern-day Eve is not one bit ashamed! The work measures 140 x 140 cm.
Pitcher, silver, glass.
Gold-and silversmith Karlheinz Sauer was born during World War II and grew up in post-war Germany. He describes being afraid throughout his life. As a child, he was alone and sent to live in an orphanage for boys of all ages – certainly a less than ideal scenario and various fears of his developed here. As he grew older, the arms race led many to fear that nuclear war could happen at any moment. Then as an adult, new fears emerged related to the human impact on the environment and climate change. But Sauer has always found comfort and joy in creativity and working with his hands. Becoming a silversmith for him meant harnessing the power of the body and soul, and by extension, keeping all of those fears at bay.
Sauer’s submission to Quarantena is this art object in silver and black and white glass, which may be used as a pitcher or teapot. With this object, he is making a statement to Corona: while the pandemic has isolated him in his home, cancelled his exhibitions as well as the visits that were planned to his studio and gallery – Corona will not be another one of his fears. Corona will not deter him from creating new works!
Wall-mounted work, “Protection Against Evil”, Kalopanax branches, gold leaf, ink.
Kalopanax Septemlobus is a tree also known as prickly castor-oil tree, which grows around Korea, Japan and China. In Korean folk religion, the thorny branches of this tree are used to chase away evil spirits, illnesses and to prevent accidents. It is a medicinal herb and can e.g. be drunk as tea or cooked and eaten with chicken, which is believed to strengthen the immune system. The branches are also hung over gates or room doors in homes, and in some regions – hung on the living room wall when there is a contagious disease going around.
South Korean visual artist Jin-Sook So has created this wall-mounted work titled “Protection against Evil” which consists of Kalopanax branches painted with gold leaf and ink. It measures 26 x 29 x 6,5 cm with a plexiglass box.
Sculpture, “Toilet Paper Roll”, sterling silver.
Swedish silversmith Olle Olls has created this sculpture of a toilet paper roll in sterling silver. In a time where we have lost so much control, it makes sense to search for comfort and continuity in our basic needs. The simplest everyday objects become increasingly valuable and something to hold onto, giving us a glimmer of safety and control. Olle Olls’ sculpture perfectly illustrates this new elevation of importance given to a previously mundane object.
Game table, “The Peace of Home”, massive elm tree with backgammon in elm tree, birch and goat suede.
This backgammon table is handcrafted in massive elm tree and birch by fine-box maker Charlotte Mrani. She explains how the current Corona-crisis has been detrimental to her creativity but she tries to also see the silver lining. An example of one such ray of light is that while at home in quarantine, there is suddenly opportunity to spend real quality time with loved ones again. As Mrani noticed during her time living in Egypt: game tables have a special ability to bring people together, be it to enjoy a game of backgammon or playing different card games. These days, it helps to try and use the time to create community and joy in togetherness.
The interior of the table is lined with a deep green goat suede, while the dice and game pieces are in elm tree and birch. Four decks of cards accompany the table and there is also a sideboard for game pieces which ejects during the course of the game. One rolls the dice inside of the table, where there also is room for pens. Width 40cm, length 90cm.
Wall sculpture, ”Hope”, oak, ash, maple, juniper, aspen and walnut.
This sculpture is by Swedish woodworker and crafter Ann Karlholm and consists of delicately layered wooden streaks. In these uncertain times, it is far too easy to be overwhelmed by a feeling of despair and so the things in life that remain constant can definitely offer comfort. Many of us are drawn to nature and spending time in the forest or by the water, precisely for this reason. Karlholm describes how looking across the sea always manages to have a calming effect on her. This sculpture is a physical manifestation of a glimmer of hope on the horizon, for the art viewer to rest hir eyes on. “Hope” measures 51,5 x 48 x 5 cm.
Art object, “See no evil / Triptych”, carved ash.
There is a 17th century carving above a shrine in Nikkō, Japan depicting three monkeys. Each monkey is covering a part of their face – eyes, ears and mouth respectively. The artwork has generated a famous Japanese proverb “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” which has been interpreted as meaning to be of good mind, speech and action.
This series of opaque sunglasses is by Swedish visual artist Tobias Birgersson. He describes how the pandemic has turned his life upside down, both as a craftsperson and as a faculty member at the University of Gothenburg. However, this state of things has now become the new normal. His survival instinct tells him to “see no evil” and to continue to work and do things in life.
Butter dish, “Beurrier”, sterling silver.
For Swedish silversmith Caroline Lindholm, food is more than a source of physical energy. Food is her happy place. She grows her own food and is constantly fantasizing of delicious recipes as well as practically planning for how to realize these meals. This is one of the most unpleasant side-effects of the ongoing situation for her: that of no longer being able to gather all of her loved ones to share a meal together.
Food as a symbol of togetherness and joie de vivre has inspired Caroline Lindholm in the creation of her work “Beurrier”. It is an organically shaped butter dish entirely in sterling silver and incorporates both her love for food and nature.
Necklace, “Alco Tassel”, sterling silver, 18K gold, lapis lazuli and azurite.
Swedish silver- and goldsmith Sebastian Schildt has created this necklace titled “Alco Tassel”. The inspiration came from reflecting upon how quickly we have adapted to the recent changes in our environment and wondering what form future adaptations might take. The previously self-evident social rituals of hugging, shaking hands or cheek kissing now seem like a thing of the past. Perhaps our new routines of physical distancing, additional hygiene measures and skipping non-essential travel are not just temporary safety measures but will gradually become the new norm.
Our need for communication remains as strong as ever though, and personal adornment has always played a significant part here. We can only imagine how the changed times will affect jewellery design specifically. Maybe physical distancing will stimulate demand for large and bold jewellery visible from afar? Or the obsession with hand sanitizer will mean finding new ways of always making sure you have sanitizer on your person, for instance by carrying it in a piece of jewellery.
Sculpture, ”Waiting”, pearwood, wood stained and painted in oil.
Swedish visual artist Ulrika Swärd has created this pearwood sculpture in the form of a somber-looking house. Its facade is engraved with the word “Cur?” meaning “Why?” in Latin, and the sides of the house are marked with numerals that together amount to the length of a quarantine period. A clock is also mounted inside of this house so it emits a faint but steady ticking sound, keeping track of the time passing by while we wait. Tick, tick, tick…