Thursday, 31 October 2013

Museum Mission: Liljevalchs Konsthall

Liljevalchs/The Liljevalchs art venue is situated on Djurgården (as many other museums) and opened the first time in 1916. Till January 2014, there is an ongoing exhibition by contemporary artist Lena Cronqvist - the exhibition has a faint smell of oil to it, since some of the paintings were made this year - and a play for adults with marionets at the Stockholm City Theatre (Stockholm stadsteater), "Flickorna" ("The Girls") is ongoing as well, with inspiration from Cronqvist's paintings.
An interesting effect: when taking a photo of a painting made by Cronqvist, the motive looks much more realistic than when hanging on the wall in an art hall. The brush strips are quite large and colourful on the face, which can not be seen here. Here is the artist herself - she embraces well some of life's tough questions with her motives and with facial expressions on the portraits of herself.
These girls can also bee seen outsides of Sven-Harry's house - click here for context.
And then probably the same girls grew up.
Most of the time I found the exhibition hard to understand. This painting represents well the (though non-stated) theme which makes me uncomfortable and confused, forcing me to leave the exhibition faster than expected. A friend called me during my visit, and I told her that I was standing in front of a painting with angry angels pouring water on naked, unhappy women. The angels were big, the women small and I am sure there can be many wise things said about the idea behind it, but I was less and less intrugued to find out the more time I spent in front of it.
There is no doubt Cronqvist is talented, though. I am always in doubt when some paintings are not photography-like, and here is the evidence that I should not be in doubt. An artist I met this summer told me that he, for instance, can easily make a photography-like painting, but does not find it as interesting as seeing the brush coming to life in abstract ways, so I have learned to not judge abstract paintings as quickly as before.
I would say this is like a modern museum showing pain and cruelness with few objects, combined with the expressions of how it is growing up as a girl - but do pay a visit to judge for yourself.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

21.7 mm

The storm Simone should of course not be left uncommented. For my part, I was sitting at the library when I heard a heavy rain smatter on the glass ceiling. I looked the weather up and saw stunning rain quantity numbers for being Sweden and imagined myself coming home looking like a scarecrow due to all the wetness. Then a friend popped up next to me (litterally) and we looked at train departures. She lives rather inwards the country and her trains were going as usual; trains southwards were cancelled since three in the afternoon.

The next day, I telephoned a friend that lives in the south of Sweden and she reported that her city had been absolutely dry though windy - a bridge over the water was closed off, since the wind was expected to blow fifty meters per second. She was wise to wear a helmet when she went to see her friend, and another friend of hers had had his electricity cut off as well as the water. He was of course prepared, but was hoping that the water would come back soon because he has fifty thirsty cows. At that moment,  ten people had been reported dead in the entire Europe due to the storm.

Did you know that every second storm is given a male name, by the way?

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Perhaps good to know about Swedish stamps

I have shopped stamps at the Post museum and got a special case just for stamps (the blue and white one at the top)!!! And I learned that all stamps that say "Sweden" are primarly used for post that is meant to leave the country, while "Sweden Letters" ("Sverige Brev") are for domestic purpose (how did I not figure that out during 12+ years?). And, stamps that do not have any number on them will increase in value when stamps become more expensive, while those with a number - well, their actual cost in Swedish crowns - keep the same value as before.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Museum Mission: Medelhavsmuseet

At Medelhavsmuseet/The Mediterranen Sea Museum (my translation) one can "dive back" into history looking at fragments, items and statues that are left - sometimes intact, sometimes buried deeply. My friend that went to the excavation place of Pompeiji says that there was a decision made to close it for twenty years or so to leave material to work on for people in this field later on.
Medical instruments, collected and then donated to the Nobel Foundation by the Nobel prize laureate Georg von Békésy in 1970. They were then distributed to different Swedish museums, this being a part. 
Roman cheramics that comes from very careful, and hence well-known, excavations during the Swedish Cyprus Expedition in 1927.
News or a Facebook-update of the time, depending on how one wants to see it. In any case it is an ode to Herodes Atticus - a very rich man from about 100 B.C.
On the second floor, there is Bagdad Café which has a nice view: the royal castle and another, former castle to the right, which now serves as a part of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
A freed slave.
And there surely are many secrets from the past time that we have not yet found out about!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Library card memory... or library cards-cards

I have so many library cards that I could almost play memory with them. And there are more! I have not all the libraries in the city covered, so in a near future I might even play an actual card game using these. Hence, I absolutely support the idea of having one single card for most of the systems, instead of carrying this plastic party with me wherever I go, making the wallet suffer from tensions and the entire queue to sigh once and twice behind me when I am flickering this treasure through to find The Right Card.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Answer to The Quiz!

Some time ago, I asked what a certain "red ball" seen from above looked like, and almost all readers answered "tomato" - but as you better can see now, it was an Angry Bird. This one can be thrown at the floor, would then become absolutely flat and then pop up to its original size again. This also happens to be part of a lab for small children at my work :)

Friday, 25 October 2013

Museum Mission: Riksidrottsmuseet

Old ads informing about the Olympic Games in Stockholm in 1912.
Riksidrottsmuseet/The National Sports Museum is an interactive museum, with a "sports lab", so you should definetely bring friends along. The museum is for free all year round and has been so for several years now. For the energetic visitors, there are four other museums in the same area to visit, if I counted them right.
I am not sure about the colouring of the items used in a sport, but the outfits are most definetely designed according to the current norms and values of a society, in combination with safety.
The design of the interior is partly like the dressing rooms in Swedish sports halls, like this bench.
There are very explicit books and books with laughing and chilling skeletons that increases the understanding (and fascination) for the human body.
Note the smiley under Adrià's right foot!
There is equipment for measuring your reaction in milliseconds and heartbeats, too.
Sports and books are very compatible, especially books about sports. Between 1912 and 1948, based on a suggestion made by Pierre de Coubertin, artists could also compete within painting, literature, architecture and music. The art pieces should of course have had a clear connection to sports. This idea was soon abandoned due to a faint interest and the participating artisits were classified as professionals in their domains, which made them unqualified for the competitions (on purpose).
At the second floor, there are many films and clips to listen and watch. Interesting side note: many museums seem to like the colour red.
There are even fences to make it look more real. Some sports have come and gone, of course. Discus throw was previosly made with both the left and the right hand, for example, instead of just focusing to throw with the hand that worked the best.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Rush hour

Nature with a human (electric) touch.
After four hours of sleep, I decided to walk to my work instead of taking the subway and saw how the nature adds all the ingredients, slowly, one at a time, to create the morning. It was like a play at the theatre: one of the night's main characters - the moon - slowly vanished into the background; the special light effects coloured the sky and the sun made a gracious and careful but yet grand appearance from the left part of the stage. The dresses of the other characters - the clouds - whirled about, and most people just rushed to do their arrends without taking notice.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

It's raining Malin

"So what is your position?" Malin asks in a political sense. "More left than you," I answer and refer to that I litterally stand to her left. Aah, long time no seen! We just bounce jokes of this kind as if we were playing tennis when we meet..

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Hyponeuroakustiska diafragmakontravibrationer. OBVIOUSLY.

In English, the word is synchronous diaphragmatic flutter - or, simply, hiccup. I am not saying the Swedish spelling is correct, but nor is that my point: the focus should be on the drawing of this...lady. Firstly, she is a nice (and feministic, aah!) alternative to the traditional hangman image. She is wearing a gown (not a dressing gown) with Precious Stones on it (with that size of each stone, she will be either abducted or find herself naked anytime, so keep her in sight) and Fancy Shoes (NOT slippers), my brother clarified. He is quite a talented teenager, don't you think?

Monday, 21 October 2013

Museum Mission: Sven-Harrys Konstmuseum

So in the middle of Stockholm there is a building with walls made of exactly the same composition as a Swedish ten kronor coin. This house is Sven-Harrys konstmuseum/Sven-Harry's Art Museum and comparts ordinary apartments. The rent is partly used to sustain the less ordinary museum and an art hall that is spread out on the different floors. At the top, there is a copy of a villa situated on the island Lidingö that contains a fraction of all the art pieces that a building contractor named Sven-Harry has collected. He initiated the project and has by now moved out from the Lidingö villa, but still comes here to use the rooftop house - and so can people that want to have a conference there.
It is not obvious that there is an entire house hidden here somewhere - which is the point. Just as in real life, when one has to ask for directions, the villa is secret until one finds it. On the lower floors, there is currently an exhibition by Björn Berg, very known by most Swedish people, sometimes without them knowing it: he illustrated Astrid Lindgren's children books and worked at Dagens nyheter at a time when illustrations were as important as photographies.
Björn Berg's vivid pen and brushes just makes one happy. I was smiling almost during the entire exhibition.
And then there is the secret villa.
The matching is made differently: by colours, of course, but also - as either Sven-Harry or an acquintance jokingly has said - by painters with a psychological disease (!).
The painting in the background is made by the famous Swedish author August Strindberg. The brown tan on it comes from him burning the painting with a torch.
The paintings on this wall are named by Sven-Harry himself, since this painter did not name his works. Interestingly, many visitors have shown an interest in the background - the greenish wall colour - so if one asks, the number of this paint can actually be obtained...and one can bring a piece of this museum to one's own home.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Yesterday's Cake Marathon/Competition

I made two cakes, Luc made one and the jury members voted by showing pictures from online that they thought were most descriptive of what the cake made them feel. The trouble is that I liked Luc's cake, he liked mine and some preferred my topping but his cake and vice versa. And then a friend said that my honey almond cake was the best cake that he had eaten in his entire life...

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Art of art

This art project is all about precision and right proportions: I am testing what an abstract map as seen from above would look like. Very nice, as it seems so far actually, but there is still a lot to test and try out. Hmm.

Knock, knock. Who is there?

It is my Japanese neighbour. He has Japanese friends visiting.

"Do you speak Japanese yet?" He asks.

"But we said ten o'clock! Is it ten already?"

"Almost." (His watch shows 21:18.)

"Oh, but then there is plenty of time left! Like, forty-five minutes!"

So in quite a short time, I have learned to speak some Japanese. Let us not get too overexcited - I know some basic but important phrases by heart. I can tell my name, explain that I do not speak Japanese and can round up asking if the person has a girlfriend.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Unfortunately, so far not a business of my own

As the observant citizen has realized, a woman's looks and bodyshape are not a neutral zone. Her body is always inspected and compared with what we know of. I was compared with an obese goose once; other people (yes, I know some of them) think of naturally slim girls as sticks. And sure, they exist, but it would be much easier to find an outfit for a female that helps her to keep "the curves and shapes in the right places" than if a man tried to do the same. "Beauty enterprises" work hard on making women feel insecure on purpose and that creates a trillion cash business based on something that is not important. As the fashion blogger Kelly Saks put it (rephrased): what if you once happen to have forgotten wearing your mascara and that cute guy in the coffee shop does not see you because of this? Guess what: it is not all about what other people think about you, or even noticing you just because you wear a certain kind of makeup or weigh plus minus a couple of kilos. Anybody can wear as much makeup as they like before their head tilts over of the extra weight or be as fit as they want, but it should be decisions made by themselves based on sound judgement. NOT based on an always changing industry's whims or an irrealistic ideal that we see on ads around the country, where the fact that the woman's body changes throughout her life always seems to be left out, like a less tight facial skin, or that when she has given birth and the distance between certain bones naturally expands (which has nothing to do with fat) and she often can not wear size zero anymore, if she ever could.

Looking for more evidence about the common interpretation of the female body, we discover that it is always a female's looks that are commented upon at ceremonies and partys (the men mostly have black costumes, some are bold enough to wear dark blue costumes that are almost black. Sure, there are some men that wear glitter and flowerprints but they are in a clear minority). The Swedish journalist Ebba Kleberg von Sydow noted that the costs for a female program leader are enormous if she is supposed to change outfits every time, while for example a male Swedish program leader, Peter Settman, "survived" throughout an entire season of a show in the exactly same grey outfit.

Therefore, when I say that I want to lose weight and some people are stunned because that they think that I already look great, I would like to clarify that I want to get back to the weight I had before I started eating crisps for breakfast. I told E. how much I wanted to lose, and she exclaimed: "But I will not be able to see you anymore then, you will be transparent!" Again: too slim for some, too fat for others. This afternoon, for example, I realized that I am not fat enough to participate in a sumo match.


Thursday, 17 October 2013

Museum Mission: Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde

Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde is a museum that is a palace and an art hall combined, built by the prince Eugen (1865-1947) in the beginning of the 20th century in close collaboration with the architect Ferdinand Boberg. The gallery building was added in 1913; the prince liked collecting contemporary art indoors as well as aoutdoors and was an important figure in the Swedish cultural world.
The are several ongoing exhibitions. In the art hall, the theme is partly about a Danish colony of painters in Skagen that depicted the landscape and the fishermens' and their families' hard lives. The man above was Lars Geihede, one of the favourite models in the village, painted by Anna Ancher, who today is considered one of the most creative of the Skagen artists.
"Lite babord" ("A bit aport", my own translation) by Christian Krohg, probably from 1879.
At the palace part of the museum, fresh flowers are to be seen everywhere. The prince stated in his will that the palace should look as much alive as it did when it was in use from the start, so there is a gardener and an orangery that serve this purpose.
A part of the major reception hall, with different arts expressed above the door openings. The prince himself also appears on these paintings in different disguises.
Behind the closed white door, and on the upper floors, there will be more exhibitions coming up the next month. The private parts of the palace, such as bedrooms, are not preserved on purpose: the art was intentionally to be in focus after the prince passing away.
Prince Eugen in person. I do like his dreamlike paintings (not shown in this blogpost) - in fact, he was one of the leading landscape painters of his time. This photography is to be found in a wooden yellow house next to the museum, of which he rented a part and lived in during the summer while waiting for the palace to be built.
View of Stockholm and its surroundings from just outsides the most stately part of the palace.