Bianca Maria Barmen

Lonely Boys House
May 12 – October 2 2016

It is with great pleasure that Carl Eldh’s Studio Museum welcomes Bianca Maria Barmen as the summer season's special guest. With the exhibition Lonely Boys House the museum hosts a number of interventions and integrations, in which two very different artists reflect each other in an almost symbiotic way. Bianca Maria Barmen puts Carl Eldh in a stag­gering new light and Eldh responds by pointing to the (art) historical relevance. This meeting between two artists from different epochs create sparks that immediately shed new light over both. Suddenly the generational gap that separates the artists and their works is completely uninteresting.

Bianca_Maria_Barmen_Snow_Falling_Without_Telling_2_2015._Foto_Urban_Jrn.jpgOn one level it is an impossible relationship. Bianca Maria Barmen’s art is distant from both the symbolism and realism predominant in the work of Carl Eldh. Barmen’s enigmatic sculptures are characterized instead by peculiar and intense combinations of everyday figures. In the exhibition, for example, a sculpture is shown of a small building nestled in a grove or a burst of flames, resting on a human’s lower leg, cut off just below the knee. A similar motif recurs in the work The Lonely Boys House, which also gave the exhibition its title.

It is Bianca Maria Barmen’s interest in emotional states that forms the clearest bridge to Carl Eldh. Both have depicted the fragility of life by examining the overlooked and the marginal. Perhaps that is why Barmen took an early interest in Eldh’s Water Elf, a grave sculpture of a small boy listening to the sound of the ocean in a shell. Impermanence meets youth. Life-giving water also contains mortal danger. A highly topical theme.

When Barmen puts Water Elf against her own work Wave, the boy is transported from a symbolist context to be-come a representative for the current refugee crisis in the Mediterranean. Beaches that could have been full of life and play have turned into scenes of inconceivable tragedy.

Bianca_Maria_Barmen_Vg_2016._Foto_Urban_Jrn.jpgLonely Boys House captures contrasting moments where life’s beauty and fragility become visible. At the same time the exhibition looks further. Stillness and contemplation mix with hopeful playfulness.

Bianca Maria Barmen(born 1960) was trained at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen and the Department of Architecture at Lund University’s Faculty of Engineering (LTH). Her many solo exhibitions include Atlanten – jag är mycket lugn nu, Krognoshuset, Lund, Nässjö Art Gallery and Dalsland Art Museum, Upperud (2014–15) as well as Tavshedens tableaux – Tableaux ofSilence, Kunsthallen Brandts, Odense, Denmark (2011), Yama-Tora-Mori, AIT, Tokyo, Japan (2009) and Hare linje, Dunker Culture House, Helsingborg, and Millesgården, Lidingö (2007–10). Since her debut in 1992, Barmen has continuously exhibited at galleries throughout Sweden and also participated in numerous group exhibitions.

Like Carl Eldh, Bianca Maria Barmen has executed a large number of public works. Her Frog Stairs (2009) meets Eldh’s The Young Linnaeus (1956) at the Centre Culturel Suédois in Paris, France. Other recent public sculptures include Chant in Middelfart, Denmark (2012), Remember that I Saw You at Skissernas Museum’s sculpture park in Lund (2007), The Hole through the Moon at Fredrika Bermersko­lan in Haninge (2005), and A Sailing Ship Asleep in the Harbor at Stigbergstorget in Gothenburg (2003). Currently, Barmen is working on a project, Resting Wave for New Karolinska Solna University Hospital.

Bianca Maria Barmen’s work is in the permanent collections of, among others, Bianca_Maria_Barmen_2016._Foto_Urban_Jrn.jpgModerna Museet in Stockholm, Gothenburg Museum of Art, and Kulturmagasinet in Helsingborg. She has received several grants and awards, such as the Swedish Visual Art Fund’s working grant, Swedish Royal Academy of Fine Arts’ studio grant at Cité Internationale des Arts Paris, France, Iaspis’ studio grant at AIT Tokyo, Japan and the Lengertz Art Prize.

In connection to the exhibition a bilingual catalogue is produced with an essay by art critic Joanna Persman. An artist talk (in Swedish) between Bianca Maria Barmen and Joanna Persman took place in the museum on May 26 at 6 pm.

See Aktuellt for exhibition reviews (in Swedish only).

For more information on Bianca Maria Barmen, please visit her website.

This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of Pontus Bonnier and The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation. Funding for the accompaying publication is provided by The Royal Patriotic Society.



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