K_Helmersson_Amuletter_mot_Onda_gat_2014_foto_U_Jrn_CEA_webb_1.jpgKatrine Helmersson

Amulets Against the Evil Eye
May 1 – September 28 2014

The Carl Eldh Studio Museum is delighted to continue its effort to show contemporary sculpture by an exhibition with Swedish artist Katrine Helmersson during the season of 2014. In the Eldh studio, Helmersson will reveal a new, site-specific project revolving around the evil eye; one of the world’s oldest and, by all means, lively superstitions.

The evil eye is often connected with envy and malicious looks. This phenomenon, however, is not the sole focus of Helmersson. In line with her many previous exhibitions, she uses different methods and materials to highlight the interplay between forces and counterforces. Pictures, sculptures, amulets and other magically loaded objects are here interconnected into a complex unity.

The center of the exhibition is the installation Amulets Against the Evil Eye in the museum’s new space for contemporary art. A great number of reliefs of eyes cover the walls and the floor. The spectator is immersed by penetrating gazes, in equal measures reassuring and intimidating. They search and cause harm, but can also function as an antidote toward the envious gaze. The museum is at once haunted and protected.

K_Helmersson_Totem_2014_foto_U_Jrn_CEA_webb_3.jpgFrom this space, deep within the heart of the museum, the exhibition unfolds through Carl Eldh’s original studio. Here, Helmersson’s amulets play a somewhat different role. In an assemblage entitled Totem, piles of magic eyes rest on a modelling stand – an alien majesty simultaneously in dialogue with the surrounding sculptures. Through Helmersson’s work, new perspectives present themselves on Eldh’s production. By seeing his form, material, and method, how he created dramatic moods and expressions, we come closer to his magic.

The magic is also present in a folded, red-and-black fabric sculpture that seems suspended in midair in the rotunda, the most intimate of the studio’s interiors. The piece of fabric derives from Mali and its striking contrasts recalls to us how close and to great effect the red color of love plays out against the total darkness of pain. Amour; le rouge et le noir is the name of Helmersson’s passion drama, reminding us of one of the most important origins of the evil eye – rejected love.

Katrine Helmersson (born 1958) is educated at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, and the Faculty of Fine Arts in Baroda, Gujarat, India. Her many solo shows include Cherchez la femme!, Gallery Andréhn-Schiptjenko, Stockholm (2010), Dark Currents, Uppsala Art Museum, Uppsala (2005) and Gallery Brändström & Stene, Stockholm (2003). In 2012 Helmersson participated in two biennials; with the solo exhibition Sombres Courants in the Dak´Art OFF, Dakar, Senegal, and with a work in the International Sculpture Biennial of Borås, Sweden. She has also participated in a number of group exhibitions, such as Amour, Le Festival sur Le Fleuve Niger, Segou, Mali (2014), Lust och last, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm (2011), Drömdiken, The Museum of Sketches, Lund (2006), Moderna Museet c/o Malmö Konsthall, Malmö (2003), Plingeling, Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall, Stockholm (2003) and Nyskapande retro, Wanås Art (2001).

Katrine_Helmersson_2014_foto_Urban_Jrn.jpgWallflowers (2005), commissioned by the Public Art Agency Sweden for Linköping University Hospital, is Katrine Helmersson’s most comprehensive public work to date. She is represented at Moderna Museet in Stockholm and at several other art museums in Gothenburg, Norrköping, Malmö and elsewhere in Sweden. Helmersson has been awarded a great number of grants, for instance from Ragnar von Holten’s Memorial Fund, the Längmanska Culture Foundation, the Swedish Visual Arts Fund (ten-year working grant) and Iaspis’ International Cultural Exchange.

In November this year (2014), Katrine Helmersson will be the focus of a major mid-career retrospective at Kulturhuset in Stockholm.

For more information on Katrine Helmersson, please visit her website.

See Aktuellt for exhibition reviews (in Swedish only).

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