Characterized by a unique combination of textured brushstrokes, loose washes, stark graphic lines, and evocative colors, Mamma Andersson’s works embody a new genre of landscape painting that recalls late nineteenth-century romanticism while also embracing a contemporary interest in layered, psychological compositions. Her often-panoramic scenes draw inspiration from a wide range of archival photographic source materials, filmic imagery, theater sets, and period interiors, as well as the sparse topography of northern Sweden, where she grew up: mountainous backdrops, trees, snow, and wooden cabins are recurrent elements within her works. Yet, rather than conveying specific spatial or temporal reference points, they revolve around the expression of atmospheres and subjective moods, and frequently appear to merge the past, the present, and the future.
Andersson was born in 1962 in Luleå, Sweden. She studied from 1986 to 1993 at the Kungl Konsthögskolan in Stockholm, where she continues to live and work.
Since 2004, Andersson's work has been represented by David Zwirner. The Lost Paradise, the artist’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery, was on view in New York in 2020. Previous shows include Behind the Curtain (2015); Who is sleeping on my pillow (2010), a two-person exhibition with Jockum Nordström; and Rooms Under the Influence (2006), which marked the artist's United States debut.
In 2021, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark presented a solo exhibition of the artist’s work, Mamma Andersson: Humdrum Days. In 2018 to 2019, a solo presentation of Andersson’s work titled Memory Banks was on view at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2011, the artist’s work was the subject of a solo exhibition at Museum Haus Esters in Krefeld, Germany. She had her first museum solo show in the United States at the Aspen Art Museum, Colorado, in 2010, and her first solo exhibition in Ireland at the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, in 2009. In 2007, a critically acclaimed, midcareer survey of her work was organized by Moderna Museet, Stockholm, which traveled to Kunsthalle Helsinki and the Camden Arts Centre, London.
For the 33rd Bienal de São Paulo in 2018, Andersson curated the group presentation Stargazer II, which featured a number of the artist's own paintings.
In 2006, the artist won the Carnegie Art Award, a prestigious prize for Nordic contemporary painting, and received a corresponding exhibition that traveled extensively throughout Europe. Her work was also represented in the Nordic Pavilion at the 50th Venice Biennale, Dreams and Conflicts – The Viewer’s Dictatorship, in 2003.
Work by the artist is represented in museum collections that include the Dallas Museum of Art; Göteborgs Konstmuseum, Gothenburg, Sweden; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark; Magasin III, Stockholm; Malmö Konstmuseum, Sweden; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Public Art Council, Stockholm; and Västerås Konstmuseum, Sweden.