Rooms Under the Influence Press Release
May 8—June 17, 2006
Opening on May 8, 2006, David Zwirner is pleased to present the first U.S. solo exhibition by Swedish painter Mamma Andersson. Among the artist's current and upcoming exhibitions are Essential Painting at the National Museum of Art in Osaka, Japan; Back to the Figure–Contemporary Painting at Die Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung in Munich, Germany; Zones of Contact: 15th Biennale of Sydney in Sydney, Australia; and The Moderna Exhibition 2006 at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden (all 2006). Recent exhibitions include The Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA (2004); The Undiscovered Country at UCLA Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, CA (2004-2005); and MATRIX 213: Some Forgotten Place at UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, CA (2004). Andersson represented Scandinavia in the 2003 Venice Biennale and is the recipient of the highly prestigious 2006 Carnegie Art Award for Nordic art, with a corresponding exhibition that will travel extensively in Europe. In 2007, Andersson will have a mid-career exhibition at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden.
Mamma Andersson's paintings seem to embody a duality that is central to Swedish culture: the interplay of rural and urban aesthetics and the clash of the bourgeois with the everyday. Inspired by theater sets and period interiors, her dreamlike compositions are populated by ghostly figures, shadows, swirling clouds and distant mountains. Andersson's use of windows, reflections, and depictions of paintings within the pictorial space is enhanced by the juxtaposition of thick paint and textured washes, creating a setting for vaguely supernatural occurrences. Seemingly pastoral vistas and calm interiors are sometimes violently interrupted by thick black smoke or blocked-out areas–this, coupled with a palette reminiscent of distressed photographs, imbues Andersson's works with an unpredictability that is equally disturbing and compelling.
This exhibition will consist of 14 paintings that incorporate a shift toward more domestic interiors and nuanced storytelling. Andersson's new works employ a disjointed narrative acted out by human characters as well as personified props such as lamps, tables, chairs, plants, and birch trees, which are all recurring motifs. A highlyintentional cinematic quality is reinforced by Andersson's combination of images and painting techniques. In a description of her work, she states, 'Borrowing and lending, mixing up to see what happens. A kind of unstructured echo of history, where high and low play on equal terms. Constant attempts to portray reality in a way that is not subordinated to reality.'
Mamma Andersson's paintings welcome us into comfortable domestic interiors, lush landscapes, and cozy genre scenes just enough to allow their otherworldly air to take hold. Familiarity gives way to mystery as skewed perspectives, irreconcilable spaces, and the impossible coexistence of circumstances penetrate our consciousness. This air of the supernatural is reinforced by Andersson's technique, as thickly layered paint is juxtaposed with loosely washed areas with deliberately effaced edges.
–Carnegie International, 2004.