Mamma Andersson -
25 – 28 Old Burlington Street, London, W1S 3AN
Stephen Friedman Gallery is delighted to announce an
exhibition of new paintings by established Swedish artist
Mamma Andersson.This is the artist’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery and follows
highly acclaimed survey shows at Moderna Museet, Sweden;
Camden Arts Centre, UK and Aspen Art Museum, USA.
Born in 1962, Andersson paints from her subconscious, creating complex compositions that bring together a
variety of sources including Nordic figurative painting, folk art, film imagery and her personal history. This
exhibition shows the development of Andersson's recognisable painterly style in sensuous new paintings
populated by ghostly figures amid dreamlike interiors and seemingly calm vistas.
The title of the exhibition, ‘Gooseberry’, refers to the bittersweet fruit: its complex taste bound by its prickly
and yet beautiful translucent exterior. It also draws to mind the English expression ‘to play gooseberry’
whereby someone feels alienated, observing a scene but not being a part of it. Such intertwining and hidden
analogies resonate strongly with Andersson who delights in hinted and disjointed narratives. Her paintings
invite our reading through their enticing familiarity, and yet deny a specific storyline, much like disparate film
stills suspended in time. The viewer becomes an outside voyeur, drawn in to untangle the artist’s vision.
Andersson takes a collagist approach to her source imagery, drawing from both personal and public
spheres. In two complimentary paintings entitled 'Hello’ and ‘Goodbye', Andersson uses a found image of the
interior of a burgled clock shop, taken from a photograph of the crime scene. Reflected onto each canvas, akin
to a Rorschach ink blot, we see in ‘Hello’ the artist's grandfather approaching us and in its counterpart her
mother is walking away. Andersson states: 'On one side this has come to be a very personal piece, but at the
same time it is very general'.
During her painting process Andersson’s technique changes from meticulous detail to gestural abstraction, as
loose washes give way to stark lines, thick impasto and graphic figuration. Inspired by Japanese print-making,
she uses oil on board to layer textures and in this exhibition uses broad applications of dark paint. This is seen
particularly in ‘Family Ties’ where a group of otherworldly, brooding figures are joined together in a haunting
circle dance. Alternating between sparse and concentrated brushstrokes, Andersson conjures up emotive
scenarios that speak to the human condition.
Hallucinatory and enigmatic, the paintings in ‘Gooseberry’ present the artist’s distinct and personal visual
language imbued with a sense of mystery and magic.