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Tensta museum: Reports from New Sweden

Tensta Museum: Reports from New Sweden open October 26, 2013–May 18, 2014, is about the histories and memories of Tensta, both in relation to the place and to the people who live and work there. Tensta’s most tangible feature is a large, late modernist housing area built in 1967–72. Nearly six thousand dwellings share space with iron-age graves, rune stones, one of the Stockholm region’s oldest churches, and a former military training area from the early 20th century, now a natural reserve. Today, around 19,000 people live in Tensta, of whom roughly 90% have translocal backgrounds, many in the Middle East and North Africa.

Some forty artists, architects, local associations, performers, sociologists, cultural geographers, philosophers, and others relate to the past in, for example, art works, research projects, seminars, and guided walks. But “whose history” and “whose heritage” is it? Tensta Museum also touches upon the concept of cultural heritage and the complicated matter of how it is used in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe today. At the same time, the participants will be reporting on the condition of things in Tensta today, on what can be described as the “new Sweden.” Some of them will also be looking forward and proposing future scenarios.

The exhibition offers a richly contrasting patchwork, stretching over seven months, in which manifold interests and means of expression form a narrative. Tensta Museum: Reports from New Sweden will contain a model of a brutalist pavilion in Newcastle, built in 1969, which has been remixed by Thomas Elovsson and Peter Geschwind into something between a spacecraft and a ruin, and moved to Tensta. Satirical drawings about the political situation in Somalia by the exile artist Amin Amir will be shown in parallel with material on Tensta’s architectural history borrowed from the architect Erik Stenberg’s private archive. A collaboration between the artist Petra Bauer and political scientist Sofia Wiberg on the politics of listening will be presented as an installation and a series of acts, jointly with Tensta Hjulsta Women’s Center among others.

During the fall, The Silent University, a project initiated by artist Ahmet Ögüt, starts in Stockholm. The Silent University is an autonomous knowledge exchange platform by and for refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants who have had a professional life and academic training in their home countries, but are unable to use their skills or professional training in Sweden due to a variety of reasons related to their status. The Silent University aims to address and reactivate the knowledge of the participants and attempt to make systemic failure apparent.

Ten watercolor paintings by Josabeth Sjöberg (1812–1882), from the Stockholm City Museum’s collection, will be the starting point for the exhibition’s sub-theme on housing conditions. As an unmarried woman without means, Sjöberg could never afford a place of her own but moved around between various rented rooms on Stockholm’s Södermalm, which she depicted in detail in a number of remarkable watercolors. Together with the Association of Stockholm Architects, a series of lectures dealing with housing conditions and housing construction will be held.

The art collective Järva Project will present an aquarium and a video, which investigates the relationship between fauna and suburbs, nature and the built environment using documentary film methods. The work concerns the rare and protected fish, the stone loach, which lives an anonymous life in the overgrown streams running through the nature reserve, Järvafältet, on the edge of Tensta. In cooperation with the Spånga Local Heritage Society, Tensta Konsthall will show a selection of photographs of Tensta from the Heritage Society’s collection taken prior to the start of the housing estate.

A mini-exhibition is based on an open invitation to a salon about Tensta in words, sounds, and images. The selections of Adam Tensta, a hip-hop artist, Maria Lantz, a photographer and principal of the College of Arts, and Ulrika Flink, an assisting curator at Tensta konsthall, will be presented. Another mini-exhibition highlights the strong interest in late modernist mass housing in art since the 1990s. Other projects will take place at the local library, for example, where people can borrow art using their library cards, and at Ross Tensta High School.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan, John Akomfrah, Ricardo-Osvaldo Alvarado, Arab Image Foundation, Marwa Arsanios, Amin Amir, Tarek Atoui, Petra Bauer & Sofia Wiberg in collaboration with Tensta Hjulsta Women’s Center & Filippa Ståhlhane, Sabine Bitter & Helmut Weber, Boris Buden, Hans Carlsson, Thomas Elovsson & Peter Geschwind, Fernando Garcia Dory, Barakat Ghebrehawariat with Revolution Poetry: Nachla Libre & Yodit Girmay-Abraha, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Terence Gower, Grand Domestic Revolution, Heidrun Holzfeind, Järva Project (Fredrik Ehlin, Patrick Kretschek, Erik Rosshagen), Behzad Khosravi Noori & René León Rosales, Mustafa Kibar, Lisa Kings, Bernd Krauss & Nina Svensson, Kurdish Association Spånga, Katarina Lundgren, Meron Mangasha & Senay Berhe, Helena Mattsson & Meike Schalk, Irene Molina, Marion von Osten, Viktor Rosdahl, Pia Rönicke, Solmaz Shahbazi & Tirdad Zolghadr, Josabeth Sjöberg (1812–1882), Somali Parents and Home Language Association, Spånga Local Heritage Society, STEALTH.unlimited & Peter Lang, Erik Stenberg, Elin Strand Ruin, Adam Tensta, Tensta Hjulsta Women Center, Florian Zeyfang & Lisa Schmidt-Colinet & Alexander Schmoeger, Ahmet Ögüt

Tensta konsthall
Taxingegränd 10
Box 4001
163 04 Spånga
T +46 (0) 8 360 763