I use myths to unearth the hidden, misunderstood, or plundered history of women in different cultures. I give my works a distinct and insatiable feminist perspective. As the world has expanded over time, the role of myth, folklore, and legend has shifted in the larger creative consciousness, functioning in cultural and archaeological terms across languages and experiences.
Metamorphosis refers to changing a physical form, structure, or substance, especially by supernatural means; a striking change in appearance, character, or circumstance.
Folklore can be perceived as helping to create meaning and coherence in life and providing hope and strength to carry on in difficult situations. Drawing on the heritage of ancient folklore and magic in figurative painting I use old stories to create new visual lexicons.
My work combines the cosmological thinking of ancient cultures, their complex mythologies, and spiritual vocabularies with my own imagined worlds. I synthesize them into stories that are both futuristic and archaic. Mixing cultural or historical features in my stories, I use the ordinary to depict the epic, the universal, and the transient, in a search for worlds beyond our own.
A series of portraits Changing geographies is about a gaze which shifts depending on who is looking. Are images found in archives, books, on internet, postcards, tourist snap shots a true representation of a person portrayed? Are they authentic? Who decides on that? Are they faking, mimicking and copying the past or do they represent the present? And as such, do these portraits represent a certain tradition and customs which one can identity with in the twentieth century? Who can do that? A person portrayed, the one taking a picture or the one looking at the picture? Do these portraits represent a tourist gaze and something exotic or something local? Exotic or local for whom? Does only western values and perspectives count? Who is in the position to judge which tradition is “better"? Who owns tradition? Is cultural heritage fixed within a certain time only or can it grow freely with time allowing “outside” and new traditions, customs, design, language to be part of it?
Western culture defines minorities and ethnic groups from a colonial point of view. What we have learned at the school, from our history, from our parents and from media makes us superior (we think) of the truths and description of others, those who we do not identify us with.
I search internet, museum archives and flee markets for traditional portraits of women in folk costumes. Some of them idealize and shift reality depending on who took the picture. Some portraits look like a vacation snapshot. Some are part of a ethnographical research or a documentation of customs and traditions already lost and forgotten. Some are used in tourism-related marketing. In my research I come across a modern representation of traditional customs and as well portraits taken many years ago, copied and reconstructed. I make a new copy of an already copied image. I take titles directly from a found source. I choose portraits randomly from all around the world but I often come across similar patterns and styles.
Negotiating authenticity. In search of an ideal, takes different perspectives on a Swedish landscape surrounding the lake of Siljan, based on circumstances and philosophical undertones. I examine local myths by creating historical hybrids in my works. The sublime Swedish landscape surrounding the lake of Siljan, described by H.C. Andersen in 1851 as a poor land rich in beauty, has helped the future generations to ignore the painful, shameful and ugly. Myths have a narrative pattern that gives meaning to our existence. Whether the meaning of life is only that which we through our individual power supply life, as Sartre would argue, or there is a sense in which we must discover, as Kierkegaard would say, the result is the same: the myths are our way to find this meaning and importance.
Negotiating authenticity. In search of an ideal, explores myths in the context of history. Through a transdisciplinary approach, the project investigates understandings of tradition, belonging, discrimination, and customs that attempt to normalize romantic nationalism. These norms are justified through historical ethnic narratives exclusively permitting representation of a romantic ideal. Folklore developed as a romantic nationalist concept to create an idealized collection of tales which are labeled as ethnic. History is not static or complete. How can we be sure that it is genuine? And how can we measure it? We repeat it and take it for granted. I dismantle the history of a place that is a role model or has an established structure that is hard to question today. From previous generations, we take over the customs, practices and traditions, which live on in our culture. But who owns tradition and who interprets it? Tradition is ambiguous and essential to the cultural identity. It is also used to enhance local and national identity in many different ways.
What is history? How precisely our time on earth is portrayed partly due to events in the past and how our ancestors shaped the world we live in today. But writing history can be seen as a science or as a creative literary activity. History creates our identity as individuals and as a nation. But the substance is intended to create the basis for identity and stability or to provide a basis for criticism of consolidating truths?
During my research, I collect local folk stories, copy facts from history books and modern interior design magazines and look through the archives to find material. But it is impossible to represent all voices, and I also face a choice. Therefore, transparency is important technique in my work combined with graphite, painting in oil and acrylic.
My work starts by collecting historical material about a place or a person. The starting point is always in a modern story or a place I visit. I reconstruct history by collecting different voices as witnesses. Places I visit and recreate in my paintings are filled with layers of these quiet tenants. I want to give them space to retell stories that we forgot or never heard before, to thereby be able to see them from a different perspective, linked to the present.
People and their traditional roles - those imposed and acknowledged by us; feelings and emotions; individual versus collective - all these are core notions in my work.
Since the beginning of my artistic career, I purposefully examined and commented on our society, asked philosophical questions, and was looking for answers through my work. My work is loaded with observations and emotions, showing a wide spectrum of feelings, soft perceptions, and strong human reactions ranging from positive to negative traits in our nature.
I intimately tell a story of life, going into much detail from both the theoretical and technical perspectives. I am interested in creating a unique intimacy between my characters - as an autonomous universe - to compose an overwhelming thus expressive aura, which is explosive at the same time. I want my paintings to be motion pictures on canvas with all complexity of the cinematographic genre.
Born and raised in the mining and industrial city of Katowice, in the last years of communist Poland, with extensive art studies in cosmopolitan London, now living in a rural area in the heart of Sweden, I easily change my angle ofobservation and I am flexible and well experienced for my in depth investigations.
I received BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins in London and graduated from the Konstfack University College of Art, Crafts and Design in Stockholm with an MA in Fine Arts. I have received MFA in Film and TV Production from Krzysztof Kieślowskis Faculty of Radio and Television, University of Silesia in Katowice. I proudly hold a Foundation Diploma in Architecture and Urban Design from The Prince of Wales’s Foundation for the Built Environment in London.
BP Portrait Award 2006 finalist, Columbia Threadneedle Prize 2010 finalist, Celeste Prize New York 2010 finalist and 7th International Arte Laguna Prize finalist, among others. Awarded with a working grant from the Swedish Arts Grants Committee in 2010 and a recipient of Webers/Ribbing/Beskow scholarship 2016 from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm.
I received the Anna-Lisa Thomson Till Minne award in 2016, leading to a group show in 2017 at the Uppsala Konstmuseum and a solo show at the Museum Anna Nordlander in 2018. My work is part of several private and public collections, most notably the Swedish Arts Council, Uppsala konstmuseum, Västerås konstmuseum and The Swedish Heritage Federation.
2014- 2016 MA Fine Art, Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design
2014 Introduction to Artistic Research, Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design
2008- 2009 Högskolan Dalarna, Konstpedagogik
1997- 2000 BA (Hons) Fine Art, Byam Shaw at Central Saint Martins
1996- 1997 Foundation Diploma in Architecture and Urban Design, The Prince of Wales’s Foundation for the Built Environment
1993- 1999 MFA Film and TV Production, University of Silesia, Krzysztof Kieślowskis Faculty of Radio and Television
Solo Exhibitions and Projects
2022 Metamorphosis – Rättviks konsthall , 4/6–21/8 2022
2018 Changing geographies, Museum Anna Nordlander
2016 Den begravda jätten, Avesta konsthall
2016 Negotiating Authenticity. In Search of an Ideal, Spring Exhibition, Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design
2016 Face Negotiation, Galleri Hörnan, Falun
2015 Negotiating Authenticity. In Search of an Ideal, Fine Arts Master Exhibition, Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design
2015 The Tacit Dimension, Rättviks konsthall
2014 Face Negotiation, Student Union Gallery, Konstfack
2014 "Vi lämnar avtryck", Tällbergs skola, Statens konstråd
2014 Home, Society's Best Asylum, Galleria L'Occhio
The Special Prize Art Gallery at the 7th International Arte Laguna Prize
2013 Aesthetic as identity, Galleria “Clou – Circolo d’arte contemporanea”,Ragusa, Curator: Francesco Lucifora
2010 Alias Maria Johansson, Konsthall C, Centrifug, Stockholm
2007 IASPIS-Work in fokus , Stockholm
2006 The space between, Edsvik Konsthall , Stockholm
2005 Dreamworld, Dalarnas Museum, Falun
2004 Mamma, Leksands Konstmuseum , Leksand
2003 Society beauties from every dacade, Polska Institutet , Stockholm
Selected Group Exhibitions
2020 Liljevalchs konsthall, Vårsalongen 2020, Stockholm
2018 Liljevalchs konsthall, Vårsalongen 2018, Stockholm
2017 Anna-Lisa Thomson Till Minne, Stipendiatutställningen, Uppsala konstmuseum
2016 Stipendiatutställningen, Konstakademien/The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Stockholm
2016 Moving Art Project,Stockholm, Falun, Karlstad, Växjö, Jönköping, Malmö, Göteborg, Östersund
2015 Hungry Eyes, Gallery Platform, Stockholm
2014- 2015 Dalagrafik på väg, Leksands kulturhus, Gallery Nadezda Petrovic/Serbien, Tobetsu/Japan
2013 Svenska Hus Ensligt Belägna, Magasinet, Falun
2013 7th International Arte Laguna Prize, Arsenale Venice/ Italy, Selected work: Raison d'être, acrylic, graphite and wash on canvas, 100x81cm, The Special Prize Art Gallery
2012 Atlantic Center for the Arts, artists-in-residence program
2012 15x15x15, Konstnärshuset, Stockholm
2012 Prima Linea (First Line), Clou - Circle of Contemporary, Ragusa/Italy, Curator: Cecilia Freschini
2012 Liljevalchs konsthall, Vårsalongen 2012, Stockholm
2012 Plein air, Galleri Se, Falun
2011 Liljevalchs konsthall, Vårsalongen 2011, Stockholm
2010 The Columbia Threadneedle Prize Finalist, London
2010 Celeste Prize Finalist, The Invisible Dog Art Centre, New York
2007 Lijevalchs konsthall, Vårsalongen 2007, Stockholm
2006 BP Portrait Award Finalist 2006, National Portrait Gallery, London
2004 Vägskäl, CROSSROADS 2004 Art Exhibition, Leksands Kulturhus
2004 Konst på Noret, Under mina fötter, site-specific project, Leksand
Grants and awards
2016 Anna-Lisa Thomson Till Minne
2016 Webers/Ribbing/Beskow stipendium till unga konstnärer och konststudenter, Konstakademien/The Royal Academy of Fine Arts
2015 Byggnads Kulturstipendium
2013 7th International Arte Laguna Prize, The Special Prize Art Gallery
2012 500 Portraits - BP Portrait Award
To coincide with the twenty-first anniversary of the BP Portrait Award, the National Portrait Gallery has published a book celebrating the range of artists and portraits that have been selected for the Award since 1990. My work "Leon" has been selected to be reproduced in the book 500 Portraits - BP Portrait Award
2012 Artist in Residence, Atlantic Center for the Arts, FL/USA
2010 Art Grant Recipient / Sveriges Bildkonstnärsfonds Arbetsstipendium
Uppsala konstmuseum, Västerås konstmuseum, Region Dalarna, Avesta kommun, Region Uppsala, Leksands kommun, Rättviks kommun, Sveriges Hembygdsförbund