Thanks to a generous donation, 10 photographic portraits by Hans Gedda have been added to the Swedish National Portrait Gallery. With his creative interpretations and unexpected manifestations, Gedda adds another dimension to the subjects portrayed, who include Evert Taube, Hans Alfredson, Tage Danielsson, Nils Poppe, Niklas Ek and Sara Lidman.
As a photographer, Hans Gedda works with a very wide range of genres: still life, nature, documentary, not to mention portraits. The various genres overlap and merge into one another. Is the photograph of a saw blade, a nail and a glass shard a still life or a self-portrait? Really it doesn’t matter – Gedda’s photography transcends boundaries.
Hans Gedda’s portraits are creative interpretations of their subjects and frequently bear little resemblance to the stereotyped image of the person concerned. In some cases, Gedda has established new patterns that have influenced other photographers. We often recognize these images when we see them, but are not always aware of who created them. One such example is the well-known photograph of Evert Taube listening.
Unexpected manifestations in the portraits add another dimension to our perception of the subjects. Hans Alfredson, Tage Danielsson and Nils Poppe are chiefly known to Swedish audiences as comedians. Gedda portrays them in serious contemplation – the basis of all truly good humour. The author Sara Lidman, known for her depictions of rural Västerbotten in northern Sweden, is pictured in an urban setting in front of a dilapidated concrete wall. The dancer Niklas Ek is presented as a boxer in the ring. Sven Stolpe, the outspoken writer and intellectual, is confronted by a younger version of his own self.
Hans Gedda’s photography can be interpreted on multiple levels, which makes it all the more interesting. The onlooker is invited to contemplate both the image and the subject.
With its generous donation of 10 photographic portraits by Hans Gedda, the Kjell and Märta Beijer Foundation has enriched the Swedish National Portrait Gallery with a series of fascinating, innovative human portrayals.
Eva-Lena Karlsson, Curator Collections and Swedish National Portrait Gallery
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Hanna Tottmar, Press Officer
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Hans Gedda, Evert Taube, Hans Alfredson and Tage Danielsson and Nils Poppe, gelatin silver print, reprint 2012.