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Alchemy by Saara Ekström at Bildmuseet

Press Release   •   May 27, 2016 12:51 GMT

Saara Ekström, Phantasma (video still), 2016. © Saara Ekström

On Sunday 12 June Bildmuseet opens an exhibition with a selection of artist Saara Ekström’s latest works; video, photograpy, installation and sound based on her fascination with alchemical processes. Press preview on Thursday 9 June, at 10:00. Welcome!

The exhibition Fouad Elkoury / The Greatest Day is presented to the media on the same occasion, and both artists will be present. Also participating is Laura Köönikkä, Curator at the Finnish Art Agency.

Saara Ekström / Alchemy. Life and death, blooming and withering, attraction and repulsion challenge each other in Saara Ekström’s provocative aesthetics. She brings together contrasting phenomena in unexpected, unsettling ways and questions culturally bound notions of what objects and materials symbolise. Saara Ekström works mainly with photography and video, but also with text, sound and sculptural installations. The exhibition title Alchemy refers to a process in which symbolic values are refined and modified.

In the three-channel video installation Phantasma (2016), the camera transports the viewer through the dreamy, delirious and dilapidated rooms of an aquarium that opened in Copenhagen in 1939. Another work in the exhibition is a new series of photographs that puts the focus on things that we encounter daily but rarely truly observe. Car tyres, plastic chairs and other items are re-contextualized to form peculiar compositions.

Inventory (2016) is in the form of a newspaper. Using text and archive images, depicting the fate of the reclusive brothers Langley and Homer Collyer under the pressure of hoarded possessions. 

Collecting, categorising and trash is also a theme in the video work Oracles (2016). It connects anthropologically significant objects with pseudo-anthropological material – trash collected from the streets. Alchemy (2016) is a site specific piece, connecting and relating the other works in the exhibition.

Saara Ekström (b. 1965, Finland) has exhibited in the USA, Brazil, Japan and various places in Europe. Her work is held in numerous public collections and she has been nominated for prestigious awards, including the Ars Fennica and the Carnegie Art Award.

The exhibition is curated in collaboration with Laura Köönikkä, Finnish Art Agency. Thanks to the Swedish-Finnish Cultural Foundation.

Press preview: Thursday 9 June, at 10:00-12:00
Press images: www.bildmuseet.umu.se/current_press_images
Opening: Sunday 12 June, at 14:00

Further information

Questions on the preview, images, slots for interviews:
Helena Vejbrink, Communications Officer Bildmuseet
helena.vejbrink@bildmuseet.umu.se, 090-786 9073

Questions on Saara Ekström’s exhibition:
Katarina Pierre, Director Bildmuseet
katarina.pierre@bildmuseet.umu.se, 090-786 9632

Bildmuseet exhibits contemporary international art, photography, architecture, design and other forms of visual culture. Existential, political and philosophical issues are key to the programme. Bildmuseet received a Special Commendation from the European Museum of the Year jury last year, and was one of the top candidates för the Swedish Museum of the Year Award as well as for the Council of Europe Museum Prize.

Bildmuseet is a part of Umeå University. It is housed in an acclaimed building at the Umeå Arts Campus, right next to the Umeå Academy of Fine Arts, Umeå Institute of Design, Umeå School of Architecture and Humlab-X. Umeå university is a multifaced university where studies and research within the creative realm make up an important part of the universty's cornerstone. It is one of Sweden's largest institutions of higher learning with over 32,000 students and 4,200 employees.

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