This spring, Moderna Museet Malmö will provide an insight into the rich legacy of Nordic photography with A Way of Life – Swedish Photography from Christer Strömholm until Today. From 1 February until 18 May, the exhibition will showcase over 300 images from 29 photographers including legendary names such as Strömholm and Anders Petersen, as well as three younger contemporary photographers all working in Sweden, or strongly connected to its photographic tradition.
Exploring the way in which Swedish artists aimed to bring a more personal and artistic dimension to documentary photography, this exhibition focuses on the private, intrusive and subjective nature of imagery from a period spanning the 1940s to the present day. The work of Strömholm is at the centre of the collection. A leading figure in Scandanavian photography, Strömholm is renowned for his black-and-white photos which touch on taboos and the hidden side of society. Perhaps his most well-known work is Les amies de Place Blanche, in which he produced incredibly personal portraits of the transsexuals of Place Blanche in Paris. Merging portraiture and documentary, this trailblazing collection was hugely influential and has become an iconic depiction of the gritty side of 1960’s Paris.
Strömholm’s intimate style has been mimicked by a rich legacy of Swedish artists including Kenneth Gustavsson and Anders Petersen, both of whom studied under Strömholm at the Fotoskolan in Stockholm. Subcultures and the intimacy of the human body remain popular topics for these, and many other Scandinavian practitioners. Carrying Strömholm’s influence into the 21st century is the work of contemporary photographers JH Engström, Anna Clarén and Martin Bogren. Emerging in the 1990s, these three photographers highlight the exciting diversity of the current scene. Although their styles differ – from Clarén’s bright colour portraits, to Bogren’s dark depiction of the Skăne countryside – they have all inherited the intimate touch of Strömholm.
Bringing these three periods of photography into dialogue with one another for the first time, Moderna Museet aims to reveal the fascinating evolution of Swedish photography over the last 60 years.
A Way of Life – Swedish Photography from Christer Strömholm until Today, 1 February – 18 May 2014, Moderna Museet Malmö, Gasverksgatan 22, Malmö, Sweden.
1. Christer Strömholm, Pigalle, Paris, 1955/1981 © Christer Strömholm/Strömholm Estate.