WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY: AM
With the summer holidays in full swing, it is important to keep young (and old) minds active during the long lazy days of summer and what better way than to head over to your local museum. We are lucky enough to live on the Swedish west coast slightly north of the university city of Lund. It is a very charming city - imagine a Danish inspired Oxford if you will - full of historic architecture that is beautifully broken up by Scandinavian modernist buildings here and there. A perfect example of this old meets new can be found at the Museum of Artistic Process, or Skissernas (the sketches) Museum, where nowadays concrete meets corten steel meets birch plywood - seamlessly melting the new into the old.
This museum focuses on the role of sketches within the artistic process - more often than not sketches of artwork intended for public spaces - with over 30,000 works by both international and Swedish artists. It was founded in 1934 by Ragnar Josephson primarily as an archive. As professor of Art History he saw the opportunity to study the artistic process through sketches and he realised that as artists use their sketches as a creative tool, the sketches therefore provided a unique insight into the working methods of the artists, showing how ideas are investigated and explored, revealing how eventually the pieces of art will take shape.
With a combination of permanent collections and temporary exhibitions, this really is a fascinating place to visit. In the international gallery you can marvel at the sketches, from small pencil drawing to large scale flamboyant works of art from the likes of Joan Miró, Henry Moore and Henri Matisse. In many ways these sketches are more interesting than the final pieces because of the unique insight they offer, the chance to understand how the artist came to the end result with our questions becoming answered within the process.
In the heart of the museum the Birgit Rausing hall can be found, a simply perfect place for an exhibition - or a gathering - an inner courtyard sandwiched between buildings offering an urban vibe - a stylish, highly polished concrete winter garden where you can currently see the first solo exhibition in the Nordic region by the American artist Swoon, originally a street artist from New York, today she works in urban areas as well as in museums and other venues. Her work often consists of large portraits inspired by people she meets in everyday life, through her work she examines social issues and today's environmental and climate change. The site specific Haven project is about the refugees she met from Syria and Afghanistan. She also works with community-based projects that help people after natural disasters and other crises such as Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the earthquake in Haiti.
When Patrick Amsellem - formerly of the Brooklyn Museum - took over as Director and Chief Curator he had a vision of making this unique museum more broadly accessible as well as wanting to gain a place on the international art map. In order to make his vision a reality he realised it needed to start with the building itself and currently you can see an exhibition by Elding Oscarson, the young studio behind the most recent addition to the museum. Jonas Elding and Johan Oscarson - both graduates from the School of Architecture in Lund - can be credited with giving the museum a much needed lift into the 21st century. The new corten steel clad extension is almost Donald Judd like in its appearance and inside it shows the firms penchant for paired down, soft Scandinavian minimalism combined with a great use of volume and light. Just like the corten steel changes colour with weather and time, the concrete and birch plywood interior changes its tonal range as the light shifts throughout the day thanks to their playful - but fully intentional - placement of the numerous differently sized windows. The extension houses a grand entry hall, a museum shop and a restaurant for which Elding Oscarson also designed all the furnishings to be produced by Källemo specifically for this project. The exhibition of their work shows their three dimensional architectural models and offers a unique insight into their artistic process. Model construction is an essential tool for architects, as it offers the ability to relate to a project, both as the architect and the client as well as a way of understanding scale and proportion, in this way they can make the project come alive and therefore gain control over the end results.
Next up for the museum in September will be the first exhibition in Scandinavia for the British artist Andy Goldsworthy, an innovative artist whose collaborations with nature, deeply rooted in the social context and history of a landscape, produce uniquely intense pieces of art. We cannot wait to see his work juxtaposed in this place - we are certainly now looking forward to autumn just to see what he creates in this inspiring space.
Should you need a little break from all this art, we can highly recommend lunch (or dinner for that matter) at the museum restaurant På Skissernas (At The Sketches). Trust us when we say that this is not your usual museum fare, featuring a rather more sophisticated choice of delights from the charcuterie plate of local cheeses and homemade pork scratchings, to the local seafood or perhaps even some of the local lamb will take your fancy, whatever you choose you will not be disappointed - this is ambitious Nordic cuisine. Afterwards you can stroll around the leafy streets surrounding the museum, just feeling happy and rather content.