Steinsland Berliner – Arvida Byström – Artificial Scarcity – September 24 to October 23, 2021 – Bondegatan 70, 116 33 Stockholm, Sweden
ABOUT the artist
Arvida Byström (born October 4, 1991) is a Swedish artist, who is mainly known as a photographer and model, but who also makes music. She is based in Los Angeles, London and Stockholm. She cooperates with many magazines and brands such as Nasty Gal, Monki, Wonderland Magazine, Lula Magazine, Vice, Rookie, Garage Magazine, Baby Baby Baby magazine and I heart magazine.
Byström started taking pictures at age 12 with a digital camera, and took a lot of selfies to “know the truth about how the world sees you”. Initially inspired by Tumblr, she started posting pictures on her account and taking part in a community of female artists questioning feminity and gender standards, using a so-called “girly” aesthetic and “girly coded stuff”. Byström also took pictures about period-related things in the series There Will Be Blood, published in Vice, on 17 May 2012.She also assumed and valorized female body hair during this period.
Byström then moved to London to become more independent. She made her first fashion series for Monki and created her own gallery space, GAL, with fellow photographer and friend Hanna Antonsson. Through GAL they curated emerging artists for one night shows. In spite of this, Byström still positioned herself as being more a part of popular culture than the art world.
As a member of the female collective The Ardorous, Byström presented some of her photographs in Babe – a book published in May 2015, including the work of 30 other female artists, curated by Petra Collins.
The same year, Byström took part in the exhibition Girls At Night On The Internet, curated by Grace Miceli, together with artists such as Collins, Molly Soda and Maggie Dunlap. The show dealt with the misrepresentation of young artists in the art world and showcased their work.
Taking part in creating an online culture that aims at reinventing body norms and self-empowerment, Byström created a performance with the artist Maja Malou Lyse, which was called Selfie Stick Aerobics, a tutorial aimed to teach participants how to take better selfies while accepting their bodies to make them feel beautiful. In October 2015, Byström and Lyse published a video about this performance on YouTube.
Byström explores self-identity as a queer woman and questions sexualized women’s bodies. She decided to put together a book with the artist Molly Soda about Instagram censorship, called Pics or It Didn’t Happen: Images Banned From Instagram. The book was released in March 2017 and showcases mostly pictures of women’s bodies that Instagram has taken down.
ABOUT the exhibition
Gallery Steinsland Berliner is proud to present Artificial Scarcity, a solo exhibition containing photography, sculptures and digital works by Swedish artist Arvida Byström.
With works in executions ranging between virtual and material, from digital works to marble sculptures, Artificial Scarcity explores the economic conditions of an artistic practice. A visual language with thematic influences from economic bubbles, NFT:s and crypto currencies highlights the relationship between art and money – specifically how our relationship to objects change when their prices fluctuate.
NFT:s are a way to make digital works unique and have divided the art world during the last year. A great advantage of the digital medium is the possibility of creating limitless copies for free, should we then be striving to make this medium exclusive? That being said, artists with a primarily digital practice often have difficulties making money on their art as the art world often prices art works in relation to their rarity.
Tulips and teddy bears are recurring symbols in the exhibition as they have both been subject to economic bubbles hundreds of years apart. Teddy bears, specifically “Beanie Babies” from the brand “Ty” experienced a startling economic bubble during the late 90s in the US. The teddy bears were cleverly marketed as collector’s items and gave rise to a large demand causing buyers to spend their hard-earned assets just to later lose everything as they entered the speculative phase too late. Tulip mania is perhaps the most famous and fabled economic bubble. It refers to a period during the 1600s in the Netherlands when the market for tulip bulbs quickly escalated only to crash. The truthfulness of the event is disputed but the event is used as an example of similar chains of events.
Artificial Scarcity is Arvida Byström’s (b. 1991, Stockholm) second solo ehibition with Gallery Steinsland Berliner. She has lived and worked in London, Los Angeles, New York and Stockholm. Her previous exhibition Cherry Picking has been shown at Fotografiska in Stockholm, Museum der bildenden Künsten (Leipzig, DE) and Centre for Contemporary Photography (Melbourne, AU) among other places.
ABOUT the gallery
Gallery Steinsland Berliner is a contemporary art gallery established in 2008 by Jeanette Steinsland and Jacob Kampp Berliner.
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