CFHill Gallery – Charlotte Gyllenhammar – Believe My Eyes – February 18 to March 18, 2022 – Västra Trädgårdsgatan 9, Stockholm
Opening hours: Tue–Fri, 12 PM–5 PM / Saturday, 12 PM–4 PM
ABOUT the artist
This text is an excerpt from the book entitled Charlotte Gyllenhammar, published in conjunction with the Private Idiot exhibition at Kulturhuset, Stockholm, Sweden
Charlotte Gyllenhammar’s artistry is among the most idiosyncratic and expressive within contemporary Swedish art. Many of her works represent states of mind or highly emotionally charged situations that often provoke in the viewer a reaction of creeping anxiety and fascination.
Ever since the early 1990s, she has shown impressive consistency in exploring issues central to the question of identity and the conditions governing artistic creativity. Her art keeps returning to themes such as falling, the borders between outer and inner space, the limits of the private sphere, lack of freedom, memories and threatening images. She also frequently touches on concepts such as beauty and femininity.
Her art is imbued with a recurring surrealistic aspect – an aspect that nevertheless remains extremely subtle. Her imagery is not surrealist in the traditional sense, but rather uses a sense of disorientation to introduce or suggest alternative states. The full impact of these is felt if you allow the work to take possession.
Although originally trained as a painter, Gyllenhammar has increasingly moved in the direction of film and three-dimensional installations. Her painting has escaped its frame and taken over the entire room. She made her debut with Bursting in 1991 – a work that attracted widespread attention and that could be considered a violent attack directed against a woman. The work is further developed in the current exhibition – but this time it is public space that comes under attack.
In 1993 she suspended a 120 years-old oak tree upside down above Stockholm’s Drottninggatan. She called the piece Die for You. The upside-down body recurs in several of her pieces. One such work is Fall (1999) in which a woman is suspended upside down. The skirt, billowing around her, suggests a flower or a vagina. In Vertigo (2002), a permanent installation at Wanås in Skåne, Gyllenhammar blasted a chamber deep below ground, then faithfully recreated her studio in it – only upside down. The visitor finds himself walking on the ceiling and contemplating furniture and other objects suspended from the floor.
In recent years, Gyllenhammar’s installations have come to include snippets of newsreels. Her exhibition Obstacles and Disguises (2004) at Galleri Charlotte Lund in Stockholm shows German policemen, armed and in disguise, moving stealthily over the rooftops of the Olympic village in Munich 30 years ago. Palestinian terrorists are holding Israeli athletes hostage. The attempt to free them ends in disaster – all hostages are killed. The games have been transformed into terror and fear. In an adjoining room, a sculpture of a young girl wearing gym shorts hangs quietly from her knees in a trapeze.
ABOUT the exhibition
“Where language ends, image begins.”
Contemplating a long career in art can produce quite different experiences of times gone by. Some people seem to follow rather linear paths, with a branch or two along the way. But when it comes to Charlotte Gyllenhammar, it’s more like walking through a landscape. Your surroundings seem familiar. The signs are all the same, the basic principles are the ones you expect. But it seems as though the image deepens a little each time. A tactile spatiality emerges; pure, simple, and stringent.
In her new exhibition at CFHILL, Gyllenhammar presents entirely new works, which in her case tends to mean reformulations of some of her established constants: the worktable, the mountain, the child, the relief, human proportions, and the relationships between the objects. Engaging in dialogue with, or perhaps simply referring to, Sprängning and its inverted reliefs, is Turn, Prostrate, Elevate, which manifests as convex shapes protruding into the space. Figures, facing away from us, with their arms extended, so that the garments they are draped in take on the shape of a mountain. Also recurring is the worktable, the absolute epicentre of the studio and the artist’s life, the true “zero point”. The surface of the table is the place where only the most essential items can be granted sufficient leeway to reclaim every bit of their spatiality. It’s tempting to compare Gyllenhammar’s work to that of a philosopher. Initially, her thought is wild, and bold. Next, she sends it out into the world, to test it against other realities. Will it hold? If it does, it can be adjusted afterwards, yes, even subjected to violence, to push its durability to the limit. Her eye for the vulnerable aspects of humanity and her consistent and severe, yet loving and playful, relationship with materials combine to make her one of the most significant Swedish artists of her generation.
Charlotte Gyllenhammar belongs to a generation of artists who entered their professions at a time when the art world was undergoing extensive changes. Modernism, with its utopian faith in universals, had definitely imploded under the weight of new ideas and impulses that were arriving from other sources than the customary Western, white ones. Indian artist Anish Kapoor, whose works Gyllenhammar encountered during her time in London, was an important influence, as was the anti-academic anarchist Marie-Louise Ekman, who was the first-ever female vice-chancellor of the Royal Institute of Art.
Believe My Eyes will be Charlotte Gyllenhammar’s first major solo exhibition at CFHILL. We feel privileged to have been granted this opportunity to develop this presentation with her.
— Introduction to Charlotte Gyllenhammar Believe My Eyes. February 11, 2022.
ABOUT the gallery
CFHILL is an international art space and art advisory in central Stockholm, situated in a 17th-century palace. Since its inception in 2015, CFHILL has presented over fifty exhibitions across a vast range of artists including; Hilma af Klint, Sheila Hicks, Sonia Delaunay, Yayoi Kusama, Donna Huanca, Jean Dubuffet, Carsten Höller, Carl Larsson, Olafur Eliasson, Anders Zorn, Lucio Fontana, Keith Haring, Roy Lichtenstein, Niki de Saint Phalle, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Vilhelm Hammershöi, Andy Warhol, Aaron Garber Maikovska, Ryan McGinley, Annie Morris, Yayoi Kusama, Donna Huanca & Amoako Boafo.
CFHILL operates as an independent and open source in a global network of artists, curators, galleries and collectors, with the ambition to create a dialogue across generations of artists. Previous exhibitions that have been curated by CFHILL or in collaboration with; Melanie Lum (US/China), Francesca Gavin (UK), Sandra Weil (Tel Aviv), Rick Herron (US), Sophie Mörner (US), Javier Peres (Berlin), Destinee Ross-Sutton (New York) and revolved around themes such as gender, sexuality, politics and race.
CFHILL’s leading independent art advisory is active across the entire spectrum of the global art market. Our Art Advisory team helps guide our clients through the global art market by combining art-historical knowledge with market intelligence and commercial expertise. We have created numerous art collections for private collectors as well as for corporations and institutions. The SEB art collection is an example of this, which holds one of the most extensive corporate collections of Nordic art.
CFHILL’s private sales team provides personal and confidential advisory, executed with substantial market knowledge to Scandinavian and international clients. The private sales team has previously placed works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Fernand Léger, Ed Ruscha, Imi Knoebel, Richard Artschwager, Robert Mangold, Kenneth Noland, John Chamberlain, Konrad Klapheck, Sam Francis & Andy Warhol among others.
CFHILL’s flagship art space is located on Västra Trädgårdsgatan 9 in the heart of Stockholm, where the art is presented over two floors in five different galleries. During 2020 CFHILL had a pop-up art space on Malmskillnadsgatan 38B, where artists across generations were highlighted through innovative exhibition initiatives.
CFHILL was founded and led by Michael Storåkers, Executive Chairman and Head of Contemporary, Anna-Karin Pusic, CEO and Head of Specialists, and Michael Elmenbeck Creative Director and Head of Exhibitions.
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