PhotoArt - Sajinyesul, December issue 2022, Text and interview by Prof. Min K. Park
PALAZZO TARSIA SPINELLI, NAPLES - 12 OCTOBER 2019 UNTIL 31 JANUARY 2020. THE SWEDISH ARTIST HENRIK STRÖMBERG CREATES A NEW VOCABULARY OF MEANINGS WITH A SCENOGRAPHY OF OBJECTS AND IMAGES.
Morra Foundation opens the doors of the exquisite Palazzo Spinelli Tarsia, in the heart of a authentic and unspoiled Naples, to present an expansive international exhibition perfectly cohesive with the vision of its founder Giuseppe Morra, an enlightened expert and enthusiast of contemporary art to whom, since the 1970s, it’s owed the first presence in Italy of some of the most interesting artists of the international scene.
The choice to welcome Henrik Strömberg (1970), a Swedish artist based in Berlin, in the exhibition Refraction of Lightness, as the result of the artist residency at Casa Morra, under the curatorship of Chiara Valci Mazzara, who has been working on the Berlin scene since years now, and by Loredana Troise, renowned representative of the contemporary art committee of the Foundation, does not deny but rather confirms the key role of Morra Foundation in the Neapolitan territory, nationally and internationally as focused on an unconventional research which aims to reinforce the dialogue with the territory, in the project of the Art District, and with a chorus of experts and enthusiasts who saw the further involvement of the historic Avella Laboratory and Gianluigi Prencipe, masters of screen printing.
FOR A NEW SEMANTIC OF THE OBJECT
In a historical moment of "dictatorship of the object", Henrik Strömberg brings back to the core of his practice the element in its presence and in its absence of physicality conveyed in the poetic and metaphysical cohesion of different media that swifts the barycentre of gravity of the signifier towards the observation of new meanings . The two-dimensionality of cutouts of negatives and photographic fragments in the serigraphs realised at the Avella Laboratory, which are emerging from the perception of the detail, abolishing the boundaries of the passe-partout, flirt with three-dimensional presences, as transparent bellies as echoes of Pompeian vases, which welcome burnt newspapers like seasoned memories , while they assume enigmatic postures as if they were living anthropomorphic presences.
In the minimalism of this vision, in harmony with the heritage of the rayograms and the object trouvée, Strömberg creates an immersive environment in which light and its infinite decompositions trigger a reverse tendency that changes the meanings and opens new interpretative perspectives, enfolding the viewer in an unconscious flow that triggers questions and other perceptive systems, twisting the common meaning of the object.
The evanescent black and white images and the relics of photographic film on large canvases that draw scenographic scenes welcome the frenzy of the creative act as in the primigenial almost totemic shapes of the glass which, in the silence of the presence, seems to be the result of an intellectual impetus that echoes in the signs left by the gesture on Shōzō Shimamoto's Gutai canvases, permanently at Palazzo Spinelli in Tarsia.
Henrik Strömberg's objects are the foundations of the elements of a language that rises to form and content, morphological signs of different semantics in a game of perceptual balances.
- Eloisa Saldari
online version 25/10/2019
printed version Artribune issue november december 2019
THE SHOW “Refraction of Lightness” by Henrik Strömberg is the result of his artist residency at Palazzo Spinelli Tarsia
WHEN THE SELF INTERTWINES LANGUAGES
Refraction of Lightness, is the solo exhibition of the Swedish Henrik Strömberg, born in 1970, who opened yesterday (12 October) and is on view through January 31st at the Shozo Shimamoto Foundation, Palazzo Spinelli Tarsia, where the artist lived for three months, upon invitation of Giuseppe Morra. Included in the dynamic on-going program The Art District, the project, curated by Chiara Valci Mazzara and by whom writes to you now, was born from the idea to connect to the cultural and social investigation about our porous and intricate city, an additional semiotic research, imbued with new relationships, with symbolic references, with meta-meanings of perception: “The history of Morra Foundation, interrelated with the beauties and special characteristics of Naples - explains Chiara Valci Mazzara - allowed the work of Henrik to be further developed, reaching a level of completeness and complexity which adds to his artistic maturity, the additional level of a new awareness ". The exclusive body of works conceived by Strömberg combines the subjective with the analytical spheres, creating an encounter right on the ground of a sort of critical soil which feels as adequate to re-evaluate the arts as a plural field made of complex relationships. An area with which we gradually become familiar, assimilating its never redundant syntactic complexity, the result of a creative process about form and content, about volume and concept, about transformation, multiplication and refraction of thought.
Far from a single defined subject, from a definitive screenplay, Refraction of Lightness, welcomes in itself works made with various heterogeneous materials. First of all, the volumes made of hand-blown glass (in the photos), feels like islands that populate the landscape of the installation which, if on the one hand refers to organic structures, cell multiplication and the mitosis process, on the other hand includes elements that incorporate shapes, burned newspapers and papers selected from the shops in the historic centre. Strömberg places them on pedestals, on wooden slabs or directly on the ground, on a close synergic contact with precious and elaborate serigraphs - realised at Vittorio Avella laboratory of Casa Morra- together with collages and with multi-layered photographs and negatives cut-outs.
The space, dedicated to the master of the Gutai group, besides ephemeral stretches, appears “re-defined by a dense watermark of languages - explains Giuseppe Morra - offering itself to the visitor as a new possible quest about a system of references linked tout court to the creative gesture of the self ”.
Refraction of Lightness, represents a further fascinating chapter on the art of Strömberg, and invites one to go beyond the structure, displaying quality, originality, elegance and lightness. Hence, the awareness of the value granted by the commitment to the research through which the viewer can visually enjoy the pieces, dialoguing with its exceptional aesthetic nuances.
Loredana Troise for IL ROMA, October 13th, 2019
STRÖMBERG AT MORRA
THE SWEDE FROM BERLIN REINTERPRETS NAPLES
The Morra Foundation confirms its strategic line: building experience after experience, laboratorial and exhibitive experiences , building a true "art district" and entrusting its supporting scaffolding to artists residencies and to the site-specific work there conceived and created. Obviously honouring Naples and its territory as a unavoidable parameter of poetic reference. It happened over the time with Hermann Nitsch and Shozo Shimamoto, to each one of whom a foundation is been dedicated, it also happens today (opening reception at 19.00 at Palazzo Tarsia) with the exhibition of Henrik Strömberg, forty-nine years old Swedish artist based in Berlin, "Refraction of Lightness ".
"A title - explains the curator Chiara Valci Mazzara - which lends by itself to a binary interpretation, that of the English word 'lightness' understood as brightness, but also as lightness, both present in Strömberg's work". Strömberg spent three months in Naples, a period in which he was able to appreciate the historically overlapping superfetations of the city architecture, as well as the contrasts between dark and light, typical of the most hidden ravines, as well as the relics of the ancient world present at the Archaeological Museum and in the excavations of Pompeii.
“Those are all references - explains the artist - that are possible to find in my exhibited works, which are also set in dialogue, here, with the gestural works of Shozo Shimamoto, normally exhibited in the large rooms of the Foundation to him dedicated in Palazzo Tarsia". To achieve this result, the path is been divided between the photographic matrix then converted by superimposition into the serigraphs made at Vittorio Avella's laboratories at Casa Morra, and the vitreous matrix, the artist started to work with in Sweden and developed in Berlin, thanks to which Strömberg blows personally the silica paste defining its ever-changing, absolutely lively and palpitating forms, which leave to the observer the task of interpreting its absolutely open meaning. What above described happens then similarly with the photographic elements, cutouts of negatives, works on paper or burnt newspaper that lead the itinerary of an exhibition in which the relationship with space is always dynamic, such as the large scale canvasses and paper sheets reminders of old frames that spread their fabrics out of the rigours of the two-dimensionality, like unwinding rugs that defy environmental and temporal borders.
Prof. Stefano de Stefano, Corriere della Sera, 12 October 2019
MADE OF GLASS AND AIR THE ECOSYSTEM OF STRÖMBERG
From Saturday October 12, 2019 (19.00 opening reception) the exhibition of the Swedish artist "Refraction of Lightness"
by Stella Cervasio and Renata Caragliano for La Repubblica
Henrik Strömberg's work ecosystem takes shape at Palazzo Spinelli in Tarsia, home of the Shozo Shimamoto Foundation. After a period of three months artist’s residency in Naples, upon invitation by the Morra Foundation, the Swedish artist presents "Refraction of lightness" on Saturday at 7.00 pm. The exhibition, curated by Chiara Valci Mazzara and Loredana Troise, is the result of the collaboration between the Morra Foundation and the Avella Laboratory in Naples with Gianluigi Prencipe. In largo Tarsia 2, home of the Japanese master of art Gutai, Shozo Shimamoto (Osaka 1928-2013), the artist from Mälmo (1970, lives and works in Berlin) presents a poetic installation inhabited by works on paper and hand blown glass sculptures that allow oneself to dive in a self-sufficient ecosystem, beyond space and time. These pieces, suggesting new forms, create new content. The philosophy of his work is linked to the idea of metamorphosis, decay and transformation of the materials he gathers and collects to give life to sculptural objects. The concept of stratification casually creates a dialogue in remote with the Japanese artist, author of the famous 2006 performance in Piazza Dante, organised as well by Giuseppe Morra, as well as the one of two years later in the Certosa di San Martino in Capri. With different languages, the deep Northern Europe confronts the Rising Sun. In the first room we find an installation of five times six meters, on which fourty serigraphs are mounted and organised in a collage of abstract images with details of natural elements. In the second room, Strömberg, on another large canvas, exhibits eight serigraphs and the work is placed in front of one of the large windows overlooking the city, mirroring it. On the ground, opposite, as flowing down, as on a large carpet, there are the glass sculptures, 3D transposition of the elements that appear in the serigraphs (circular shapes similar to hollow concretions that refer to the multiplication of cells by meiosis). The sculptures are placed on stacks of serigraphs which function as pedestals and which represent the layering of the image, the passage from intangibility to volume. In the last room the other works realised with the 'medium' material that is glass for the refraction of light, recall, with their shapes hand blown by the artist, bent stills as could be found in an alchemical cave. Inside their cavities, old newspapers that the Swedish artist burned, after buying them on stalls and kiosks in Naples. They act as messages in the bottle, because there is nothing more stratified and at the same time less stratified and momentary than a daily newspaper. But for the artist, the glasses and the worn paper are also the result of his reflection and observation of the Herculaneum papyrus and of the vitrines that house the Pompeian relics. To the past, on which Strömberg dwells, a new life can be given in this way. "By accumulating, transforming, using photography and creating volumes, materialising the action, my creative gesture wants to" con-firm ", suspending it, one moment in time".
Renata Caragliano for La Republica, Oct. 7th, 2019, Napoli Arte, for "refraction of lightness" exhibition, Palazzo Tarsia, Naples
THE NARRATIVE OF LIGHT REDESIGNS REALITY
"I am very fascinated by the historical and cultural stratifications of Naples, by the very structure of the city and by its constructions. To conceive works especially for Palazzo Tarsia it’s been a double challenge: cause of the monumental architecture of these spaces and the work of a master like Shozo Shimamoto, whose presence imbues the venue. This is why I chose to work with the idea of lightness, using the glass and black and white which leaves me complete autonomy of language “. The work of Henrik Strömberg is very poetic and moving; he is a Swedish artist based in Berlin, who concludes a three-month residency here in Naples with the exhibition "Refraction of lightness" which we visit in preview with the privilege of the presence of the artist , who is still mounting his installations. The exhibition, curated by Chiara Valci Mazzara and Loredana Troise, the result of the collaboration between Morra Foundation and Avella Laboratory, will open on October 12th in the halls of Palazzo Tarsia which normally hosts the Shozo Shimamoto Foundation, displaying its voluminous, multicoloured and always surprising works by the Japanese master which seem to regenerate theirselves through their closeness to Strömberg's experimental work.
What immediately captures the attention visiting this exhibition is a sort of narration that underlies the whole, in which, however, the aesthetic force changes the contents of reality: we see forms familiar to us, but which correspond to new interpretative codes. The glass works, for example, are a set of forms that are incorporated into each other, just as the serigraphs intertwine with each other and with additional pieces of photographic film, as if the artist's urgency was that to act not on the final aesthetic but on its content.
Strömberg artistically starts as a photographer, hence the need to bend the light to his will, using refractions and reflections of the images, intersecting layers in an action that metaphorically refers to the stratifications of the city. As he immediately confirms during the interview. Some glass vases have their center of gravity shifted and occupy the space by tilting, giving in to a deliberate instability: the artist therefore seems to be looking for a loss of balance so that the work is offered to the viewer in an extreme idea of freedom:
The light is the fundamental element that passes through the hand blown glass works, changing their perception, but also becomes essential for the creation of the photographic material, from which extraordinary large-format serigraphs are created, mounted on large scale canvases on the walls or are installed on wooden slabs horizontally where the sculptural volumes are housed. And then there is the lightness, embodied in the transparency of the glass and in the installations that presents themselves with that vague sense of instability. Strömberg's investigation about volumes and meanings is amplified by the complexity of the creative gesture. The material is folded into impossible shapes that are literally crossed through by other materials: the hand blown glass containers 'contain' each other and at the same time host burnt papers and pages of newspapers, including IL Mattino. Our newspaper therefore finds itself to be the connection between these forms - round like cellular reproductions or solidified as volcanic lava bubbles - and testifies to the intense relationship of the artist with the city. "The purpose is precisely this - explains Giuseppe Morra - not to host made-up exhibitions but to make Naples the engine of creativity”.
Alessandra Pacelli, Il Mattino, Cultura Napoli, Ocotober 4th 2019, for "refraction of lightness" exhibition, Palazzo Tarsia, Naples,
Il Giornale dell’arte, Monthly national Art Journal, issue November 2019.
Henrik Strömberg in residence
On view through January 31 at Palazzo Spinelli Tarsia, home of the Shozo Shimamoto Foundation, the exhibition "Refraction of Lightness" by the swedish artist Henrik Strömberg (1970) is perceived as cohesive with the cultural activities of the Art District, whose program, conceived by Morra Foundation, intends to promote and pursue new, conscious and virtuous dialogues between the contemporary art scene and the territory. Curated by Chiara Valci Mazzara and Loredana Troise, the exhibition consists into site specific installations and a series of glass sculptures and volumes, created by the Swedish artist during the three months residency at Morra Foundation, in collaboration with the Avella Laboratory in Naples and Gianluigi Prencipe.
Assemblages, object trouvée and collages presented in the exhibited works feels as combined to reveal references to Surrealism. Serigraphs-sculptures-painting and paper-glass-newspapers give life to a production that suggests multiple meanings and various interpretations, as Chiara Valci Mazzara observes: “the various elements combine to provide a wider perception, as in a dance in which every single element creates a broader harmony. There is no single interpretation but rather a kaleidoscope given by the use of different media equally involved in the final result ". The sequence of reflections, the portions of images and the verticality of the installation take shape as an immersive landscape through which the viewer moves, absorbing the complexity of the elements.
REFRACTION OF LIGHTNESS - HENRIK STRÖMBERG AT SHŌZŌ SHIMAMOTO FOUNDATION - MORRA FOUNDATION Naples
Refraction of lightness is the solo exhibition of the Swedish artist Henrik Strömberg (Mälmo, 1970) on view at Shōzō Shimamoto Association, Palazzo Spinelli Tarsia, where the artist lived for three months in the frame of an artist residency upon invitation of Giuseppe Morra.
Troise herself speaks tells us about the project, curated together with Chiara Valci Mazzara:
The project was born from the desire to connect to the cultural and social investigation of the city of Naples an additional semiotic work, imbued with symbolic references and meta-meanings:
"The history of the Morra Foundation, intertwined with the beauties and peculiar characteristics of Naples - explains Chiara Valci Mazzara - was fundamental for Henrik's work to develop in to a certain level of completeness and complexity that he had never before experienced".
The philosophical exercise of the show Refraction of lightness is the result of the encounter between the idea, the technique and the materials used by the artist: we find ourselves before a site-specific installation which transforms the voice into sign, into drawing, in a graphic body; in something that has to do with know how to do it; Strömberg observes:
“I worked primarily to present objects created by me as the glass sculptures, which consist of hand blown pieces. Elements such as my breath and body vapour that remains inside the object relates to the biological aspect of my work. During the preparation phase, I conceive the shape and develop the plaster cast by creating the positive form with materials such as polystyrene and rubbers, then I transfer the shape to the negative with plaster, to then finally blow the incandescent glass in the workshop ".
In the halls of the Shimamoto Foundation, a body of cohesive elements vibrate dialectically according to the complexity of the creative gesture (re-assemblage, overlays, collages).
Together with the diaphanous glass sculptures placed on pedestals, on wooden slabs or directly on the ground, majestic lithographs made in collaboration with Vittorio Avella's laboratory (Casa Morra) appear, and then photographs, negatives, objects and papers that the artist tirelessly produced after having collected various materials in the workshops of the historical center, "reducing the core of the form - as Chiara Valci Mazzara explains - by polarising the content and placing at the center of the perception of the image a new existence of the subject and its meanings" .
The compositions are im-perfectly symmetrical and, at the same time, they are open, placed beyond constraints and banks, revealing an intimate taxonomic attitude that is not given as a petrified structure, but as an internal elaboration of consciousness.
It follows a narrative in progress, an embodied meaning which corresponds to an unmistakable and fundamental linguistic-expressive metonymic intertwining. The content and the container, the inside and the outside, the signified and the signifier, the oscillation and the becoming, the flux, the obsolescence and the metamorphosis, concur to a hyper-historical stronghold, in which the Swedish artist defines his psychological, aesthetic and cultural path, freely opening it to the visitor, who, ideally moving beyond the structure, can visually meet the body of works, confronting himself with his exclusive resolutions.
By redefining the order of the sophisticated spaces dedicated to the master of Gutai Group, Strömberg, by inhabiting the rooms and meditating within them intensely, managed to build his own unprecedented and euphonic mobile scenography, perfectly in line with the urban scenery, reinterpreted through a very personal and skilful symphony.
During the evening of the opening reception, between tartlets and the red wine from San Martino Wineyard, Henrik Strömberg, elegant, agreeable and generous to everyone, welcomed a large crowd of visitors and friends who gradually immersed themselves in the sophisticated mis en scène of Refraction of Lightness , and which soon recognised its seductive aesthetic nuances, the complex system of references linked to the performative act, the beauty of the signs and the harmonious dialogue established by the relationship between the individual works.
The exhibition (which can be visited until 31 January 2020) is part of the project The Art District / the Neighbourhood becomes a city, conceived by the indefatigable Giuseppe Morra, as an “intellectual space, a living organism oriented towards the educational development of the city and towards an open educational value ".
Through extraordinary cultural centres such as Palazzo Spinelli di Tarsia, home of the Shozo Shimamoto Foundation, the Hermann Nitsch Museum, Laboratory of Contemporary Arts Archive, Casa Morra Foundation and Contemporary Art Archive and Vigna San Martino, the Art District aims to re-evaluate the area of the historical center and beyond, through assiduous and interconnected artistic and cultural activities at international level.
ART A PART OF CULTURE, 17th of November, by Loredana Troise
SAJINYESUL The Monthly Photo Art Magazine
VOL.366 · October
P.70, Focus.1, “Morph O” 2019 Daegu Photo Biennale in BERLIN
'2019 Daegu Photography Biennale in BERLIN Special Exhibition was held from August 24th to September 7th at Kunstverein am Rosa-Luxemburg Platz as the first international project of Daegu Photo Biennale to introduce Korean photography abroad. This exhibition was organized by the curator Chiara Valci Mazzara who presented the show of four artists from Korea and Berlin. To the exhibition participated, as Korean artists Woo Changwon and Jung Sungtae, as european artists Ricarda Roggan and Henrik Strömberg.'
'...The theme of this exhibition project conceived by Chiara Valci Mazzara is "Morph - O, isolation of (portable) pressure". The wordplay is a neologism coming from the merging of two concepts such as "Morph" which is the root of the word meaning 'form', 'shape' and 'change' and the ending "-O" which represents the idea of circleness, attempting to accept the change, and comprehend each identical original form. The four artists from different cultural and geographical backgrounds presented their unique work in reference to this main concept...'
'...The work by the swedish artist, Henrik Strömberg, Berlin-based, is perceived as surprisingly evocative to the audience who expected this exhibition as a group exhibition presenting exclusively pieces realized with the photography medium. The volumes belonging to the installation are in fact conceived and realized starting from the photographic works and displayed in reference to photography pieces exhibited in the main space. A round like shaped glass volume relates and dialogues to the photographic works completing the installation. His work evokes the idea of time and space simultaneously, and suggests the landscape as composed of a“dialogue” between the meanings of each other .
Photography as a medium can record the time frame of a "moment" through the lens. It is the ability to record time visually which only photography can have. Relating to the context, it can also explain why he choses glass as material. Dozens of printed photographs organized in stacks support the glass sculpture, which he learned to blow from a glass craftsman and in which he blew in his breath. In other words, the breath that the artist blows creates a different round shape of glass while recording the shape of the air at that moment. Recording a certain moment on a bi-dimensional or a sculptural volume became a joint point between photography and glass, and the reason to treasure Henrik Strömberg's work. '
2019. 09. VOL 59
P.040, ISSUE 1, Daegu Photo Biennale in BERLIN
'Morph-O. Isolation of (portable) pressure. This special exhibition, planned as a pre-event for the Daegu Photo Biennale in 2020, is a new international project which introduces Korean photography abroad by presenting talented korean artists with artists who are established in the European art world. The Daegu Photo Biennale aims to raise the awareness of Korean visual arts and this project is expected to initiate a new path focused on developing exhibition projects and present the culture tendencies in Korea, which has previously mainly introduced famous foreign artists in Korea.
The special exhibition taking place in 2019, Daegu Photo Biennale in BERLIN, is curated by the italian curator Chiara Valci Mazzara,based in Berlin and working actively between Germany and Italy in collaboration with Daegu Culture and Art Center. The title and concept of the exhibition is "Morph O", which is meant as the synthesis between the word “Morph” that stands for the concept of shape and of the change of state and “-O” that symbolizes the acceptance and inclusion of the state, through which, the creative work of the participating artists, allows to contemplate the meaning of the interaction along with the transformation of materials appearance and constituents.'
P. 146, Expanded Universe
'The theme 2018 Daegu Photo Biennale was “Frame Freely ", in other words “Crossover frames", which meant not only cross between frames of the photographs, but also the social idea and the norm as the philosophy of Daegu Photo Biennale which has been pursued. According to the project and this idea of crossovers, 'Daegu Photo Biennale Special Exhibition Berlin' was held to create an opportunity for the arts of Daegu and Berlin to meet at the joint where the encounter was not yet existing.
The theme of this special exhibition is the merging of two words: "Morph" which means a change of state and "O" which symbolizes acceptance and inclusion. The project is been realized in collaboration with the curator Chiara Valci Mazzara, who works in Germany and Italy, and Kim Do Hyeung Curator of the Daegu Culture and Art Center with 4 participating artists, Woo Changwon, Jung Sungtae, Ricarda Roggan and Henrik Strömberg.
The curator Chiara has been asked some questions about "Morph" and "O" and the four artists, considering and examining the meaning of the interactions along with the appearance and transformation of the matter in different ways.'
'...Henrik Strömberg is a Swedish artist based in Berlin. He presents photographs and installation works through which the keywords seem to be the one of matter for-/de- formation, modification and decay...'