14 December Valerie Kyeyune Backström

Which exhibitions in 2021 does Valerie Kyeyune Backström wish she could return to?

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, A Passion Like No Other, 2012.

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Fly in League with the Night, Moderna Museet, Stockholm

If you’re going to make a list, why not give in and follow your emotions? Or, rather, your fondest memories. Which exhibitions have remained with me long after I saw them? Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s retrospective at Moderna Museet reminded me of what painting can do. To see her paintings, one after the other, was to be transported to a different place – and then longing to return to that place over and over again.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Once Removed, video installation, 2019. Photo: Jean-Baptiste Béranger.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Dirty Evidence, Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm

I remember Lawrence Abu Hamdan because certain phrases, certain currents, in his exhibition at Bonniers Konsthall still echo in my head. Not just since his work demonstrates how one can represent war, reincarnation, torture, and silence, but just as much for its treatment of memory, preconception, and semiotics.

Martha Edelheit, Seals, Central Park Zoo, 1970–71.

Martha Edelheit, The Naked Truth: Works from the 60s and 70s, Larsen Warner, Stockholm

Martha Edelheit’s exhibition at Larsen Warner was a glimpse into a fascinating, challenging, sensual, and fun artistic universe. It ought to be – nay, it must be – an omen of an upcoming retrospective or major exhibition: anything that will let me and a larger audience see her paintings fill room after room!

– Valerie Kyeyune Backström is a Stockholm-based writer, art critic, and regular contributor to Kunskritikk. Her debut novel Ett nytt England [A new England] was published in 2020.

For this year’s contributions to the Advent Calendar, see here.