Christer Strömholm – On Verra Bien. A grand retrospective with one of the most important swedish photographers in the 20th century.

8 June 2002 15 September 2002

Main hall, Färgfabriken

On Verra Bien comprises about 200 photographic images, including exhibition originals from the 60s, mounted on masonite; pictures of transsexuals in Paris; portraits of artists; pictures from travels in Spain, America, India, Kenya and Japan; and a selection of Strömholm’s drawings and paintings from the 40s and 50s, not previously shown in Sweden.

The exhibition coincides with the publication of a 176-page book on Christer Strömholm’s life and work, with texts by Peder Alton and Jan Åman. The exhibition On Verra Bien is produced by Bildverksamheten Strömholm (Joakim and Jakob Strömholm) and Färgfabriken. After its showing at Färgfabriken, it will go on the road.

About the artist

Christer Strömholm was born in 1918 and died in January this year. He was one of Sweden’s greatest and most influential photographers, whose work contributed substantially to altering attitudes about photography. His monumental status in Sweden was a fact long before his death, but it is now becoming clear that he holds a central position in international photographic history as well. In a review published in December 2001, the French daily Le Monde called Strömholm “Le Grand Suédois”.

Christer Strömholm’s contribution to turning photography into an art form is incontestable. His imagery was utterly his own, and he used photography to communicate inner landscapes through outer ones; his pictures leave no viewer unmoved. Strömholm was more concerned with image than with technique. He photographed almost exclusively in black-and-white, and his pictures often have a strongly graphic quality. His method was to dedicate himself to various themes, such as pictures of death, documentary pictures, and private pictures. But he always worked with the same integrity and intensity.

Christer Strömholm began studying painting under Isaac Grünewald and Otte Sköld. He was a volunteer in the 1939 Russo-Finnish war and received a medal for his efforts with the Norwegian resistance. After the war, he moved to Paris and discovered that photography was the means of expression he had sought. In the 50s he travelled a lot, mainly in France and Spain, and he later said that it was in the late 50s that his real photographing began. It was at this time that he started working with “pictures of death”, the most famous of which is the picture of the dead dog. It was also at this time that he began photographing transsexuals in the area around Place Blanche in Paris. He would carry on documenting them for a decade, and the pictures would receive a great deal of attention.