Historical and contemporary views on the garden (part 2) – Lectures at Nationalmuseum

25 May 2023

Welcome to an evening with lectures at Nationalmuseum!

Place: Nationalmuseum, Södra ljusgården, entrance floor
Thursday May 25, 18.00–19.00

Participants: curator Carl-Johan Olsson and artist Janna Holmstedt

In 2023, Nationalmuseum and Färgfabriken will both open an exhibition with the theme garden. In a joint lecture series, the garden in art is highlighted from both a historical and contemporary perspective. In part two, it is the garden’s most important component that takes center stage – the earth. Carl-Johan Olsson, curator of 19th-century painting at Nationalmuseum, talks about the poetry of the soil and artist Janna Holmstedt approaches the garden as a stage, a place for exploring roles and relationships in a time that has come to be known as the Anthropocene.

About the lectures

The poetry of soil
Carl-Johan Olsson

With Romanticism’s new view of nature, the artistic gaze changed fundamentally. Nature was considered animate and its smallest parts an expression of the Spirit. One example is the fascination for the land – for the soil, the plants and the composition of the terrain. From these elements, 19th-century artists created a visual poetry where nature surprises the viewer as something almost supernatural.

Carl-Johan Olsson is curator of 19th-century paintings at Nationalmuseum in Stockholm. He has curated exhibitions such as Danish Golden Age and Zorn – a Swedish Superstar. Right now he is working on an upcoming exhibition about 19th century romantic painting.

Under the surface, beyond the gaze
Janna Holmstedt

The experienced farmer says that we should cultivate the soil, not the plants. Janna Holmstedt has begun to understand what that means. This is the story of how a strange and beautiful fruit began to grow in her garden. About how the ecologies of our gardens extend far beyond the picturesque fences and walls that often surround them, even to places we’d rather not know. As an artist, Janna Holmstedt has approached the garden as a stage. Not a scenery or spectacle, but as a place for exploring roles and relationships in a time that has come to be called the Anthropocene.

Janna Holmstedt works with sound installations and staged situations and highlights relationships between things, places and beings that are often put in the background. She is part of the art platform (p)Art of the Biomass and works as a researcher at Statens historiska museer, where she leads the project Humus economicus about soil blindness and the value of soil in urbanized landscapes.

Read more about the exhibition at Nationalmuseum: The Garden – Six Centuries of Art And Garden.

Read more about Färgfabriken’s project Garden – Beyond the human gaze.

Top photo: “En märklig frukt” by Janna Holmstedt.