Imagine a garden here!

26 August 26 October

The Yard, Färgfabriken

There’s not much in the way of gardens in the industrial area of Lövholmen, where Färgfabriken has been operating since 1995. On the other hand, there are plenty of signs of nature pushing its way through the hard paved surfaces. And this is already evident as we head along the road out to Färgfabriken. The harsh, inhospitable environment between the fence and the road is steadily being pushed back as the birches flourish. They won’t be silenced. And the same applies to the grass, weeds and dandelions. They won’t be silenced either.

Inspired by the power of growth, we together with the restaurant in the house took our first steps towards a shared garden of our own. A garden that could partly supply the ongoing exhibition with Finnish artist group nabbteeri with organic material, but could also end up on our visitors’ plates. The restaurant has since been registered as a food establishment with primary production, which means that the plants grown in our garden can also be served.

Marken har förvisso sanerats, men täcks till största del av asfalt. Vår trädgård behövde därför begränsas till olika byggda konstruktioner ovan jord. En kompakt lådträdgård där vår trädgårdscurator Lisa Stigsdotter Ekstrand samplanterat enligt permakulturens principer. But the main purpose is to be a green island in this area that has been characterized by industry for a century and a half and which is planned for a future extremely dense residential development. Can you imagine a garden here? And for whom? The ground has recently been sanitized from toxic industrial waste, but is mostly covered with asphalt. Our garden therefore needed to be limited to various structures built above ground. A compact box garden where our garden curator Lisa Stigsdotter Ekstrand has planted a diversity of flowers, vegetables and herbs based on the principles of permaculture.

And the animals found their way here. The rabbits that traffic the area moved in to one of our growing boxes and of cause all the large and small insects that live on and off the various plants. We have seen bees, bumblebees and butterflies for the first time on Lövholmen.

Since 2020, Färgfabriken has been exploring different interpretations and relationships to the garden. During autumn 2020, we activated a number of participating workshops with young people in Stockholm, Skellefteå and Virserum in the topic of grass and weeds. This was done in collaboration with Skellefteå Konsthall, Virserums Konsthall and the researcher Nico Carpentier.

In the fall of 2022, Färgfabriken opened the exhibition Symbiosis. In preparation for this exhibition, we reflected not only on landscapes, water, and cities, but also on the technological and economic systems we have created to mitigate human impact on the planet. The planetary limitations were starkly evident, as was the need to understand and approach the Earth as a single large garden, the planetary garden.

During 2022, Färgfabriken continued the collaboration with Skellefteå Konsthall, Virserums Konsthall and Nico Carpentier within the framework of Mistra Environmental Communication. Here we came to investigate the garden based on power and control over nature, but also how the garden can gain a greater agency in times of reduced biodiversity. All this culminates in 2023 with the spring’s thematic film program Extractions and two parallel autumn exhibitions and several programs on the theme.

Read more about our ongoing work with Garden – Beyond the human gaze.