Åsa Cederqvist artist

Tell us about your artistic practice.

My practice is based on an interest in that which is under constant construction and creation. I am interested in material and mental transformations, changes and profound emotions. Both how ideas and materials change, as well as how our views are constantly updated.

The careless anthropocene and patriarchal worldview we have taken for granted needs to be shifted and land in a more humble post-humanist perspective. We must wake up and become aware! Become less machine- and algorithm-controlled and move towards solidarity. We need to use our creative, tactile and emotional intelligence more.

My work is expressed in an interface between film, sculpture, photography, drawing, sound, spatial installations and performance.

Still from Civilization – The Pleasure Principle

For the Symbiosis exhibition, I have reconnected with a work I started in 2013 when I wanted to investigate the demarcation between purity and dirt, both from a mental and physical perspective. I have also been interested in our behaviors, as well as the human body and water. The body as a kind of transactional channel between nature and civilization, between the rational and the emotion-driven, between desire, carelessness, commerce and our primitive instincts. Water as a resource and as a material, which contains both toxins, dirt, human waste and the elixir of life. Without water no life. In Sweden we are very spoiled and few of us have encountered a dried up well or experienced toxins in our waters these days. Behaviors, for example how repressing forbidden thoughts means that we repress human nature again and again, and act as if what is not visible does not exist. Much of our intricate systems for water supply and water purification are taken for granted.

During the past six months, I have spent time with The Water Centre at KTH and familiarised myself with their research and will continuously be in dialogue with their research project NATURE during the work before and during the exhibition.

Tell us about your thoughts on the concept and project Symbiosis?

I choose to think of it from the perspective human-planet. And acceptance in an addiction. You get what you give. If we allow an impoverishment of our planet, nature and wildlife, then we will also be left without the balance on which this interaction has rested. Likewise, in terms of interpersonal interaction, how we behave towards each other and those we choose to interact with physically or digitally, determines what kind of social climate we get.

Symbiosis is for me an attitude towards life. It’s an urgent issue – change must begin now – it’s about daring to live in symbiosis with nature to facilitate the planet’s need for recovery. But first we must acknowledge that the world (and most of us) has hitherto lived in symbiosis and dependence with the capitalist system, where fast cash and dying rich and famous are the goals for many. This must be peeled off and replaced in favour of awareness of our own and the planet’s finite resources, that needs safeguarding and rebuilding instead of dismantling. Only then will there be an opportunity for future generations to continue and improve.

Åsa Cederqvist’s artistic practice operates at the intersection of visual art, film and choreography. Through video, sculpture, installation, photography, and often with extensions in the form of performance or digital means – she creates humorous and disturbing universes that navigate between the subconscious and the rational, the physical and the ephemeral. Her works often suggest a layered narrative with a strong sense of transformation, as if they were in a constant emergence. Recently, her practice has been moving towards a mixture of virtual and physical spheres as a way of erasing the object-subject dichotomy. She has an MFA from the University of Arts, Craft & Design (Konstfack) (2000), and between 2010 and 2020 was a senior lecturer in the textile program at the same university. In 2020, Åsa was a guest artist in Färgfabriken’s Open Studio with her exploratory project A Kind of Metabolism (2).