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Umeå Academy of Fine Arts / I Cut across the Stream

2023-05-26 to 2023-08-20

For the last two years, the master’s degree students at Umeå Academy of Fine Arts have been working in the studios and workshops overlooking the Umeälven River: a powerful torrent in the summer, an iced-over, wide-open canvas during the long, semi-Arctic winter.   
  
Alongside the Academy’s teaching faculty, visiting international artists, curators and theoreticians, the students have negotiated their artistic trajectories across many streams of thought and gesture. In this year’s MA graduation exhibition at Bildmuseet, the graduating students invite you to join them in cutting across.   
  
How do you stand back from the flood of today’s information, quietly yet accurately observing the currents of the past and the present, to determine where to cut across the stream, however violent the currents may be? What may be holding you captive on this side of the river, and what horizons do you imagine and discover coming into being when you step out of the boat, or off the known shores, into the waves and an open horizon?   
  
This year’s MFA degree show from the Umeå Academy of Fine Arts, Umeå University, presents works by Oliver Bugge, Linn Byrkjeland, Noa Costas Martín, Gideon Eillert, Emie // Eva-Marie Elg, Therése Hurtig, Kiril Prikazcik, Eric Seppas, Rebecca Sharp, Fredrik Zanichelli, Anna Zingmark, and Jo Öqvist.   
 
Kristina Buch 
Artist and Professor at Umeå Academy of Fine Arts. 
Principal supervisor of the 2023 MFA graduating cohort 

LIST OF ARTWORKS

Oliver Bugge (f. 1990, Kolding, Denmark)

The Rhythmic Rise and Fall of the Currents, 2023   
Bronze sculpture on a pallet made of wood from shipwrecks salvaged in the 1920s,  mainly Riksäpplet, a Swedish warship that sank in the Stockholm Archipelago in 1676  

Breath Heard from Afar, 2023 
2200-year-old pottery shards from Nexø, Denmark, in vessels made of plastic and aluminium. The ceramic fragments are used with the permission of the Museum of Bornholm 

ΑΡΓΩ, 2023 
Oil paint on sea-washed fibreglass found on the Mediterranean coast 

Niña, 2023
Oil paint on sea-washed fibreglass found on the Mediterranean coast

Centaur, 2023 
Oil paint on sea-washed fibreglass found on the Mediterranean coast

The Moraira Map, 2023
Sea-washed fibreglass found on the Mediterranean coast
 

Oliver Bugge is interested in the role of the past in the present. In The Rhythmic Rise and Fall of Currents, he explores the multifaceted nature of the Renaissance, an era when ideas from antiquity were revived in humanism and a new view of nature. However, it was also a period of centralised power and warfare with imperialist aspirations that involved the instrumentalisation of people and the exploitation of nature through mining and logging.

His work Breath Heard from Afar also explores the link between our time and a distant past. Pottery shards from the Iron Age are combined with contemporary materials, such as aluminium and plastic, in a work that bridges a time span of more than two thousand years. Craftsmanship and knowledge of materials are fundamental to Bugge’s artistic practice. He combines this with an idea-based approach and with theory of history. In his art, he strives to connect opposites to achieve a synthesis: Works with a retrospective character are balanced by something contemporary.

 

Linn Byrkjeland (b. 1991, Korsholm, Finland) 

 A Slender Arc of Light, 2023 
Installation of paintings: acrylic paint on cotton canvas  

Mikrokosmos, 2023
Graphite drawings on paper 

Linn Byrkjeland uses painting and drawing to create visual narratives in a mythologically charged universe inspired by the forests of Korsholm, Finland, where she grew up. The creatures and the scenarios she constructs move between earthly elements, space and other dimensions. Byrkjeland combines the rational with the absurd, methodically unravelling our deeply rooted perceptions of reality and allowing us to be embraced by a parallel world.  

In A Slender Arc of Light, Byrkjeland explores colour, shape and movement in image and space. Using powerful brushstrokes and floating paintings, she creates windows into her universe as a way of looking in and looking out. These windows are the borders between dimensions and space, transparent connections between two worlds. 

 

Noa Costas Martín (b. 1999, Nigrán, Spain) 

The Animal Language, 2023 
Installation: textile, resin, wax, ceramics, collage  

Emphasising the great importance of the work process, Noa Costas Martín is interested in issues such as memory, heritage, patrimony, and space and its occupation. The origins of the materials she uses, their implications, and the ways of working with them are crucial for her artistic practice. Her works tend to vary from medium to medium, and often the origin of the materials themselves and the process of creating them are just as relevant as the results obtained.     

Her installation The Animal Language is made of small sculptures that create a suggestive and dreamy atmosphere surrounding the viewer. How much space should you occupy - how much space do you really want to occupy? What conditions have led you to think like this? Through different materials, such as textiles, resin, ceramics, and collage techniques, Noa Costas Martín addresses this question and tries to provide an answer in a physical form as a reflection of her artistic processes over the last three years. 

 

Gideon Eillert (b. 1993, Hengelo, The Netherlands) 

To Meet You on Your Own Terms, 2023 
Oil on linen 

To Have no Need for Answers, 2023 
Oil on linen 

To Welcome It Back, 2023 
Oil on linen  

Gideon Eillert’s painting process is intuitive and open-ended. Concept initiates the process, but the deeper layers reveal themselves through unexpected turns. For him, this process is never truly finished, and the meaning of a work is never concluded. His concepts are based around the absurd and the ways in which people might encounter it as they try to find meaning and understanding in the world and each other. The absurd appears to Eillert as a misunderstanding between people and reality.  

The paintings each depict something in particular but are simultaneously raw paint on a canvas. This puts them in a state of friction between being and non-being. In Sweden, Eillert has started exclusively painting objects from nature, yet treating them as individuals in a portrait-like format. Isolated from their environment, they must each find a relation to another complexity, meeting you on your own terms. 

 

Emie // Eva-Marie Elg (b. 1982, Borlänge, Sweden) 

A Sexual Series: Visningsex, 2016–2023
Video, internet-based installation 
3:50 min  

HUMAN POWER BOT PLUG by E-ME: Prototype II, 2023
Sculpture: glass, thermoelectric technology.
In collaboration with Anders Lundström. 

In her work, Emie // Eva-Marie Elg focuses on sexual themes that challenge power relations. Through cyborg drag, performance, video and installation, she addresses her themes with a posthumanist perspective on humankind’s place in the world and our relationship with the Other (robot, animal, nature, etc.). A Sexual Series is a series of artistic self-reflections that Emie began in 2016 during a master’s course at the Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts. This theme emerged from her own experiences as asexual, i.e. not feeling sexual attraction, but also from having metal parts in her body following a scoliosis operation. This resulted in a cyborg drag alter ego – a sexbot as a metaphor for the posthumanist aspects of her body.  

The installation A Sexual Series: Visningsex consists of three videos representing the series as a whole: Ace of Baes (2016–ongoing), Touch Me Instead (2020), UNI VERSE ◆UNIRE(LI)GION (2020–21), and HUMAN POWER BOT PLUG by E-ME: Prototype II (2023). The music used in the installation has been created in collaboration with Fredrik Hjalmarsson and Bobby Corolla. Emie has previously worked as an artist in Malmö and London. 

 

Therése Hurtig (b. 1987, Norrköping, Sweden)  

Bo Peep? Ah ha ha ha!, 2023  
Series of four paintings: oil on linen canvas

Therése Hurtig works primarily with painting and drawing, often rooted in nostalgia and popular culture. She is interested in the primitive, instinctive and irrational aspects of humans. She sees creativity as a way of unravelling and trying to understand the psychological contradictions inherent in human nature. 

The work Bo Peep? Ah ha ha ha! consists of a series of paintings based on scenes from Walt Disney’s The Three Little Pigs. The pigs’ bare bottoms fleeing from the Big Bad Wolf aroused strange feelings of lust and disgust in Hurtig as a child. She would later realise that this was a kind of sexual awakening. Throughout the process, she has focused on concepts such as ‘taboo’ and ‘contemporary’ and on how the influence of the surrounding world shapes a person as they grow up. The question she asks is when do society’s social structures and norms become intertwined with, or even conquer, our innate, instinctive desires and urges? 

 

Kiril Prikazcik (b. 1999, Visaginas, Lithuania)  

Guilts From Childhood, 2023
Bread Tasted Better When Everyone Was Home, 2023
Paralyzing Truth, Where Even Water Sets You on Fire, 2023
Time Is Healing Without You, 2023
Loyalty, Painted in A Beautiful, Destructive Way, That Even Birds Came Flying to Your Arms, 2023
Series of paintings: gouache on paper 

Can a landscape carry emotion and awaken forgotten memories? Can they lead you to become aware of your hidden emotions? These are the questions explored in Kiril Prikazcik’s landscape paintings. The emotions and memories take shape as landscapes, presenting the viewer with just one of many variations in how the said emotion or memory could look. His work argues that emotions are a spectrum and that everyone perceives the same emotions differently. One person’s happiness could be experienced as sadness by someone else.    

Kiril Prikazcik works with imaginary landscapes, which are born from unpredictable thoughts, feelings or emotions. They act as his diary pages. The work invites everyone to open up to each other and share how the paintings have made them feel, and if they have helped them to remember something dear but forgotten. 

 

Eric Seppas (b. 1989, the woods of Västmanland, Sweden)  

Fast emellan mitten med mig, 2023
[Stuck in the Middle with Me]
Room installation: oil on canvas, soil and clay  

Eric Seppas combines painting and spatial installation in works that ask questions about our present time. He is interested in spatialities in both external and internal worlds, in group dynamics, and in relationships between spaces we share with others.  Seppas reacts to the growing polarisation of society and how this seep into our minds. People’s ideas seem to spread like viruses and create systems. Misunderstandings arise even though we actually share the same space. Positions and opinions become imperative as we are coloured by our surroundings, our friends and our families. 

In the installation Fast emellan mitten med mig [Stuck in the Middle with Me], the space is dominated by large paintings that surround us, the viewers. Reflections, echoes and repetitions can be seen in these paintings. Seppas gives us the feeling of being caught in a space between. The mound of earth may represent human existence and remains, affected by wear and tear and by polarisation. The soil contains our history and our future, and it can be fertilised and create growth. Change happens, but slowly. 

 

Rebecca Sharp (b. 1989, Stockholm, Sweden) 

Instar, 2023 
Sculpture with stoneware clay and biodegradable plastic 

Rebecca Sharp’s work is characterised by her desire to understand the world around her and her place within it. She works conceptually, allowing the idea to determine the materials or media through which it can best be expressed. The sculpture Instar shows a process of control and collapse. For Sharp, working on the piece was almost like shedding her skin. She sees it as a self-portrait and a portrait of our time. 

 

Fredrik Zanichelli (b. 1995, Malmö, Sweden) 

Bojen var i slutändan borta, 2023
[The buoy was in the end lost]
Installation och publikation

Bojen var i slutändan borta och ön var lika (o)nåbar som alltid, 2023  [The buoy was in the end lost, and Ön as (un)reachable as always]
Patinated copper, steel wire, lashing bracket 

Bojen var i slutändan borta men sen fick älven ge vika för avståndet I, II och IV, 2023 [The buoy was in the end lost, but the river had to give way to distance I, II and IV]
Spruce wood, aluminium, steel wire, lashing bracket   

In his art, Fredrik Zanichelli explores phenomena that – at first glance – may seem obvious. Concepts such as memory, time and distance are examined and re-evaluated to become visual narratives questioning what we perceive as truth. The works take shape in interaction with the different materials and their inherent properties. 

In the installation Bojen var i slutändan borta [The buoy was in the end lost], Zanichelli reflects the landscape outside of Bildmuseet using copper, wires, spruce wood, aluminium and a publication. The work originates from the artist’s relationship with Ön, an island in the Umeälven River, which he never set foot on but explored during several boat trips in an inflatable rubber boat. During these he also passed a buoy, which later disappeared. 

“The relationship between me and the buoy turned out, like my relationship with Ön, to suggest that distance is not always the opposite of proximity; that loss is not always the opposite of gain.”

 

Anna Zingmark (b. 1990, Gällivare, Sweden) 

Vi sitter kvar tills alla är klara, 2023
[We remain seated till everyone is finished] 
Installation with stoneware clay, wood and sound (5h)

Anna Zingmark is interested in humankind’s spiritual nature and our search for belonging. By creating interaction in temporary groups, she explores group dynamics, structures and hierarchies. This could be a howling pack of people in the forest, or a collection of objects in the exhibition space. Using sound, voice, sculpture and text as her primary media, she asks questions about the group’s being and non-being, about its potential and danger.  

In her installation Vi sitter kvar tills alla är klara [We remain seated till everyone is finished], pots are frozen in motion on their way down a collapsed table. A cacophonous collision is coming, but it hasn’t happened yet. Instead, a conversation is heard between the pots; echoes of actions that have previously been performed on the table. Zingmark draws our attention to sounds from the past, to what is and what is to come. What do we hear? 

 

Jo Öqvist (b. 1977, Uppsala, Sweden)  

Untitled, 2023 
Three charcoal wall drawings  

Untitled, 2023 
Sculptures made from reused materials: wood, foam rubber, pillows, quilts, fabric 

Jo Öqvist’s art concerns the body: the human body and the non-human body. The queer, non-binary, fat body. They depict bodies in relation to each other in an ongoing process, in motion. This involves proximity and distance, and bodily experiences.  The works speak of limitation and ability, of agency and power. They have a directness of expression that features clear traces of making. The drawings are created in relation to the artist’s own body. In order to transcend the limited reach, the artist used a ladder when producing the largest drawing. The sculptures are created from second-hand materials that carry a story. A blanket from a flea market becomes a figure, a presence of someone. A body to relate to our own. 

I Cut Across the Stream / Umeå Academy of Fine Arts
Oliver Bugge
Noa Costas Mártin
Linn Byrkjeland
Gideon Eillert
Emie // Eva-Marie Elg
Therése Hurtig
Kiril Prikazcik
Rebecca Sharp
Fredrik Zanichelli
Anna Zingmark
Jo Öqvist