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Stockholm art gallery guide: July 11 – 16

Stockholm art gallery and exhibition tips from Kalendarium (Click links for more information)

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“>Spit in the soup

Erwin Wurm’s Instructions on How to Be Politically Incorrect offers gallery-goers, er, instructions on how to be politically incorrect. His works are part of the Spit In Someone’s Soup exhibition on display at Marabouparken’s annex. A generous introduction to the Austrian concept artist Wurm.

Popular photography

Kulturhuset has drafted in another big name as part of its focus on photography and moving pictures. Gunnar Smoliansky is considered one of the giants of Swedish photography and the exhibition ‘En bild i taget’ (One picture at a time) shows pictures from an artistic career spanning five decades. He has an eye for everyday detail and is interested in street life.

Forty years of revolution

Färgfabriken’s major summer exhibition, 68 08, focuses on Stockholm and a world in transition. Besides works by almost 30 artists, there will also be a conference about the points at which art and society meet. It’s about youth, the will to change and thought structures.

Dark times

Moderna Museet (the Stockholm Museum of Modern Art) opens the second big installation of its 50th anniversary year. With a focus on art inspired by the irrational and unknown the art in the Eclipse installation is a clear marker of the 21st century’s tendencies in a dark time. Participating artists include Nathalie Djurberg, Paul McCarthy, Michaël Borremans and Dana Schutz.

About time

No one can escape time. The National Museum delves deep into design through the eras. Tidens Form (The design of time) is a temporary exhibition displaying more than 400 watches and clocks from half a millennium. A nice mixture of everything from bling and luxury to technical masterpieces.

Bulgarian tricks

Bulgarian artist Ivan Moudov is next up in Moderna Museet’s contemporary series, Den 1:a (The 1st). Moudov uses collections, and often even theft, to call into question the rules of art. Like a Marcel Duchamp for the 2000s, Moudov gives a new meaning to art collecting.


Paul Gauguin’s ‘Mata Mua’ returns to Spain

One of French painter Paul Gauguin's most famous paintings, "Mata Mua", will return to a Madrid museum on Monday following an agreement between the Spanish government and its owner, who took it out of the country.

mata mua madrid
Toward the end of his life, Gauguin spent ten years in French Polynesia, where he completed some of his most famous artwork Painting: Paul Gaugin

The artwork had been on display for two decades at Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza museum but in 2020 when the institution closed because of the pandemic, the painting’s owner Carmen Thyssen moved it to Andorra where she currently lives.

Her decision to take “Mata Mua” to the microstate sandwiched between Spain and France raised fears she would remove other works from her collection which are on display at the museum.

“It is expected that the painting will arrive today,” a spokeswoman for the museum told AFP.


In 1989, Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza bought Mata Mua at the Sotheby’s auction in New York. Painting: Paul Gauguin

The artwork will go back on display to the public “a few days after” Thyssen signs a new agreement with the Spanish state for the lease of her collection, she added. The deal is expected to be signed on Wednesday.

Painted in 1892 in vivid, flat colours, “Mata Mua” depicts two women, one playing the flute and the other listening, set against a lush Tahitian landscape.

It is one of the stars of Thyssen’s collection of several hundred paintings which are on show at the museum, including works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Claude Monet.

Her collection had initially been displayed at the Madrid museum as part of a free loan agreement signed in February 2002 that was subsequently extended.

But in August 2021 Spain’s culture ministry announced it had reached an agreement with Thyssen to rent the collection from her for 15 years for €97.5 million ($111.5 million), with “preferential acquisition rights on all or part” of the works. The collection includes a Degas, a Hopper and a Monet.

Aside from housing her collection of works, the museum displays the collection of her late husband, Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, the Swiss heir to a powerful industrial lineage who died in Spain in 2002.

The Spanish state bought his collection in 1993 from $350 million, according to the museum.