POSTEN SVERIGE, SWEDEN POST, LA POSTE SUÈDE
ART IN THE HEADQUARTERS OF SWEDEN POST, IN STOCKHOLM
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Copyright architecture, art and photos © The architects, the artists, Posten Sverige. Interior photography by Åke E:son Lindman
1. Architect: Ferdinand Boberg, 2. Woven picture in Tabby by Harald Lyth, with applied works by Fatima Svendsen and Britta Carlström, 3: Woven picture in Tabby by Ulf Gripenholm with brocading weft by Sylvie Hägg and Emiko Uematsu, 4: Iron net by Barbro Bäckström, 5. Silkscreen by Pierre Olofsson , 6. Acrylic on paper / piano wires by Tomas Nordberg, 7. Oil on canvas by Madeleine Pyk, 8. Cibachrome by Curt Asker, 9. Hand colored etching by Nils Stenqvist, 10 Woven picture / mixed technique by Helena Hernmarck.
Public art has always been the subject of debate. Who is it intended for; what is its message and who is the sender of that message?
When the People's Rome (as Swedes describe their welfare state) developed in the 193 Os, art was seen as a part of public education. People who had never before given a thought to painting and sculpture were to become part of the vast cultural inheritance of Europe, albeit from a Swedish perspective.
The Swedish Arts Council was founded in 1937. Its aim was: "... on a larger scale than hitherto, and in a more organized way, to call on artists for cultural contributions in the service of society". -Such was the directive from Arthur Engberg, the Minister for Education and Ecclesiastical Affairs at that time.
Since then, art has undergone extensive changes and has encountered tough competition from a great number of other cultural spheres, everything from commercial "throwaway" art to video films and computer games. But the notion of the importance of painting and sculpture in various work-environments and public places lives on. Today, the most extensive art collections are no longer in museums and private homes, but in hospitals, government buildings and commercial institutions.The Arts Council purchases and commissions art for considerable amounts of money each year. At times it can be a question of works on a monumental scale, but more often it is art for "decoration", "loose art", paintings, prints, drawings, small-scale sculptures.
The art collection in the Sweden Post Headquarter Building in Stockholm has been compiled by the artist Gösta Wallmark at the request of the Sweden Post (in Swedish Posten AB) and the Arts Council. Although they are known as "public art the paintings, prints and drawings which fill the building are unusually intimate in character. Many are fine examples of the personal appeal which characterizes a major part of Swedish 20th century art. In many ways this is the exact opposite of architect Ferdinand Boberg's palatial Sweden Post Headquarter Building. Boberg's building is ponderous and majestic, built in stone, whereas the art which Wallmark has chosen is fleeting and impulsive. The subjects consist mainly of lines and shadows, shapes like wings, or simply forms which playfully test the difference between the superficial and the profound.
The art collection was purchased over a relatively short space of time, mainly between 1985 and 1992, a period which was characterized by the unusually wide and rich variety of art available in galleries around the country. The choice provides a good picture of the developments in 20th century Swedish art, from the time of Ferdinand Boberg until the present day. Gone are the heavy demands for representation, gone too are the notions that art should be a symbol of wealth and power. The art which Wailmark has chosen for the Sweden Post Headquarter Building shows an everyday feel for the poetic which is typical of Swedish modernism. It has a direct appeal, equally suited to working life as to leisure time.
Welcome to one of Sweden's most interesting public collections of art.