Konstfest February 15—18 2024

15.02—18.02 2024

Here’s Your Programme!

A four-day celebration of art! Four exhibitions on five floors, forty or so artists and talks, performances, workshops, and frequent public showings.

Place: Kin Museum of Contemporary Art, City Hall, Kristallen

The event revolves around a large group exhibition focused on climate change, a presentation of four textile artists from different generations – centred on 93-year-old Kiruna legend Doris Wiklund – and a portrait of one of the leading duojár of the region: Jon Tomas Utsi.

A sampler from the programme for Friday to Sunday:

Enter Jon Tomas Utsi’s world of niibbit (knives), gárit (bowls), skáhput (boxes), giissát (chests), and sálkorat (salt bottles), a special programme at Giron Sámi Teáhter on the subject of mining and colonialism, the history of weaving and its fragile links to Sami culture, the history and future of weaving, a collective weaving workshop, a discussion on the renegotiated role of architecture in the post-climate change world with Joar Nangos and Ken Are Bongos, whose installation was well received at the most recent architecture biennial in Venice, and which is also on show in the exhibition The Observatory: Art and Life in the Critical Zone. Not to be forgotten, there will be rainwater color paintings and rusting military vehicles.

Thursday, February 15

16:00 Opening in the lobby: The Observatory: Art and Life in the Critical Zone, Beautiful and Functional: The Duodji of Jon Tomas Utsi, Textile Magic with Doris Wiklund, Kristina Pashkova, Maja Fredin, and Matilda Kenttä; the collection
Maria Lind, director Kin Museum of Contemporary Art
“Markerna”, work by Carola Grahn and Nils-Johan Labba
Joanna Warsza, program director Curatorlab
Artist Luca Frei on “Mobile Lobby”
Drinks and snacks
The following artists will be present: Alexander Ravskyj, Alexandra Ravskaya, Anastasia Kizilova, Bernd Krauss, Carin Ellberg, Fredrik Prost, Ilmira Bolotyan, Inga-Wiktoria Påve, Ingela Ihrman, Jon Tomas Utsi, Katarina Pirak Sikku, Kirill Agafonov Kultivator, Luca Frei, Nina Svensson, Kristina Pashkova, Maja Fredin, Matilda Kenttä and Olga Shirokostup.

16:30 Ingela Ihrman performance “Oilbird with Nestling”

17:00 Visit to the exhibitions

The Konstfest is produced in collaboration with Konstfack’s Curatorlab course. Participants: Ana Victoria Bruno, Silvia Colombo, Karin Erixon, Aleksandra Kędziorek, Emma Pettersson Juntti, Kerstin Möller, Sixten Liu, Foteini Salvaridi, Liselotte Winka, and Fann Xu. Artistic Director, Joanna Warsza, Coordinator, Anastasia Shestak

Friday, February 16

**12:30 Lunch tour with Director Maria Lind (30 minutes). In English.

13:00-16:00 The artists introduce their work in the exhibitions: Alexander Ravskyj, Alexandra Ravskaya, Anastasia Kizilova, Bernd Krauss, Carin Ellberg, Fredrik Prost, Ilmira Bolotyan, Inga-Wiktoria Påve, Ingela Ihrman, Jon Tomas Utsi, Katarina Pirak Sikku, Kirill Agafonov, Kultivator, Nina Svensson, Kristina Pashkova, Maja Fredin, Matilda Kenttä

16:00–16:45 Duodji from Antlers and Woodwork.**
A Conversation between Jon Tomas Utsi and Liselotte Winka, Curatorlab. In Swedish.**
Jon Tomas Utsi began to make handicrafts when he was ten years old and has continued to do so ever since. Today, he partly makes a living as a duojár, or Sámi craftsman, and he is also educated as a teacher in both wood- and metalwork. The Utsi family was formerly dislocated from Karesuando and at present lives in Porjus, working there as reindeer herders. Utsi crafts various kinds of everyday objects, including anything from knives, drinking vessels, milk pails [náhppi], to wood boxes. He finds the material in nature, mostly from birch trees and shed reindeer antlers. The form often decides the function of the object. Utsi’s craft is connected to his identity and a way of keeping the Sámi culture alive.

Giron Sámi Theatre
19:00 – 20:00 Through a Distorting Mirror: On Art, Mining, and Just Transition in Sweden and Poland.
Two Presentations by Artist Lena Ylipää and Aleksandra Kędziorek, Curatorlab. In English.

What impact does the mining industry have on local and indigenous communities, and how is the complexity of these relationships documented in contemporary art? This meeting is an offering for artists, critical thinkers, and residents of Kiruna to reflect on the social complexity of environmental change. Two seemingly distant contexts will be juxtaposed: the LKAB iron ore mine in Kiruna and the Turów lignite mine in Bogatynia, in southwestern Poland. Comparing the two may seem like looking through a distorting mirror, since they are on two opposite sides of the much-needed green transition. However, both show that no transition is painless and that they can have many shades when it comes to the lives and well-being of local and Indigenous people.

Aleksandra Kędziorek will discuss the controversy surrounding the Turów lignite mine through the lens of contemporary art, which has commented on mining culture in Poland and its environmental consequences since the 1970s. Lena Ylipää will relate these comments to the context of Kiruna and other mining towns in the Swedish part of Sápmi. The presentation will offer different perspectives on art and life in critical zones, the event aims to inspire discussion on whether it is possible to make the green transition equal for all.

A collaboration with Giron Sami Theatre.

Giron Sami Theatre
20:00–21:00 In situ. A podcast-conversation with artists from Norrbotten County on lived experiences and attachment to a place. Episode 1: Katarina Pirak Sikku and Fredrik Prost speak with Sixten Liu, Curatorlab. In English.
Artists and practitioners from Norrbotten often actively challenge a harmful representation and neo-colonial perception of the region as a place available for exploitation. By embracing alternative connections between places and human experiences, this talk brings two local artists, Katarina Pirak Sikku and Fredrik Prost, to both uncover and discover the multilayered identities associated with Norrbotten.

Pirak Sikku’s practice of mapping Sámi memories and the transgenerational trauma caused by the State Institute for Racial Biology has a historical, temporal dimension closely linked to her family history. By following the racial biologists’ footprints and imitating on her own body the violence caused to her ancestors, Pirak Sikku explores the possibility of being mentally independent and her own way of defining the emotional bond between humans and place. We will hear how things which have taken place in the past and that are erased from official historiography can come back to haunt, as well as heal, a person’s mental landscape.

Prost will share the stories of loss linked to Sámi drums and noaidi, which, according to Sámi belief system, mediate the relation between people, animals, and the spiritual world. In the Sámi spiritual culture everything is interconnected, and respect for nature is always at the center. What can we learn from Sámi stories and spirituality today, in the times when so-called green transition is still connected to the ideas rooted in settler colonialism?

A collaboration with Giron Sami Theatre.

Saturday, February 17

12:00–16:00 Kin Museum of Contemporary Art, Konstverkstan, floor 0,5
Workshop on territories and residencies with the artist Kirill Agafonov. In English.
The artist Kirill Agafonov introduces his project “Embassy of Microterritories,” which he has been developing during the two years that have passed since he fled Russia after the invasion of Ukraine. The project circles around a briefcase attachéväska, more commonly known as an “attaché́’s briefcase,” which he fills with a variety of objects while travelling from the city Izhevsk in central Russia to Uzbekistan, and then further on to Sweden and Switzerland. With the help of the objects, the briefcase becomes a mini embassy with which he can initiate conversations about territories and residencies.

Saturday, February 17, Kin Museum of Contemporary Art, 2nd floor
12:00 – 12:45 **Interweaving Narratives
A Conversation between Artist Kristina Pashkova and Silvia Colombo, Curatorlab. In English.
Kristina Pashkova’s art practice is characterized by personal stories and an intimate voice, combined with a cutting-edge perspective on textile techniques. With a deep interest for weaving, her work is rooted in the past while simultaneously reaching towards the future. As she says, “since the feminist ideas looking at culture through the lens of technology resonate with me, my practice takes place at the intersection of hand labour and digital image. My first handwoven tapestries are dedicated to video games, while recent works are the result of weaving on a digital semi-automatic Jacquard loom TC2 and experimenting with the animation of the woven image.”

12:30 Introduction to the exhibitions by Paulina Sokolow. In Swedish.

Saturday, February 17, Kin Museum of Contemporary Art, 2nd floor
12:45 – 13:30 A conversation between artist Maja Fredin and Anastasia Shestak, Curatorlab. In Swedish.

Maja Fredin works with idea-based installations, which include performative elements that are based on textile craftsmanship. In her work the installation and the performativity are equally important, as it automatically allows the viewer to become a part of the work as soon, they step into artist’s installations. With a mix of both humor and profound seriousness, she works without borders across photo, video, sound, sculpture, and costume to build up a scenography of absurd scenarios. With her own choreography, she attacks subjects such as how the consumerist society has affected her own sexuality, dysfunctional relationship with food and the way she relates to other people.

Saturday, February 17, Kiruna Public Library
13:30–14:30 Sitkeä (Persistence)
An Artist Talk about Documentation, Identity, History and Memory between Artists Matilda Kenttä and Hilda Flygare with Emma Pettersson Juntti, Curatorlab. In Swedish.
Engaging in conversation at the public library in Kiruna, two emerging artists native to the town, Matilda Kenttä and Hilda Flygare will speak about how they navigate the themes of home, belonging, change, and community in their respective work. The reality of people’s everyday life in Kiruna is that the town is going through tremendous changes, which has an impact on all aspects of society. Art can be a way to process this change, but also a form of resistance to the ongoing exploitation of the North. The title of the talk is the concept of sitkeä [persistence], which makes reference to the straining and difficult task of capturing memories and history through art, especially in a town that is being relocated due to industrial expansion. At the same time the word sitkeä connects to the resilience needed for an artist to tediously work with difficult and deeply personal themes in their practice, among the larger social and political contexts. A collaboration with Kiruna Public Library.

15:00 Introduction to the exhibitions by Paulina Sokolow. In Swedish.

Saturday, February 17, Kin Museum of Contemporary Art, 5th floor
15:00 – 15:45 Round table with Joanna Warsza, program director Curatorlab and artists Ilmira Bolotyan, Carin Ellberg, and Bernd Krauss. In English.
The practices of all three artists involve walking, strolling, and traveling. In her work, Ilmira Bolotyan has followed women across Sápmi, persuing the questions and dialogues on what it means to be a woman in the European North. Carin Ellberg often strolls on the sandy beaches in Scania interacting with seaweed, jellyfish, and other organisms that inspire her work about the abundance of the sea organisms and their relations to all living being. While Bernd Krauss, in order to facilitate his walks around Södertälje near Stockholm, constructed a wooden third hand, a self-made cyborgish extension that would facilitate his relation with the outside world. Referring to the individual artists practices the very basic tools they all employ will be discussed—to walk, to see and to listen—in order to be seen, heard and met somewhere on the way.

Sunday, February 18, Kin Museum of Contemporary Art, Konstverkstan, floor 0,5
12:00–16:00 Collective Weaving Workshop with Artists Kristina Pashkova and Maja Fredin i Konstverkstan. In both Swedish and English.

Sunday, February 18

Kin Museum of Contemporary Art, 5th floor
12:00–12:45 A Conversation between artists Ingela Ihrman, Inga-Wiktoria Påve, and Ana Victoria Bruno, Curatorlab. In English.
The conversation centers on the role of women, nature, and darkness in the artwork of Ingela Ihrman and Inga-Wiktoria Påve. How have the different perspectives and cultural backgrounds of Ihrman, from the south of Sweden, and Påve, from Sápmi, shaped their practices as well as the ideas behind their works? In the work, Oilbird with Nestling, Ihrman enacts the mothering gesture of an oil bird feeding a chick in a performance, which is caring and violent at the same time. The topic of light and darkness emerges strongly, an opposition coming from the history of oil birds themselves, a nocturnal species whose fat in the past was used to fuel lamps. The imagery of Påve is largely populated by animals, mostly reindeers. The bright colors of Sámi heritage coexist with darkness and obscurity, giving her paintings an aura of mystery. A reoccurring motif in her work are the strong women who stare straight into the eyes of the viewer while caring for babies or families against a dark background. Inspiration and creative processes will be discussed, as well as references and experience.

12:30 Introduction to the exhibitions by Paulina Sokolow. In Swedish.

Sunday, February 18, Kin Museum of Contemporary Art, 5th floor
13:00 – 13:45 Post-capitalist Architecture and the Vernacular.

A Tea Session Relating to Joar Nango and Ken Are Bongo’s Work with Kerstin Möller, Curatorlab**. In English.
This session offers an informal conversation inspired by the TV talk show Post-Capitalist Architecture TV Part 1: On Materiality and Resource Economy by Joar Nango and Ken Are Bongo. Framed within an informal tea session, the public is invited to join a discussion about Nango’s multilayered practice including his interest in vernacular architecture, the practice of Indigenous knowledges and material relations in contemporary architecture. The ways in which western knowledge and practices can learn from Sámi way of living will be discussed. Set against the backdrop of Kiruna, the particular context of the city centre being moved or torn down and its architecture being rebuilt, at the expense of the manifold heritages that are present in the city and region of Kiruna, will be further situated. How can such a restructuring of a city provide an opportunity to create a form of commons within shared (living) environments and relations beyond capitalist exploitation? The public is invited to participate. Tea and coffee will be served.

Sunday, February 18, Kin Museum of Contemporary Art, 5th floor
14:00 – 14:45 Artists Kultivator, Nina Svensson, and Anastasia Kizilova in conversation with Anastasia Shestak, Curatorlab. In English.
How to become friends with a forest? Can traditional tools teach us radical and experimental approaches? These questions as well as others will be raised with Nina Svensson, Anastasia Kizilova, and art and agriculture collective Kultivator, whose work is often placed outside the traditional artistic sphere. The practices of the artists involve dealing with forests, cultivation of the land, and relation to the communities and non-human inhabitants of the ground. Nina Svensson’s project Twin Forest is based on the idea of friendship and exchange of knowledge, between experts and other people through different forest plots in various countries. Anastasia Kizilova’s project Darwin’s Pot consists of a set of ceramic pots, each filled with earth in which earthworms can dwell. Referring to the individual artists’ practices, prudent, beneficial, and caring ways to deal with the forests, land, and communities will be discussed.

Sunday, February 18, Kin Museum of Contemporary Art, 5th floor
15:00–15:45: Displacement and Art in Exile
A Conversation with Artists Alexander Ravskyi, Alexandra Ravskaya, and Kirill Agafonov, moderated by Anastasia Shestak, Curatorlab. In English.
In each of their respective practices, all three artists capture their everyday life and surroundings through graphic works or found objects and storytelling. Their everyday routines are now very much affected by the large-scale invasion of Russia in Ukraine. The black lines of Alexander Ravskyi’s drawings trace the massive destruction of the architectural monuments from different Ukrainian cities—among them a theater, a school, and a house of culture. Alexandra Ravskaya’s paintings are more intimate, depicting, for example, herself and her partner embracing as an oil depot is exploding in the background. Artist Kirill Agafonov works with the found objects to offer new stories, raising questions such as “what constitutes the symbolic land on which you are permanently or temporarily based?” Focusing on the individual artists’ practices we will talk about displacement and art in exile, but also how to keep the connection and support each other during wartime.