Mats Wikström, curator of the exhibition Carl Johan De Geer and Expressions from Norrbotten, describes his vast collection of folk art. During the last 20 years he has collected hundreds of paintings, sculptures and other objects. His collection contains art works that he has found in yard sales, recycling centers and folk museums. In some cases Mats have had the chance to meet with the artist behind the work and get a glimpse of the artist’s life and production.
Folk art, according to Mats, is art made without the impulsion to please the conventional art market. He appreciates the unaffected and free expression he finds in good folk art. As a central ingredient, folk art holds the human need to express oneself, but also the satisfaction that lays in the making and completing of the crafts. A witness of basic human values transformed through artistic expressions. In Mats’ opinion, folk art is the highest of art forms.
In this exhibition Wikström’s collection is brought together with art by artists working close to or within the folk art tradition – a definition that is far from clear-cut. The curator has chosen Carl Johan De Geer as the pendant to the regional part of the exhibition. De Geer has an easy and direct approach to his art, somewhat like folk art artists.
The curator thanks the artists involved, the helpful relatives of the deceased artists and he thanks Ricky Sandberg and the staff at Havremagasinet for their trust and support in creating this exhibition.
In this exhibition Carl Johan De Geer’s films and storyboard sketches are featured. Two full length films are shown in the small theatre: Buillion and Hiding behind the camera, part 2. In the exhibition room, five short films are running continuously. The films are all connected to Carl Johan’s life, his family heritage and his encounter with the outside world. Reflected through an avant-garde 1960′s, his artistic work and most of all his relationship’s with family and colleagues.
Birgit Engström’s father Fingal Larsson was one of the victims in the Enbom scandal. This was during the Cold War. Birgit expressed her thoughts and feelings about her father’s and family’s fate through her greatest hobby: cross stitching.
Clifton Fexmo exhibits photos and texts concerning the village of Jierijärvi, where Clifton lived during parts of his childhood. This is a documentation about a place filled with memories and report about his attempts to improve the roads around Jierijärvi.
Late in his life Gideon Granberg started to paint motifs from the country side of his home village. He also started to make wooden sculptures. The themes of his production are humans and human activities. Memories and fantasies are given equal space.
Gunnar Hansson has dedicated the later half of his life to handcrafting, painting and sculpting. At Havremagasinet parts of Gunnar’s large production is exhibited, wooden sculptures of animals mostly, but also “Näcken” and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Julia Nylund started crafting when she and her husband phased out their small farm. Missing the cows she started making wooden animals, a creative work that would continue for the rest of her life.
Kjell Sandberg started expressing himself by doing crayon drawings on coffee filters. All together 193 filters, in a coded language, revealed the truth about the universe. Kjells paintings have a similar theme.
In the late 1990′s Medborgarskolan in Haparanda had a project for unemployed people. These carefully made dolls were produced in this Project.