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Interdisciplinary group VAVD Editions' 'The Aerial Kit' opens at Moderna Museet
Måns Wrange/VAVD Editions, The Aerial Kit, 1983–1990. Photo: Prallan Allsten/Moderna Museet.

STOCKHOLM.- The Aerial Kit is an art project about humanity’s urge to exceed physical and social limitations by using the air space. Based on some 15 more or less remarkable life stories, events and phenomena between 1809 and 1989, the project explores how air space has been used for existential, visionary or subversive purposes in the Nordic region. The stories are all locally rooted but their content is universal.

The interdisciplinary group VAVD Editions worked on The Aerial Kit from 1984 to 1989, in the shadow of the 1980s art boom. This group consisted of the artists Peter Andersson (project manager) and Måns Wrange, the designer and literary historian Lars Svensson, the international law researcher Pål Wrange, and the aviation expert Roland Zinders. Assisting them was a loose network of experts and specialists. The project resulted in a multiple, consisting of sound, objects, moving images, text and documents, and a book based on investigations in museums, libraries, archives, oral sources and documentation tours in the Nordic countries.

The work deals with Norwegian ski jumping as existential philosophy, how the accordion hit Säkkijärven Polkka was used to prevent radio detonation of mines during the Finnish-Soviet Winter War, the architect Olof Timme’s utopian plans for his home town of Örebro, the writer Carl Fredrik Gyllembourg’s failed plot against King Gustav IV Adolf with balloons made of hog’s bladders, and how the farmer Martin Swingberg in the late 1960s built an air strip in his field and became a precursor to today’s bloggers through his creative use of answerphones.

The Aerial Kit evoked a lukewarm response when it was first presented in Sweden, but has recently achieved cult status, and was mentioned, for instance, in the magazine OEI’s history of Swedish conceptualism. Parts of the project were exhibited at Kunstverein Hamburg in 1988, and the critic and curator Bruce W. Ferguson (Art Forum, Art in America, etc) wrote an essay about it in 1990. Most recently, the project was included in David Robbins’ Concrete Comedy.

The presentation at Moderna Museet was compiled by Måns Wrange together with the architect and designer Igor Isaksson, and is a collaboration with Tensta Konsthall, which is featuring the exhibition Måns Wrange: Magic Bureaucracy (11 October, 2017–14 January, 2018).

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