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Exhibition at Moderna Museet gauges the current position of Swedish contemporary art
The title of the Moderna Exhibition 2018 – With the Future Behind Us – is inspired by a unique linguistic reversal in the Aymara language, whose speakers are said to 'face the past with their backs to the future'.

STOCKHOLM.- Current political tendencies take centre stage at the Moderna Exhibition 2018. This edition of the exhibition, which gauges the current position of Swedish contemporary art, features 36 artists and artist groups who offer sober and intimate reflections on Swedish society today, on a natural world that is no longer what it once was, and a future that appears to have already begun.

Where does the idea of 'the local' fit into our globally networked society? And what does it mean, today, to frame an exhibition as a national survey? Over the course of a two-year research process, the curators Joa Ljungberg and Santiago Mostyn began to think beyond the idea of the Moderna Exhibition as a showcase for the most prominent artistic practices in Sweden, and instead see the exhibition as an opportunity to look more closely at Swedish society through art.

The human body is tangibly present throughout the exhibition – surveilled and registered, caught between legal and geographic boundaries, and shaped by ideologies, technologies, power structures and norms. Also palpable are the remnants of nature, transformed beyond recognition to make way for vast industrial tracts of land where time passes ever more rapidly.

In a more hopeful direction, we encounter the search for an existence and a sexuality unencumbered by patriarchy, consumerism, and religious heritage, with new approaches to understanding oneself as a more integral part of a cosmological whole. The hierarchy of man, animal and plant is reinterpreted in novel ways, opening up the potential for imaginative new forms of communal understanding.

The title of the Moderna Exhibition 2018 – With the Future Behind Us – is inspired by a unique linguistic reversal in the Aymara language, whose speakers are said to 'face the past with their backs to the future'. When referring to the past, the Aymara will gesture to space in front of themselves, and when speaking of the future, which they see as unknown or unknowable, they point or wave behind their backs. This worldview lies in stark contrast to the orientation of Indo-European time, where the Ego faces the future and the present passes all too quickly into an unseen and soon forgotten past.

As part of the curators' research process, four work sessions with over forty presentations by konsthall directors, curators, writers and researchers were arranged in collaboration with Iaspis in Stockholm, Bildmuseet in Umeĺ, Malmö Art Museum and Göteborgs Konsthall. These presentations have resulted in a free-standing publication In & Beyond Sweden: Journeys Through an Art Scene – jointly published by Moderna Museet and Iaspis/ the Swedish Arts Grants Committee, and released on the occasion of the exhibition.

The Moderna Exhibition is held once every four years. Previous Moderna Exhibitions took place in 2006, 2010 and 2014.

Participating artists and artist groups are Meriç Algün, Muhammad Ali, Emanuel Almborg, Ragna Bley, Alfred Boman, Kalle Brolin, Fanny Carinasdotter/Anja Örn/Tomas Örn, Kah Bee Chow, Rebecca Digby, Sven X-et Erixson, Malin Franzén, Mark Frygell, Erik Mikael Gudrunsson, Thomas Hämén, Ingela Ihrman, Sara Jordenö/Amber Horning, Hanni Kamaly, Mĺrten Lange, Helena Lund Ek, Dinis Machado, Éva Mag, Eric Magassa, Tor-Finn Malum Fitje/Thomas Hill, Britta Marakatt-Labba, Fatima Moallim, Ĺsa Norberg & Jennie Sundén, Ida Persson, Anna-Karin Rasmussen, John Skoog, Anders Sunna, Cara Tolmie, Anna Uddenberg, Knutte Wester, John Willgren, Sophie Vuković, Christine Ödlund.

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