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Camden Arts Centre opens major survey of work by Swedish artist Jockum Nordström
Jockum Nordstrom, Barndomens Definitiva Slut/The Final End of Childhood, 2001. Watercolor, graphite and collage on paper. Collection Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall ©The Artist.

LONDON.- This major survey of work by Swedish artist Jockum Nordström (b.1963) brings together collages, graphite drawings and architectural sculptures, representing the breadth of his work from the 1990s to the most recent pieces made especially for the exhibition. The title All I have Learned and Forgotten Again harks back to the wisdom and magic of childhood, a lament of the lost innocence that gives way to the demands of an adult world. Jockum Nordström’s first solo UK exhibition runs at Camden Arts Centre London, from 26 July until 29 September 2013 and admission is free.

A child-like charm and naivety runs throughout Nordström’s work, yet it is not without inner complexity: His characters, whether they are riding horses, sailing boats, making love or playing music, are constantly in action. But as the tableaux unfold, they reveal imagery of a strange, sinister, at times even violent, nature.

All the work has a handmade quality, from the intricate graphite drawings to the architectural sculptures made from cardboard or matchboxes. Nordström’s collages read like story boards, and he has often referred to them as “stills,” where all the action takes place simultaneously within a frozen frame. He often works on several collages simultaneously – firstly drawing, painting and cutting out the characters who will populate his tableaux, then allowing them to migrate into different arrangements across ‘frames’.

Nordström’s drawings evoke historical eras, including a regatta of schooners and period costumes – top hat and tails, full-skirted coats, knee breeches and frills. The fairy tale world that these pictures reveal, is populated with animals - frogs, insects, birds, crustacea and horses – as well as people. His dogs leap into the sky, horses gallop above the horizon, a man balances a tall ship on his top hat and buildings sit upon table tops. These surreal scenarios are at once specific and vague, always strange and confusing, with a compelling sense of mystery.

Nordström’s work is imbued with a sensibility that draws on music, poetry and children’s stories amongst other inspirations. His work has often been compared to fairytales in its weaving of fantasy and reality into a magical world and he first came to prominence in Sweden when he published his own series of children’s books. Last year he produced a collection of poetry - 10000 Gold Dollar For The As Poisons Himself with the snow – in collaboration with Johan Nordbeck and also released an LP in with Joakim Åhlund, titled Paddan och Hunden. His collaborations have also involved projects with Marcel Dzama and his wife Karin Mamma Anderson.

Jockum Nordström lives and works in Stockholm, where he was born in 1963. His solo exhibitions include: Swedish Institute, Paris (2011); Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2010); Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2006); and the Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2005). Nordström’s work is in major museum collections. The following have generously loaned to this exhibition: Helsingborgs Konstmuseum, Helsingborg, Sweden; Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall; Moderna Museet Stockholm. Jockum Nordstrom is represented by David Zwirner, London and New York, Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp, Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm.

A version of this exhibition was exhibited at the Lille Métropole, musée d’art moderne, d’art contemporain et d’art brut in Villeneuve d’Ascq, France earlier in 2013.

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