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Moderna Museet Malmö opens an alternative cultural historical exhibition about Malmö
Installation view Malmö's Burning: An Exhibition about Revolt, Dreams and Passions, 1968-1988 Moderna Museet Malmö. Photo: Helene Toresdotter/Moderna Museet.

MALMO.- Moderna Museet Malmö is about to open an alternative cultural historical exhibition about Malmö. The ambition is to consciously search the margins of history to reveal how politics, art, music, and other cultural expressions were woven together during a period of the city’s history that today can feel, paradoxically, both very recent and like the distant past.

Malmö’s modern development is usually described as a progression from working city to knowledge city. For the first time we are now presenting an exhibition that portrays part of this period and offers a new and alternative view of Malmö’s transformation. Malmö’s Burning spans from the experimental and increasingly political 1960s until the 1980s, when new alternative cultures began appearing just as the years of great economic prosperity seemed to have come to an end.

The curators behind Malmö’s Burning, Clemens Altgård and Ola Åstrand, have hand-picked a number of important works to form the deeply personal core of the exhibition. Here visitors are confronted with a mixture of different forms of cultural and visual expressions produced by various subcultures that left their mark on Malmö during this period.

“We’ve tried to produce the kind of exhibition we’d like to go to ourselves,” says Ola Åstrand, “so we’ve consciously explored the margins. We hope that Malmö’s Burning will engage the audience and provoke questions, and if we’re lucky be perceived as a political exhibition. I think Malmö’s Burning could inspire viewers like a call to action and convey the sense that change is possible by doing things at the grassroots level.”

Malmö’s Burning begins with the economic boom of the 1960s and concludes with the recession of the early 80s, just before the arrival of postmodernism and a new period of prosperity. With the 1980s came a new era of revitalized cultural life in the city. The exhibition strives to sketch in the city’s identity and at the same time provide a manifestation of what has thus far been overlooked in the official writing of history.

“Malmö has acted as a link between Sweden and the continent,” says Clemens Altgård, “a city, for example, where the rejuvenation of local culture came with immigration from South America in the mid-1970s. The city is also a kind of cultural gray area within Sweden, with aesthetic norms that are in part distinct from the rest of the country. I mean ‘gray area’ in a positive sense. Malmö is a city that can be perceived as both big and small. In social terms, it's a close-knit small town, which offers more opportunities for mixtures of different subcultures and for unexpected encounters.”

Malmö has proven to be a place where art, music, poetry, and creativity can flourish even during periods of general stagnation. Between the 1960s and the 1980s, the city became a fountain of creativity and a fertile ground for various forms of innovation. The exhibition Malmö’s Burning thus also tells the story of searching for alternatives, and of how do-it-yourself thinking lit a fire under a world-weary community.

Contributing artists: Ninni Benediktson & Anne Nummila Rosengren, Art Bomba/Åke Dahlbom, Christian Cavallin, Stina Ebers, Leif Eriksson, Allan Friis, Pernilla Frykholm, Abelardo Gonzalez, Elisa Halvegård, Lars Hejll, Paulina Hårleman, Per Linde & Technicolor Poets, Lena Mattsson, Jessica Nilsson, Isabel Rayo, Maria Tomczak, Pepe Viñoles, Annika Wide, Jacques Zadig, Ola Åstrand.

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