Leif Holmstrand – Termiternas liv: Slutet
3 feb 202428 apr 2024

Leif Holmstrand, Mother Tree/Mother Insect, 2023.

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Betalt indhold


Malmö Konsthall starts the spring with a major exhibition featuring the Malmö-based artist Leif Holmstrand. In his work, Holmstrand combines traditional handcraft with a fascination for horror films and burlesque popular culture from a non-straight perspective. The works reference his own family history, mental health, the trans identity, drag and gay culture. The exhibition gathers together a large number of works and also includes an artistic reference library with works by those who have inspired him. The exhibition opens on February 3rd, with the vernissage on Friday, February 2nd.

– The exhibition presents an artistry in constant motion that effortlessly transcends boundaries. The public meets Leif Holmstrand in his combined role as artist, author, (art) collector, performer, musician and curator, says Mats Stjernstedt, Director of Malmö Konsthall.

There is literal thread that runs through Leif Holmstrand’s (b. 1972 in Malmö) extensive artistic practice. He knits and crotchets objects, coverings and costumes, wrapping objects and bodies in cords, yarn and rope. His works are often characterized by a grotesque and confined corporeality and a dark relationship to sexuality and the external world. Fundamental themes include the queer body – which according to the artist can be seen as a kind of magical doll for rituals – and a gender dissolution where the cultural and biological boundaries of the body are challenged. The materials remain central – the textiles, the black bin bags and prams. The boundaries between what is material, sculpture and performance are in flux, many sculptures begin or end as performances.

– Almost all of my works, including performances, are about giving shape to something chaotic. I give it a casing or create an object or a character out of it. The work is at the intersection of care and violation. By crocheting objects, I encase them while also showing them a form of care, says Leif Holmstrand.

Inspired by theft and termites

The Life of Termites: The End is the finale of a major art project by Holmstrand, the first part of which is currently on display at Galleri Thomas Wallner in the exhibition The Life of Termites: The Beginning. The title is taken from the Belgian author Maurice Maeterlinck’s book La Vie des Termites (The Life of Termites) from 1926. The content of the book was revealed to be stolen from the South African poet and naturalist Eugène Marais. The theft, an author’s obsession with a material and the life form of the termites – neither human nor animal, both individual and collective – fascinate Holmstrand, whose knitted structures resemble termite mounds.

Several new works and references to others

The exhibition gathers sculptures, costumes, collage and drawings that are rooted in personal stories. Many series of works are new, including Family Flight where Holmstrand has crocheted together beds and armchairs from his deceased parents’ home, and How an Insect Society is Organised, which consists of twelve large handwoven banners in linen.

– I believe that the newer works I’ve created for this exhibition encapsulate my history better than most of my previous pieces, especially the suite Family Flight. This exhibition is the most comprehensive one I’ve done. I make reference to so many aspects in this exhibition: my family, British drag culture in the eighties, queer history, other artists, and the fact that I am a kind of collage artist, says Holmstrand.

Other artists included

In the exhibition, the private intertwines with glimpses towards the world. In addition to his own works, Leif Holmstrand displays parts of his art collection in the exhibition and also presents borrowed works from relevant artistries as a personal, visual reference library. Japanese contemporary art, characterised by craftmanship and a fearlessness to blend together forms, materials and expressions, is an important part of the collection. Other artists exhibited are Hans Bellmer, Chim–Pom, Nan Embäck, Oscar Guermouche, Majd Abdel Hamid, Lisa Jeannin, Lunga Kama, Sachiko Kazama, Lawrence Lemaoana, Anna-Maria Neumüller, OLTA, Pyuupiru, Meraj Sharifi, Lieko Shiga, Lotta Smed, Fredrik Strid, Per Wizén, Sakiko Yamaoka and Jonas Örtemark. As part of the exhibition, Leif Holmstrand will be featured in a live-streamed performance from Umewaka Noh Theatre in Tokyo, alongside the artist collective OLTA.

Dette indhold er produceret i samarbejde med et udstillingssted som en del af udstillingstedets Artguide-abonnement hos kunsten.nu.
Kunsten.nus uafhængige redaktion har intet at gøre med indholdet.

Malmö Konsthall

S:t Johannesgatan 7
SE-205 80 Malmö


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Leif Holmstrand – Termiternas liv: Slutet
3 feb 202428 apr 2024


'Leif Holmstrand - Termiternas liv: Slutet'