The Heritage is The Archive

The Heritage is The Archive

Annika Ekdahl

I have, for many years now, been focused on tapestry as art genre, it’s possibilities and potential. It is an art form with great pretentions, you might say, due to its history and tradition. And we can of course be absorbed by it in museum collections, study the splender and background of historical works. We can, with white gloves, touch the legacy. Or, we can just unlock the archive and allow ourselves to be seduced by all the magnificence, performed hundreds of years ago.

I do not see heritage as an obligation, but I am interrested in how to manage it – in the meaning of understanding it and renewing it. With support from The Swedish Arts Grants Committee, with both grants and allowances, I have had the opportunity to enter deeply into both my own art practice as well as the art form more broadly. I have through visits to universities, and participation in biennials, triennales and symposia, been given the opportunity to see how the tapestry technique is understood, managed and changed in other parts of the world, such as the Baltic States, China and Australia.

The results of the last ten years of work – a project that involved mapping the art form, understanding its nature and possibilities, exploraing geographical differences (aesthetic preferences, technical differences, opinions on materials) – I have called The Baroque Party. I have shown the result in an exhibition with five tapestries at Kalmar Castle, Ronneby Cultural Center, Västerås Art Museum and eventually at Dalslands Museum of Art. I have also presented parts of the suite at the Gallery Gröna Paletten and HV Gallery, both in Stockholm. Below are photos of four of these tapestries: , The Wedding in Queens (2002, 3x3 m), The Theatre in the Park (2006, 3x3m) and Definitely Gold (2008, 3x3m).

After working with the Baroque Party suite, I have begun an investigation into a very special group of tapestries called verdures. A verdure is usually from the 16th century, full of vegetation and fantasy animals. The question is what a verdure can be today. I am currently working on my first verdure, Road Movie (verdure): Visiting Mom and it is about death. It will be shown for the first time in November 2010 in Oslo. I am also planning for a second verdure, which of course will be about - life.


The baroque party by annika Ekdahl

The wedding in Queens by Annika Ekdahl

Definately gold by Annika Ekdahl
Photo credit: Åke Nilsson