Jockum Nordström collage
For Jockum Nordström, children’s books are only part of this Renaissance man’s talents. Nordström confesses that for him 'its about the process'. Realising he was allergic to oil paint while at art school, Nordström turned to other materials and techniques, including a pair of scissors. The resulting sculptures, made from cardboard, matchboxes and scraps of paper, delight in the physical process of mark-making and the unsettling combination of childlike purity and adult sexual corruption. These elegant and sometimes disturbing creations are closely linked to Swedish culture and churn with the curious motifs of musical instruments, animals, bits of the body and endlessly quirky characters. The resulting ‘Stills’, as Nordström refers to them, feel like something out of a Salvador Dali surrealist painting or a Dada protest.
Of course Nordström has always been greatly influenced by music, seeing melody as closely linked to the same creativity of artists and writers. Hidden away in his Gotland studio, Nordström absorbs himself in one record, which right now is a very bad recording of a '60s swing artist.
Jockum Nordström David Zwirner London
You might have spied Nordström’s deceptively simple drawings last year at Camden Arts Centre where his major survey, All I Have Learned and Forgotten Again, delighted critics. In this latest Jockum Nordström exhibition at one of our favourite London contemporary galleries, David Zwirner, we are treated to a new series of fantastical collages, made in a secluded farmhouse studio in the wilderness of Gotland Island off the coast of Sweden. Nordström always migrates to the countryside in the summer, abandoning the the traffic and people of the city for a renewed devotion to nature: 'I don't do this for the people. I do it for the time and the process and for the insects who were there everyday, its for the nature'.
The title of the show, For the insects and the hounds, is a wonderfully simple, but effective reference to the artist’s dog, which was his only distraction, and to the dead flies that fell from the ceiling. This image of the artist alone in his studio in the depths of rural Gotland is whimsical and romantic, making intriguing comments on the tensions between man and nature, reality and fantasy. In the form of storyboards, these deeply rich tableaux conjure the idea of the strip of a comic book or piece of film. There is also a sense of the past about his work, which is fitting for an artist who enjoys a dialogue with Old Masters like Cranach and an undefined future audience.
Look out for the centrepieces of the exhibition – three large-scale works on paper which Nordström based upon the frescoes of the 100 medieval churches across Gotland. These 'comic strip' images were particularly important to the illiterate who came to church to understand what would happen without faith in God. Particularly special are the floating female figures with rays of light emanating from their forms, which Nordström describes as Gothic Madonnas.
Don’t miss one of the must-see London art exhibitions 2014 at David Zwirner where suited men ride gallantly on horses and depraved sex scenes are played out. The result is something like a Swedish fairytale gone awry, as childhood innocence is lost to adult desire.
Love Jockum Nordström? Visit the gallery for a guided tour of the exhibition and a talk on the artist by Marc Donnadieu, 17th January 11am. Donnadieu curated Jockum Nordström’s recent major European survey, All I Have Learned and Forgotten Again at the Lille Métropole Musée d’art moderne, d’Art contemporain et d’art brut in Villeneuve d’Ascq, France which then travelled to Camden Arts Centre, London.The event is free, but booking is essential. RSVP to Naomi Chassé at [email protected] or +44 203 538 3165
|What||Jockum Nordström, David Zwirner|
|Where||David Zwirner, 24 Grafton Street, London, W1S 4EZ | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Green Park (underground)|
28 Nov 14 – 24 Jan 15, Tuesday to Saturday. Monday by appointment
|Website||Click here for more information|