“You can’t do art disconnected from other people, so It’s a strength to help each other, listen to peoples thoughts and get influenced”
AT: Where are you from and how/why you start engaging to art?
FH: I grew up in Gothenburg, Sweden, where I also live and work at the moment. I took painting classes for five years as a teenager and continued studying art for another five years at various schools in Sweden and at Akademie derbildende Künste Wien. In 2017 I finished my BFA from Valand Academy in Gothenburg.
AT: When did it become serious?
FH: I guess it has happened/is happening gradually. It’s almost two years since I finished my BFA, so I still feel like I’m in a post-school situation, but it’s been going well since I finished. I’ve gotten grants so that I can focus on my work, and had my first solo show at Nevven Gallery in Gothenburg some months after my graduation. I’ve been exhibiting at Nevven Gallery since 2015 and have a close collaboration with them.
AT: Are there any person that have been significant in your progression as an artist?
FH: There are several for sure, but I don’t dare mention any names.
The Concrete Series, steel fiber reinforced concrete and pigment, installation view of bachelor degree exhibition at Konstepidemin, Gothenburg, 2017.
AT: What’s your first approach to the work? Could you describe your practice?
FH: I would say my first approach to the work is through the matter. My work is closely connected to everyday life rituals and my surroundings. I’m interested in the logic in our way of leaving material traces around us, on a conscious and subconscious level, and I try trough simple gestures to emphasize these relations between body, matter, and site. For example in my series of concrete sculptures – each sculpture bare imprints from found fragments together with consumables like tape and wrapping paper. One of them is a cast of the doormat I walk on when entering the studio. The parts work like building blocks – they can be combined and arranged in various ways, and so every formation of the work is temporal and specific for that situation and site.
AT: What are your favorite tools and materials for working?
FH: I prefer materials that allow traces from the process to be seen in the final shape. Lately I’ve been working mainly with concrete, water, and paper pulp from newsprint. I like the relation between these three materials – their similarities and contradictions. Water is an element of both construction and demolition, and it’s also the binding for concrete and paper pulp. I made a series of concrete sculptures which contained water that evaporated during the time they were exhibited. By the end of the exhibition the sculptures were completely dried, and you could observe how the water had affected the surface and the color.
AT: Do you leave your work open to interpretation? Or do you think the viewer should engage with your work in a specific way?
FH: In general I don’t think art should need an explanation before you encounter it. You don’t have to like or understand the work, but you can notice what questions or feelings it brings to you. Then, if you have thoughts that you want to share, we can talk about it and it might give us both new ideas.
Wither 3, 166 x 113 cm, paper pulp and pigment, 2019.
Wither 1, 176 x 113 cm, paper pulp and pigment, 2019.
AT: How do you understand when a work is finished?
FH: I’m more preoccupied with questions concerning whether a piece is good enough or not, and what that means.
AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from? Do you find inspiration outside or it’s all inside you?
FH: I prefer not to work too dependent on inspiration but rather to maintain an active studio routine. And by that I don’t necessarily mean producing a lot. Not all of the work done in the studio turns into finished pieces, but it leads me somewhere, to a next step or a new idea. I want to be in an ongoing process, then all sorts of things can inspire me. I rarely work in the studio more than four hours per day. The rest of the time I want to get impressions elsewhere, through reading, walking, and collecting materials for example, that informs my work.
AT: Are there any artists who influenced your works? Why?
FH: Some artists that I admire are Klara Lidén, Thu Van Tran, Agnes Martin, and Roni Horn, to name a few. I can see connections to ideas of movements like Arte Povera and Mono-ha. Some examples of literature and theory that have had an impact on my work are writings by Willy Ørskov, Jane Bennett, Rebecca Solnit, Georges Perec and Agnes Martin.
Evaporate. Installation view from group exhibition Never Even at Tredje Våningen, Gothenburg, 2019. Photo: David Eng.
AT: How important is for you the role of social media?
FH: I use Instagram as a tool to document a sculptural gaze connected to my practice, mostly from city environments when I travel, or in every day life. It’s a good platform for publishing those kind of process related images. I also use it to inform about upcoming exhibitions etc.
AT: What do you find to be the most challenging or daunting thing about pursuing art? What is the most rewarding part of working as an artist?
FH: The best and at the same time hardest thing is that there’s no right or wrong. You can’t do art disconnected from other people, so It’s a strength to help each other, listen to peoples thoughts and get influenced. But at the same time, peoples opinions are always subjective and in the end you have to trust yourself, to make it meaningful. It’s a balance that you constantly have to find.
AT: What are your plans and expectations for the future?
FH: I just arrived to Belgrade where I will stay for two months on a residence. I’m soon having an exhibition here that I will produce with a very short amount of time which I’m both exited and a bit stressed about. In the summer I will go to the north of Sweden to work in a studio at Ricklundgården. I haven’t been to any residencies before so I’m curious to see how it will influence my work and ideas.
The Concrete Series, 120x70x40 cm, steel fiber reinforced concrete and pigment, 2017.
Fanny Hellgren Lives and works in Gothenburg Upcoming 2019 - Belgrade AIR (Center424) 2019 - solo show at KC Magacin, Belgrade Education 2014 - 2017, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Valand Academy, Gothenburg 2016, Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien, Prof. Julian Göthe 2013 - 2014, Öland Art School 2012 - 2013, KV Art School, Gothenburg Exhibitions 2019 Never Even, group show, Tredje Våningen, Gothenburg 2019 Artist Books and Self Publication, group show, Galleri Gerlesborg 2018 Publikationens Utvidgade Fält, group show, Galleri Monitor, Gothenburg 2018 A Minimal Relief, three person show, Nevven Gallery, Gothenburg 2018 Roundup vol. 2, group show / sculpture park, Solidsgatan, Gothenburg 2018 Solstice, group show, FK2, Gothenburg 2017 Gray Terrain (Solo), Nevven Gallery, Gothenburg 2017 Opening of NEJD, Gothenburg 2017 Konvengenser #3, Nevven Gallery, Gothenburg 2017 Epilog, duo show with Amanda Björk, Lilla galleriet, KKV Bohuslän, Hamburgsund 2017 Lilla Göteborg, Raum Vollreinigung, Berlin 2017 Roundup, group show / sculpture park, Sollidsgatan, Gothenburg 2017 Bachelor Degree Show, Konstepidemin, Gothenburg 2016 Konvengenser #2, Nevven Gallery, Gothenburg 2016 Monpti, Kurzbauergasse, Vienna 2016 Off the coast with me, Neustiftgasse, Vienna 2016 I just brushed my teeth, Kellingasse, Vienna 2015 Story on Story (GIBCA Extended), Alingsås Museum 2015 Stafett, artist in residence and group show, Nevven Gallery, Gothenburg 2015 Valand c/o Stadsmuseet, Göteborgs Stadsmuseum, Gothenburg 2015 “Object and Space” in the Expanded Suitcase, Raja Gallery, Tallinn 2015 Inbillad Vinkel (solo), Galleri Rotor, Gothenburg 2014 duo exhibition with Nils Bengtsson Blomstrand, Galleri Lugnet, Gothenburg 2014 Educate This, Entrance Gallery, Valand Academy, Gothenburg 2014 Ritual, Öland Art School Graduation Show, Kalmar Art Museum 2014 Vårsalongen, Himmelsberga, Öland 2013 duo exhibition with Astrid Eriksson, Pavement, Andra Långgatan, Gothenburg 2013 three person exhibition together with Astrid Eriksson and Agnes Nyrenius, Viktors Kaffe, Gothenburg
Residences 2019 - Belgrade AIR (Center424) Grants 2018 - One year working grant, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee 2017 - Familjen Wikanders Stiftelse 2017 - Eric Ericssons Stiftelse 2017 - KKV Bohuslän Artist in Residence Grant 2017 - Theodor & Hanne Mannheimers fond 2016 - Stiftelsen AAA 2015 - KUNO Grant Represented Göteborg Konst Private collections Published 2018 - Yesterdays News, publication, self published, 20 pages, 40x29 cm. Roto press on newsprint, edition of 1500 2017 - VV.AA. Konvergenser #3, Nevven Editions, fanzine catalog 2017 - Betongen Lösgjord Ur Tiden, omkonst.se 2016 - VV.AA. Konvergenser #2, Nevven Editions, fanzine catalog 2015 - Stafett, Nevven Editions, fanzine catalog Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org @hellgrenfanny Represented by Nevven Gallery Bangatan 10, 414 63, Gothenburg