Magnus Bärtås

Vicerektor för forskning, forskarutbildning och samverkan

Magnus Bärtås
08-450 4121
I am an artist, writer and head of research at Konstfack, working mainly with text and video. I am an editor of VIS – Nordic Journal for Artistic Research, and a member of SUHF:s (The Association Swedish Higher Education Institution) borard for quality. My dissertation in artistic research, You Told Me – Work stories and video essays, was presented in 2010 at The University of Gothenburg. The stories in focus in the dissertation-text are the stories behind an artwork. I call them work stories [verkberättelser]. A work story is, to use a very condensed description, a written or oral narrative about the forming of materials, immaterial units, situations, relations and social practices that is, or leads to, an artwork. The You Told Me-title of the dissertation refers not only to relations and social practice, but also to interrelations between the narrator, the viewer, images and the artist within the practice of the video-essay. In this practice of the narration is reflecting and commenting on its own process; its practical, relational, and ethical aspects. Thus, in the video essay, the work story is present to different degrees, even though often fragmentized or embedded. Here it exists in a polyphonic situation. It is a story among multiple narratives. One of the works of the dissertation, Madame & Little Boy, won the Grand Prize at Oberhausen International Filmfestival. Between 2013 and 2015 I lead the research project Microhistories (funded by National Research Council), which expanded some questions of my dissertation. The objective was an investigation of how a mutual exchange can come about between the historical perspective/approach used in microhistory, and visual art, especially the video essay genre. The project gathers knowledge from artistic practice/artistic research and the field of history and has resulted in a number of artworks, screenings, seminars and the anthology Microhistories (ed. Magnus Bärtås and Andrej Slávik). Since 2019 Mikrohistorier is a postgraduate course at Konstfack, and thereby this research project has been given a pedagogical and practical application. Beside showing my works in filmfestivals and exhibitions in galleries and museums I frequently publish essays (most often in collaboration with Fredrik Ekman). Our book All monsters must die (together with Fredrik Ekman) was shortlisted for the August Prize 2011 and is published by House of Anansi, Canada in 2015. In 2016 Göteborgs Konsthall presented a larger retrospective exhibition of my work. In my current research/practice I investigate visual/spatial text practice, based on assemblage of embroidery. An anthology with a similar theme of text art was published at Konstfack 2013 – Texst (ed. Magnus Bärtås) with contributions by Swedish authors and visual artists. The assemblage works has, beside Göteborgs Konsthall, been shown in a number of exhibitions. It has also been published in The Catalyst Experiment, by Project Art Writing at Aaarhus Litteraturcenter (Catalyst Press 2017, together with an exhibition at KH7 Artspace, Aarhus). See also “Svensk textkonst” in Samtidskonst för vanligt folk, Sveriges Konstföreningar 2013.

Publications, artistic output and conference papers