With its 195 students from 28 nations, Konstfack's Degree Exhibition 2017 is the largest in the school's 173-year history. Consequently, this year there are more aspects of society's major challenges than ever, expressed in a lively and critical dialogue.
"At Konstfack we attach great importance to facts, but we are just as invested in empathy and understanding towards others. We discuss how feelings affect choices and behaviour. How pleasure and displeasure, fear and desire form our world. We believe that in turbulent times, this is at least as important as the cold facts. It is also important to respect and affirm our differences. Among the students there are doubters, reformists, believers, activists, utopists, individualists, dystopists, entrepreneurs and other flâneurs. A common factor among these, as with Konstfack's researchers and teachers, is the constant searching, which through conformation, discussion, pedagogy or concrete proposals can contribute to a future worth sharing. Through artistic expression we gain insight beyond the linguistic, the strict boundaries of the scientific or the conciseness of journalism. In the existential space of art, thoughts are put to the test. Here, individuals and society speak confidently for themselves; together", says Vice-Chancellor Maria Lantz.
Marti Manen, curator of the 2017 and 2018 Konstfack spring exhibitions describes the exhibition as connected to both our present times and to the future, an exhibition that is a world of complexities, a world to be defined from undefined and flexible positions.
"Urgent matters alongside the main questions of the human condition surround us in this exhibition: Who are we? What are we doing here? What do we want to do? Is it possible to do, to tell, to think? Is it possible to feel, to touch, to desire? In a context of uncertainty, the Konstfack Degree Exhibition offers a variety of possibilities to approach our times going far beyond the use of grammatical tools; art and creative practices find ways to deal with the complexity and nuances in the impossibility of a clear future. It is in the mass that we find ways. It is in the dialogues of the exhibition that we can compose reality", says Marti Manen who has previously held a number of positions within his profession, including at the Public Art Agency Sweden, Bonniers Konsthall and as curator of the Spanish pavilion at the 2016 Vienna Biennale.
The visual theme for this year's spring exhibition has been created by graphic designer Minna Sakaria, who trained at both Konstfack and the Royal College of Art in London.
"The visual identity conveys how Konstfack is an institution that challenges and is challenged by our contemporary, runaway social spectacle. My ambition was to capture a sense of this distorted reality, combined with a red carpet celebration of our contemporary media-driven celebrity culture and post-truth reality. The identity-bearing element is a photograph, which is something that normally represents realism, but which in this case is a stock photo of the proverbial red carpet. The photo has been chopped up and manipulated until the central idea of distorted reality is manifested," says Minna Sakaria.
Konstfack's Degree Exhibition 2017, 11–21 May. For opening hours, catalogue, press photos and updated programme, please visit www.konstfack2017.se.
Press preview 11 May at 10am. Please contact Protected address.