Monday, June 6, 2022

Towards an exhibition


text messages: Vilhelm Lundström,
made in response to a challenge for the group 12 by the Dozen,
2018, 40 x 40 cm

Today I took a (sort of) inventory of my quilts. I have an exhibition coming up in October, in our local museum. This is not an art museum, it has a standard exhibition that concentrates on local history of pottery as it was common here in the 18th to early 20th centuries. The museum has won prizes and is famous amongst pottery circles, the early 20th century e.g. was a time when migrant workers came here from northern Italy. Special exhibitions are shown regularly, though, and recently there have been exhibitions about the times of World War II, or the history of water in the city. The new director (who is the first director with an academic background and not doing this as a volunteer and has been here for a couple of years by now) is trying to diversify in terms of topics that will be dealt with. Currently they are showing a recollection of the 40 years of the city’s professional women’s volleyball team which has been playing in the first national league for several years.

Greening Rothko, 2016, 45 x 80 cm,
made as contribution to one of the challenges for
International Threads


I was offered to do this exhibition in the context of the attempt at diversification of topics, and as 2017 recipient of the Kulturpreis (Cultural Prize) of the city. Indeed, during my nursing course I had at some point thought I would not ever again try to do a solo show, I felt so drained artistically, and there wasn’t much time to spend on planning, designing, executing (enough) quilts that satisfied my personal standards regarding artistic merit. But the museum is not too big, so when the director and the city’s cultural manager approached me with this idea, I agreed to this adventure. I figured it might perhaps be another incentive to spark my creative impulses.

Mapping my inner world,
2018,58 x 105 cm


Hanging in the museum is going to be a bit tricky because the display cases are glass-fronted cases with some unusual shapes and widths. Although the city is having a few display walls made, I will mostly need to refer back to smaller sizes, and I really had no clue as to how many smaller quilts I have in stock. It was an interesting dive into my history of quilt making, and a rediscovery of some I had more or less forgotten. That happens when the website is unsufficiently maintained (and it has been disfunctional for a while now anyway, that’s another thing I need to get fixed before the exhibitions is actually on). Most (or at least many) of them have never been exhibited because they were made as group challenge quilts. Some of them I was surprised to see with a temporal distance and realize that they werent’t bad at all.


Challenge 3, 2014, 40 x 80 cm,
made for a challenge of International Threads

I concocted a list of what I have, measured some (or most) of them and was relieved that I should be able to fill the space of the museum with smaller quilts, but the actual matching of the widths with the plans of display cases still remains to be done. I also have to clarify with the cultural manager how many display walls there are indeed going to be so I would be able to hang a few larger or at least not really small quilts as well.

The piece which is currently traveling with the SAQA-exhibition “Forced to Flee” is bound to return home at some point in the fall, as the Festival of Quilts is supposed to be the last place where the exhibition will be shown, at least that is the current state of affairs. The picture currently shown at the top of the blog is a detail from that piece. That is one of the bigger quilts that I really would like to show. But, ironically, after FoQ the show will go back to the States before the individual quilts are being sent back to their owners, and that turnover may take longer than the opening date for my exhibition. We will see. The inventory session at least has given me the secure feeling that I will be able to hang enough quilts, even if it may not be an entirely coherent show.