I have just returned from my trip to Sweden for the Reflections opening at the brand new Almlof Gallery, and what a great experience!
Sweden was wonderful, and although Patricia and I were only there for the weekend, we enjoyed every minute of it. The people were warm and welcoming (and TALL) and the exhibit looked fantastic. Everyone who attended the opening seemed impressed with the new gallery space Jan Almlof has put together, and the response to my work was positive.
Whenever I get to travel for an exhibit, I am overwhelmed by the feeling that I am the luckiest person to be able to meet people from around the world and connect with them on a very deep level, despite language and cultural differences. I love the sincere and meaningful connections we can make through my work, and the capability of relating to one another through mutual passion and openness. I had wonderful conversations with guests at the opening;
one couple responded to Untitled #7146 and talked about how the hand looked like it was being pushed out of the body and that it felt like the moment of birth of a full grown person.
Another guest was intrigued by Untitled #3572, saying that it felt like “what you try to keep inside, but keeps getting out anyway”. I was so touched by that insight and found it truly beautiful!
When a mother asked her little girl (perhaps no older than 8 years old) which image was her favorite, she responded by saying “the dead one”, pointing to Untitled #4-24-08-492, and did not seem the least bit upset by the photograph. I found this utterly fascinating as this was the second time a young child, undisturbed by their own interpretation, related this particular image to death; the first was at a lecture at the Delaware Center For Contemporary Arts back in 2009.
Prior to the opening – but following a luxurious 5 hour nap – Patricia and I went exploring in the neighborhood between the gallery and the hotel we were staying in. We stumbled across a clothing boutique called “City Syatelje & Design Malmö”, where Patricia found a very cute dress amongst the twelve or twenty or so she tried on 😉 Meanwhile, I had a great time chatting with Giovanna Brankovicthe, the owner of the shop:
Giovanna: When did you arrive in Sweden?
Me: About 9 o’clock.
Giovanna: And when do you leave?
Giovanna: ?? *incredulous*
We told her about my exhibit at the Almlof Gallery, and were delighted when she and a friend came to visit at the opening. They were very interested in my work and I felt like we were quickly making new friends.
One of the most intriguing experiences during the opening was an occasional response from viewers when I introduced myself and offered to answer any questions. A few of the guests were not interested in how the work was made or what the work “meant” – they wanted to enjoy it and interpret it on their own terms. This doesn’t happen very often, and I love it when it does. To see people engaging with my images in such a personal way is truly gratifying.
The Almlof Gallery seems to be off to an excellent start, and I was thrilled to see such a great turnout at the opening. Several of us gathered for dinner with Jan at a nearby restaurant afterwards, and the wonderful conversations and discussions that had flourished during the opening continued over our meal. It was such an incredible experience not only to connect with one another, but to feel that the excitement over connecting in this way was mutual. I’ve always felt that this is the true power of art – the ability to connect us to each other, to ourselves, and to our humanity in a way that transcends the inadequacies of language.
THANK YOU!!!! to Jan Almlof for being such an AMAZING host during our stay in Sweden – we had an incredible time and it was wonderful getting to know you! I’m looking forward to seeing the continued success of the gallery and can’t wait for the next visit!!