Intertwined / Sammanflätade
Installation with oak trees, stone, sculpture, objects, and a fanzine (2023 - work in progress)
Created in dialog with Strängnäs Kommun, Strängnäs Trädgårdsförening, Vårfruberga Klosterförening and many others.
The core of the work is made up of a grove of six young oak trees that are intertwined with each-other, forming a kind of dome; a living sculpture with a space inside which one can enter. Inside the tree sculpture a paving of natural stone forms an organic pattern. In the circle around the stone paving, in between the trees, six types of medicinal plants have been planted. Leaning towards a tree is sculpted spade, and making its way towards the groove is a sculpture of a child, carrying a bucket of water from the old well.
The piece will change and grow with each passing year. In a hundred years time, the young trees will have grown into voluminous trunks, their top branches intertwined into one organism.
On June 6th, 2023, 500 years had passed since the first king was elected at the national assembly in Strängnäs. In connection with the 500 year jubilee, the municipality of Strängnäs announced a competition for a public artwork addressing one or more of their chosen themes; democracy, human rights, power and public health. The winning proposal was what would become the piece Sammanflätade (Intertwined).
My starting point was the realization that if I was to make a work on the theme of democracy, the work can not be finished, never be complete. It had to be something that felt in progress, developing, that felt fragile, alive, in the need of constant care. The work should relate to time, but not turn our gaze backwards as the jubilee might suggest, but rather turn our attention to the present and to the future.
Another starting point was the idea of the lone person as the smallest component of our societal construct, and the metaphorical image of how several frail threads can be woven into a strong fabric.
Accompanying the sculpture, a fanzine was created. A group of people with varying life experiences and expertise were invited to write about democracy from their own perspectives. One writer talks about his first experience with democracy, coming to Sweden as an adult refugee, and getting to vote about what songs to sing in the church choir. Another writes about the knowledge that was lost when Gustav Vasa decided to tear down the Swedish monasteries in the 1500s.
In her text, Sofia Näsström, professor of political science, writes:
Democracy is not short-term. It’s not working towards the next election. [...] Democracy is like a tree with several hundred annual rings. Long-term. That idea carries a certain kind of reassurance. By fixing our eyes on democracy’s longer duration we can gain perspective, and avoid getting lost in an intangible ‘now’.