The exhibition spaces and gardens will be closed on 6 June as we prepare for the evening event.
Close notice

Suivre les ondes: Lars Fredrikson in resonance with Anastasia Ax and Christine Ödlund

An exhibition with images, sculptures, poetry, readings, animated objects, movement and sound.
White lines and curves on a black background.

In the mid 1940s, Lars Fredrikson, a young radio engineer, tried to make sculptures using explosives on a Swedish beach with a friend. The artistic approach was nothing short of sensational for its time and opened the way to a unique and varied body of work. Fredrikson soon moved to Paris to study art. After a stint in the Swedish Merchant Navy that would take him round the world several times over, he returned to France and settled in the South, where he remained until he died.

His work in the fields of kinetic sculpture, images and sound is both prolific and revolutionary. It involved numerous innovative collaborations at the crossroads between sound and poetry, sculpture and movement, as well as important technological progress supporting art. Despite his pioneering work, Fredrikson is more or less unknown in Sweden and barely known in France beyond a small circle of art historians, curators and artists.

The exhibition presents a large selection of artworks by Lars Fredrikson alongside the work of two contemporary Swedish artists, Anastasia Ax and Christine Ödlund.

One of the first artworks the visitor sees is a stainless steel triptych by Lars Fredrikson, which, by distorting our perception of space, takes us into a playground where anything is possible. There is also a large selection of prints on paper made using fax machines before they became widely used. The exhibition also presents one of his kinetic works, mobile motorised wall-mounted objects that redefine the notions of sculpture, painting and the mobile. Additionally, visitors can discover his sound pieces, artist books, and one Écriture subversive (1974), a fragmented, multi-sensory drawing derived from sound impulses in a TV screen. Many of these artworks have never been shown to the public, and provide insights into an artist whose creative energy seems inexhaustible.

It seemed both natural and exciting to present the art of Anastasia Ax and Christine Ödlund alongside that of Lars Fredrikson. Although ostensibly very different artists, there are many points of contact between them.
Ax and Ödlund’s art is bold and experimental, moving freely across a rich and varied range of expressions and materials: sculpture, various forms of images, performance art, movement and sound. They also share with Fredrikson a fascination for the way energy moves, is transformed and manifests itself in different materials, as well as for the way in which communication is established between different life forms and states of being.

Anastasia Ax presents a series of never-before-seen works, made of mirror foil between which she pours ink before pressing it between her hands, creating random patterns from their imprints. Her exploration of visual and auditory effects created by different materials – powder, paper, plaster, ink, liquid, sound waves, solid materials – resonates with Lars Fredrikson’s experiments with randomness, such as electrical signals from fax machines or explosive sculptures. Both artists are interested in exploring the physicality of life. What happens when we act upon the world, accelerating or slowing down its inevitable transformations? Both are sensitive to the state of the world and attentive to the properties of matter and their artistic potential. Both are interested in how we shape and control life, and in how communication takes place via different materials and their various states. But while Fredrikson’s work exudes a playful optimism typical of his time regarding the possibilities of technology in the service of art, Ax’s work possesses a darker and more violent energy. In dense and intense performances, she engages in close combat with her material, cutting it, breaking it and crushing it. It’s like taking part in a choreographed acceleration of geological time where everything is taken apart and reshaped, or witnessing a creative process where worlds are built only to be destroyed and recreated.

Christine Ödlund’s rich, polysemic artworks display an infinite expressive palette: delicate watercolours evoking cycles, musical scores, plants, aquatic worlds, video works, sculptural installations where the visitor encounters other living organisms and sound pieces that seek to make contact with life itself. In the central exhibition space, a large installation features aluminum sculptures, paintings, a vivarium, living plants and sounds, forming a complete biotope, a strange world that the visitor can inhabit. This world extends into the garden, where nettles in a greenhouse grow to the sound of music. Ödlund’s work condenses different types of knowledge without any hierarchical distinction: art meets the natural sciences, esotericism, popular beliefs, and individual experience. Together, they form a complex network of experiences of the world that it is up to us to experience and understand.

This season’s events keep with the spirit of Lars Fredrikson, representative of that of his time. In the 1960s and 1970s, Pontus Hultén, who would later become the first director of the Museum of Modern Art at the Centre Pompidou, was head of the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. Under his leadership, the museum turned into a vibrant venue collaborating with innovative institutions such as EMS (Elektronmusikstudion), the centre for Swedish electroacoustic music and sound art. Thanks to EMS, Stockholm was positioned as being a European forerunner in this new genre of music. To keep this story alive and in response to the work of the three artists, the exhibition will be accompanied by a rich program of performances, discussions and concerts, two of which celebrate EMS’ 60 year anniversary. Image, sound, music and poetry will meet at a crossroads at the Institut suédois and its garden.

Suivre les ondes is the first in a series of exhibitions at the Institut suédois aimed at creating a dialogue between historically important artists and contemporary artists. The aim is to highlight the impact of the former upon the latter and to emphasise their continuing relevance.

Our thanks to Gaël Fredrikson and Madeleine Fredrikson-Germain as well as the Embassy of Sweden in France, Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, CFHILL, Des Grandes Orgues au Saint-Esprit-Jeanne Demessieux, EMS (Elektronmusikstudion, Stockholm), Galerie In Situ-fabienne leclerc (Grand Paris), Gallery Steinsland-Berliner, Magasin III Museum for Contemporary Art (Stockholm), MAMAC, Musée d’art moderne et d’art contemporain de Nice, Souffle collectif, Studio Tarek Atoui and Swedish Arts Council.

Useful information

  • Admission free, no prior reservation needed.
  • Opening: 07.03.2024 / 18:00 – 20:00