Umeå Academy of Fine Arts Master exhibition, “A Cat Across the Street”

Stockholm, 8.6–22.6 2023

GSA Gallery is proud to round the season off with – A Cat Across the Street – an exhibition with the MFAs from the Umeå Academy of Fine Arts.

This exhibition, together with the graduation show in Umeå, is the culmination of five years of study in Fine Arts, and a time of intensive work, research, and discussion. During the master’s programme, students will have developed their artistic practice and explored the history and contemporary social relevance of art, and its current themes and status. For visitors, the exhibition offers insights into the discourse on contemporary art, and studies of its techniques and materials.

It is a tradition for the master’s programme graduates at Umeå Academy of Fine Arts to exhibit a satellite show at GSA Gallery every summer with a group exhibition. The difference this year is that the graduation exhibition stays in the north. As the Bildmuseet has been renovated until late spring, the final, exhibition, I Cut Across the Stream, will remain in Umeå over the summer. A Cat Across the Street is instead a broader insight into the artists’ different practices. Twelve artists with roots scattered across Sweden and Europe have worked side by side for two years, situating their art in our time in various ways. This exhibition brings together their works and investigations, ranging from studies of cyborg drag, parallel dimensions and corporeality to the past and emotional orientation in nature.

A Cat Across the Street is a phonetic word play derived from I Cut Across the Stream – the title of Umeå Art Academy’s graduation exhibition for the master’s programme at Bildmuseet, Umeå. The exhibition runs from May 26 to August 20.


Participating artists:
Oliver Bugge, Linn Byrkjeland, Noa Costas Martín, Gideon Eillert, Emie // Eva-Marie Elg, Therése Hurtig, Kiril Prikazcik, Eric Seppas, Rebecca Sharp, Fredrik Zanichelli, Anna Zingmark, and Jo Öqvist. 

Oliver Bugge (b. 1990 Kolding, Danmark) is interested in the role of the past in the present. In The Rhythmic Rise and Fall of Currents, he explores the multifaceted nature of the Renaissance. This was an era when ideas from antiquity were revived, and when ideas from antiquity were revived in humanism and in a new view of nature. However, it was also a period of centralization and warfare with imperialist aspirations that involved the instrumentalization of people and the exploitation of nature through mining and logging. Bugge offers a critique of the sacrifices on the altar of progress as well as a tribute to the flowers of the human mind.

Linn Byrkjeland (b.1991, Korsholm, Finland) main mediums are painting and drawing and she works with visual narratives in a mythologically charged universe rooted in the forests of Korsholm, Finland, where she grew up. Her work starts from a curiosity for colour. The scenarios she constructs move between earthly elements, space and different dimensions. Linnunrata is a double-sided painting and a window into Byrkjeland’s universe, a transparent connection between two worlds. She holds a BFA from Tromsø Academy of Arts and is currently undertaking her MFA at Umeå Art Academy.

Noa Costas Martín (b. 1999 Nigrán, Galicia, Spain) works with the ideas of space, occupation, gesture, memory, and object, and how to understand all these terms and their implications. The installation presented here is called The aquatic butterfly. The use of accessible and cheap materials, found in domestic spaces, is very important for her.  The textile pieces are made through the concept of folding, which she is exploring at the moment. The collage pieces are made from found old magazines. She has a BFA from Salamanca University and is graduating from Umeå University this summer. 

Gideon Eillert (b. 1993 Hengelo, The Netherlands) work is based around contextualizing different motives in relation to the absurd. Eillert’s painting process is intuitive and open-ended. Concept initiates the process, but the deeper layers reveal themselves in a process that is never truly finished. In this exhibition, Eillert is presenting paintings that reflect on an intimate but turbulent dialogue with nature and the wilderness, centered around belonging and change. 

Emie // Eva-Marie Elg (b. 1982, Borlänge/London/Malmö) explores sexual themes and performativity in relation to power. Through disciplines of video, performance art, sculpture and installations, Emie deals with themes of posthumanism and interrelations.

HUMAN POWER BOT PLUG by E-ME: Prototype I is an interactive sculpture in glass with a built in Seebeck effect. The sculpture is made in collaboration with Anders Lundström.

Warm the peltier element with your own body heat to generate power.

Therése Hurtig (b. 1987 Norrköping, Sverige) holds a BFA from the Valand Academy in Gothenburg and is currently undertaking her MFA at Umeå Art Academy. She is interested in the primitive, instinctive and irrational aspects of human beings and sees painting as a way to unravel and try to understand the psychological contradictions inherent in human nature. While watching Walt Disney’s The Three Little Pigs as a child, estranged feelings of lust and disgust evoked within her. Later she would understand that it was a sexual awakening of sorts.

Kiril Prikazcik (b. 1999, Visaginas, Lithuania)
Can a landscape carry emotion and awaken forgotten memories? Can they lead you to become aware of your hidden emotions? These are the questions explored in Kiril Prikazcik’s landscape paintings. The emotions and memories take shape as landscapes, presenting the viewer with just one of many variations in how the said emotion or memory could look. His work argues that emotions are a spectrum and that everyone perceives the same emotions differently. One person’s happiness could be experienced as sadness by someone else.   

Kiril Prikazcik works with imaginary landscapes, which are born from unpredictable thoughts, feelings, or emotions. They act as his diary pages. The work invites everyone to open up to each other and share how the paintings have made them feel, and if they have helped them to remember something dear but forgotten. 

Eric Seppas (b. 1989, Västmanland, Sweden) combines painting and spatial installation in works that ask questions about our present time. He is interested in spatiality in both external and internal worlds, in group dynamics, and in relationships between spaces we share with others. Seppas reacts to the growing polarization of society and how this seep into our minds. People’s ideas seem to spread like viruses and create systems. Misunderstandings arise even though we share the same space. Positions and opinions become imperative as we are coloured by our surroundings, our friends, and our families. Seppas gives us the feeling of being caught in a space between.

‘When I found ochre, the light and warmth iron oxides generate, the vivid vibrant relations it holds for me, and its sensitivity to its surrounding. This activates a stream of consciousness. The materials speak again.’

Rebecca Sharp (b.1989 Stockholm, Sweden)
Plants that crossed Rebecca’s walks, preserved in an ambiguous presence preserved in an ambiguous presence. Examining her own cultural heritage’s closeness to nature and the lack of environmental literacy and empathy towards it. An approach where we find ourselves today in an attitude towards nature that is both protective and exploitative.

Fredrik Zanichelli (b. 1995, Malmö) holds a BFA in architecture from Lund University and will be completing his MFA at Umeå Academy of Fine Arts this summer. The works originate in his relationship with Ön, an island located in the middle of the river Umeälven outside his studio window, but on which he has never set foot. During expeditions on the river, he explored Ön and caught a glimpse of a buoy. A buoy that a few days later disappeared. The disappearance indicated that distance is not always the opposite of proximity; that loss is not always the opposite of gain.

Anna Zingmark (b. 1990, Gällivare, Sverige) is interested in human spiritual nature and our search for belonging. By creating interaction in temporary groups, she examines group dynamics and hierarchies. Here, using sound, sculpture, and text she asks questions about the group’s existence, its potential and danger. A Crystallization Lifted Off Our Chests is a sculpture- and sound installation where the group has become a metamorphic blend of human and stone. She holds a BFA from HDK-Valand in Gothenburg and is currently undertaking her MFA at Umeå Art Academy.

Big thanks to:
Anna Märta Danielsson
Lisa Hu Yu
Queenning Zhao

 Jo Öqvist (b. 1977 Uppsala Sweden) work revolves around the body, the queer, non-binary, fat body. It is about bodily experiences, about limitation and ability, agency and power.

 What is taking place in this scene?

 The work is very physical, the making is visible in the drawings. The shapes are expansive, they are claiming space. Jo creates a presence, a body and a situation to relate to with our own body.

consent – violence
anger – determination
vulnerability  – resistance
rejection – embrace

Works in the exhibition: