Astrid Sylwan, “Esperanza”

Stockholm, 10.1–10.2  2013

For Galleri Andersson/Sandström, 2013 begins with a solo exhibition by Astrid Sylwan that breathes abstraction and experimentation. In ”Esperanza”, it stands clear that Sylwan’s painting is just as explosive as when she graduated from Konstfack eight years ago. With a strong and steady pace, she continues to take the Swedish art scene with storm.

Astrid Sylwan is working in the genre that perhaps is most strongly associated with the male: abstract, large-scale painting. During the last decade, however, she has made ​​the genre her own, with an expression that is so direct that it even spawned a new adjective – “sylwian”. Despite an elemental expressionism her paintings carry a substantial complexity, charging each work with a singular identity.

In recent years, Sylwan’s acrylic-fueled canvases have been emanating from the classic shapes: the drop and the dot. In these new paintings, the two shapes meet in a discourse that is more dynamic than ever. The drop and the dot are colliding and dissolving. There are new elements of nuance and blurred shades, similar to those of a soap bubble ready to burst at any moment. In works such as “Lady Greensleeves” and “The Bell Jar”, we see new colors making their way into the hallmark Sylwan palette. A new start is being conveyed, a steadily growing impetus. Out of the dissolved paintings, a new light is determined to force its way through the canvas.

The titles of the paintings, such as “All Those Tears” and “Whatever Gets You Through the Night”, act as lodestars to the works. The titles are invitations to reminisce, to catch glimpses of memories and sensations. In such moments, the realm of Sylwan’s work truly emerges. The exhibition is named after the abandoned boat ‘Esperanza’ which the artist found, repaired, and reinvigorated. A forgotten fiberglass boat that was reinvented, re-named “Esperanza II”. Sylwan regards painting itself as not too different from a lifeboat.

“Painting, that which keeps the soul afloat when it is about to sink into an ocean that can swallow you completely. Hope.”

Astrid Sylwan, born 1970, lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2005, she graduated from the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm. Since then, her imprint on the Swedish contemporary art scene has been evident. Astrid Sylwan is represented in many collections, at the Moderna Museet, the Malmö Art Museum, and Dunkers kulturhus, to name a few. In 2012 her work was exhibited at the Beijing International Art Biennial. She also participated at the Hong Kong International Art Fair with Galleri Andersson/Sandström. This is Astrid Sylwan’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery since 2006. The catalogue Esperanza has been published for this exhibition.