Astrid Sylwan, “Mig driver en längtan”

Stockholm, 23.2–1.4  2017

Mig driver en längtan (Yearning) is Astrid Sylwan’s fifth, and much anticipated exhibition at Galleri Andersson/Sandström. Since her break-out in 2005, she has held a prominent place in the Swedish art scene. The language of painting is her way of communicating, and in these new paintings she is demonstrating a new vocabulary. Astrid Sylwan has just reached the end of one chapter, and begun a new chapter with this exhibition.

Sylwan moves in a highly abstract language that has become the symbol of the male, modernist artistic genius. But Sylwan also knows that historical conditions are never static. One of her strongest qualities is that with great confidence she dares to venture out into the new domains and shape them into her own.
 Håkan Nilsson

Astrid Sylwan is not afraid of the unknown, but rather welcomes the way it motives the evolution of her oeuvre and questions her existing perceptions on painting. The new works that fill the exhibition space at Galleri Andersson/Sandström, have been created under self-imposed restriction that she herself have determined. Earlier motifs, techniques, and materials have fallen victim to these new restriction, but that has given way to the creation of something new. In this way, she has expanded upon her lexicon, which is now more direct and tactile. In Vad jag aldrig fick sagt (What I never got to say), 2017, she is applying paint directly from the tube on to the canvas, much like if one were drawing. At first glance the painting Mot natten (Towards The Night ),2017, resembles the torn and ripped fragments of advertising found hanging all around our cities. Love Letter I, 2016, and Love Letter II, 2016, could be considered transitional works where Sylwan is crossing over into this new language of working. There are echoes of what we are accustomed to seeing in her paintings in recent years, but you can began to see this transition occurring. In this way, both works are a conclusion and jumping off point for new things to come.

Sylwan’s painting process is a physical act, where her whole body generates the marks she creates. In this way she is comparable to many of the action painters. Her paintings are visceral, layers upon layers are applied, scrapped off, washed away, only to build up the narrative or a history of itself. Her paintings comes to completion through ebbs and flows, and an intense interpersonal dialogue with the works. Sometimes it is that she is the one pushing the paintings and sometimes it is the paintings that are guiding the way. Even a painting needs a chance to decompress.

Painting is Astrid Sylwan sanctuary. As she begins to paint, she becomes one with the work, she is completely in the moment. These paintings were created during a turbulent time, but despite this, they are filled with a certain warmth, love and respect. The perseverance to start over, and go ahead has resulted in works full of joy and love that breathes hope in to all the good things to come.

Astrid Sylwan, born 1970, lives and works in Stockholm. She graduated from Konstfack in 2005, and has left a strong impression on contemporary Swedish art, including an ambitious exhibition schedule. Her works can be found in the collections of Moderna Museet, Malmö Art Museum and Dunkers Culture House, along with several private collections. In recent years she has created several major public commissions, including the new City Line in Stockholm. This is the gallery’s fifth solo exhibition with Astrid Sylwan since in 2006.