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Knutte Wester

Stockholm, 6.10–13.11  2011

On the 6th of October, Galleri Andersson/Sandström will present an artist with a rare social pathos. Umeå based Knutte Wester works with sculpture, video, and painting. His works give voice to people who otherwise have difficulty being heard in social debates, such as underage refugees, asylum seekers, and orphans. This exhibition presents film, sculpture, and drawings from several projects. In addition, during the fall, Wester’s hourlong documentary, Gzim Rewind, will be shown on SVT.

Wester is a storyteller. Or more accurately, a story re-teller. His artistic production portrays people who have been affected by society’s insufficiencies. We find here central figures like the homeless Ivona and her three children, a group of orphans in Riga, or the artist’s own grandmother Hervor who was born as a ”bastard child”. Here, the lives and conditions of forgotten individuals stand in focus.

Wester’s art covers a variety of techniques, but bronzes and film are his foremost mediums. Wester weaves his documentary narratives using a lengthy process, often through open sculpture studios. His commitment to the fates of the individuals he depicts seems unwavering. A permeating theme is the importance of leaving one’s mark upon the world, and of what gets left behind when a person, whether by choice or not, relocates. Wester presents a reality we seldom participate in, and he does it in an open process where the act of creation occurs together with those whom the work is about.

This exhibition presents several of Wester’s projects, with bronze sculptures, drawings, and video. The most captivating project is developed around Gzim, a boy from Kosovo whom Wester met in 2003 while he ran an open studio at a refugee camp in Boliden in Norrland. Gzim was only 8 years old and began cheerfully visiting the artist’s studio every day after school. After a year’s time, Gzim and his family were deported with barely a moment’s notice. Wester: ”That moment at which Gzim informed me about the deportation has to a certain degree formed who I am. It also became the starting point for a film project which I have worked on since. For eight years. It’s a full-length film about Gzim’s life, about our friendship, about loss, exile, and flight.”

The film will be shown on SVT this fall. The exhibition will feature other film material, ink drawings which Wester has used to supplement his project with, and a sculpture of Gzim, of the moment which changed both their lives.

Knutte Wester (born 1977) works with video, sculpture, drawing, and installation. Documentary elements are often the thread that ties everything together. Wester completed art school in Umeå in 2003 and has participated in a string of both group and solo exhibitions, including in London, Gdansk, Moscow, and Johannesburg. During the fall his work will also be shown in a separate exhibition at Östergötlands länsmuseum and in a traveling exhibition at Folkets hus and in public parks.