Andreas Eriksson's fourth solo exhibition at Stephen Friedman Gallery presents a new series of large-scale handwoven tapestries. Rendered in subtle hues of undyed yarn, this body of work offers a unique window onto the artist's rural surroundings in Medelplana, Sweden. Hettie Judah, art critic and regular contributor to The Guardian, Frieze and The New York Times, will lead a walkthrough with the artist during the opening of the exhibition on Thursday 12 March at 6.30pm. Describing them as "existential landscapes", Eriksson is known for his subtly textured paintings of the natural world. This exhibition expands the artist's formal language and demonstrates how he translates his paintings into tapestries. Hovering between abstraction and figuration, these meditative works can be interpreted as patchwork topographies or details of organic forms such as trees, earth and rock formations.
In a Berlin studio that houses five traditional looms, Eriksson collaborated with a team of weavers trained at Stockholm's historic Handarbetets Vänner textile school. Making a sketch or using an existing painting to plot the composition of his tapestries, the weavers interpreted these ‘maps' with specific guidance from the artist regarding thread, density and technique. Taking two years to produce, at a rate of perhaps a centimetre or two a day, this painstaking mode of production reflects the artist's enduring interest in the passing of time.
The works' linen is sourced from multiple sites in Sweden, linking each piece to the specific geographical location of its materials. Variations in tone and structure between the different types of yarn are used to create light and depth, lending the works a painterly quality. Tassels and loose threads that hang freely from the surface of several pieces conjure up associations with cascading waterfalls, patches of lichen and trees rustling in the wind. With its delicate attention to the individual threads that form each work, weaving is like "making a painting from behind, instead of in front" according to the artist.
Eriksson also presents ‘When snows fall', a series of plaster casts of the surfaces of existing paintings. Like the tapestries, they trace the process of their own making. Devoid of colour, the casts capture the gestural brushstrokes of Eriksson's paintings in ghostly detail. Alluding to frozen or mountainous terrain, the works encapsulate a childhood memory of looking at blindingly white snow and not being able to grasp any sense of space. These casts are accompanied by ‘Tracing time', an installation of 95 ceramic candle holders designed by the artist and inspired by celebrated Swedish designer Pia Törnell. These similarly remind the viewer of the ephemeral nature of everyday life.
Andreas Eriksson was born in 1975 in Björsäter, Sweden. He lives and works in Medelplana on the south bank of Lake Vänern. Eriksson represented Sweden as part of the Nordic Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale (2011).
Solo exhibitions include: ‘Nite Flights', Neugerriemschneider, Berlin (2020); ‘Memories of Snow', Cahiers d'art, Paris (2020); Hakgojae Gallery, Seoul (2019); ‘Cutouts, Mistakes and Threads', Braunsfelder Family Collection, Cologne (2019); ‘Kria', Stephen Friedman Gallery, London (2018); ‘Work in Progress', Skissernas Museum, Lund (2017); Public art commission, Nya Karolinska Sjukhuset, Solna (2018); ‘Röta, bråka, skäkta och häckla', Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, and Trondheim Kunstmuseum, Trondheim; Centre PasquArt, Biel; and Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik (2014-2015); ‘The Imminence of Poetics', 30th Sao Paulo Biennial, Sao Paulo (2012) and ‘Walking the Dog, Lying on the Sofa', MUMOK, Vienna (2008).
Eriksson's works are included in prominent international collections such as Centre Pompidou, Paris; FRAC, Auvergne; MUMOK, Vienna; Nasjonalmuseet, Oslo; Gothenburg Museum of Art, Gothenburg; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Skövde Art Museum, Skövde; National Public Art Council, Sweden; Sundsvall Museum, Sundsvall; and Uppsala Art Museum, Uppsala.