Bella Rune, Jens Fänge & Klara Kristalova et al.

1100 Degrees

3.12 2021–7.1 2022, CFHILL, Stockholm, Sweden

From Constantinople to Cyborg futurism — a story in bronze

1100 Degrees is a celebration of Swedish sculpture and its close ties to one of our most remarkable craftsmen and entrepreneurs in the modern age. Herman Bergman, whose incredible drive, self-confidence, fearlessness about the unknown, and care for his loved ones and co-workers allowed him to found a movement that wouldn’t simply elevate Swedish art in general, but also make an international impact. This represents a goldmine of insight into a key part of our Swedish art historical heritage, which emerged during those dynamic and eventful decades in the last century.

Bronze casting is one of the oldest techniques in art. The material’s unrivalled durability and capacity for transcribing the sensitivity and nuance of the sketch and the sculptor’s hand, have ensured that bronze has remained a timeless material for artists to experiment with and return to. A particularly intimate interplay comes about between the expertise of the foundry’s staff and the intentions of the artist. This non-verbal translation tosses the interpreter out into an unfamiliar landscape of lines, surfaces, folds, structures, and then, shades and resolutions of gold, glossy chestnut, and patina green. A job that remains to be done when the sketch made from plaster, wax, or some other material that is malleable at room temperature has been handed over to a process that offers no one-size-fits-all solutions. CFHILL’s exhibition presents a diverse selection of artists, from various generations, who all have some special relationship or other to the Herman Bergman Fine Art Bronze Foundry, which was established in 1895.

Today, the foundry, which has been located in Enskede since the 1950s, employs a small staff of experts with a unique skill set related to this ancient, demanding, and often potentially lethal practice. Anybody who ever gets the chance to visit the foundry will remember their time there for the rest of their life. Behind an unassuming door in an industrial estate that has been squeezed into a residential area, one will literally find the totality of Swedish sculpture jumbled up among ancient originals, portraits of past celebrities, politicians, artists, dressed-up reindeer-keeping Saami, angels, nudes, horse heads, a girl or two by Lena Cronqvist, plaster pieces and bronzes, all resting on tightly spaced shelves that reach from floor to ceiling. This is the reception and office of Leif Schölin, CEO of the business and a self-taught bronze caster who has been studying the craft since the 90s. There is so much more here, though.

This overwhelming barrage of impressions continues in the actual workshops, where each individual stage of the process is tended to based on specialist knowhow and an array of technological gadgets that have been designed exclusively for this particular place and one single purpose: the casting of artworks in bronze. The artists in this exhibition have all experienced this process. They all know the shock, fascination, and intrigue over the potential and internal qualities of this material that can be experienced as a result of this process, which depends just as much on the artist’s intentions as it does on the interpretations of the caster.

1100 Degrees, which is curated by Michael Storåkers with the assistance of Herman Bergman’s CEO of many years, Leif Schölin, is the result of years of preparation, research, and production of new artworks. These works are new in the sense that they are new casts of both ancient classics and works by contemporary, still-active artists. It has been fascinating and thrilling to get to experience this remarkable technique, and witness the many phases of the process that demand such incredible physical effort and precision.

We hope that this exhibition will help draw attention to the potential of bronze in the modern age, as well as to its fascinating history, and to a unique individual in Swedish art history who is all-too-often overlooked.

Participating artists: Bella Rune, Carl Milles, Cajsa von Zeipel, Lena Cronqvist, Jens Fänge, Klara Kristalova, Charlotte Gyllenhammar, Cecilia Edefalk, Jesper Waldersten, Meta Isaeus Berlin, Torsten Renqvist, Denise Grünstein, Henrik Ekesiöö, Ester Eriksson, Katrine Helmersson, & Kajsa Mattas. Also on show will be a new cast of The Head of Diana (originally from the 16th century) and The Head of a Byzantian horse (probably around 100 B.C.)

Upcoming Exhibition

Bella Rune

Digging

12.3—16.4 2022

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