The Swedish artist Ragnar Persson's new exhibition contains a 400 kilogram heavy dead horse, some sculptures and a lot of the colour black.
Tonight, the solo show of Ragnar Persson opens up in Stockholm. The exhibition which in Swedish is named Till Detta Bröllop Kommer Bara Fåglar och Döda Hästar can be roughly translated to "Only Birds and Dead Horses Will Be Coming To This Wedding".
The common thread throughout Persson's artwork is the omnipresent feeling of alienation and that of not being understood. His previous solo exhibitions have displayed drawings of young girls in dark forest environments, detailed observations of nature and heavy metal symbols. I asked Ragnar about what we can expect from his new show and if anyone else but me thinks of Bella and Edward when they see his work.
VICE: Hi Ragnar! So tell me about this new exhibition.
Ragnar: Well it's some new drawings I guess and some sculptures this time. That's really scary when you do something that you're not so used to, even though it's a scariness in a nice way. You know, it could be really good or really really bad…you can't really tell, but it has been a lot of fun making them.
You're also releasing a book together with Joar Tiberg for this exhibition, what's the connection there?
I had this small book in mind and the drawings finished, but I thought the images needed some words attached to them so I asked Joar. Luckily he said yes, so I gave him the pictures I'd made and he came up with the poetry.
What does the name of the exhibition mean? And why are the horses dead??The name of the exhibition is a line from a poem in the new book created by me and Joar Tiberg. When I read his poem I just fell for that line and used it for the title of the book and the exhibition. It just has such strength to it! You know a wedding is supposed to be something nice and fun with two people declaring their love for each other – but when you're there there's just twisted feelings instead. I picture it like a scene in Game of Thrones when everything just turns and all the people you've been following in the story get backstabbed. Plus the thought of going to a wedding and seeing this 400 kilograms heavy dead horse laying there is just really absurd. I like it because it signals mixed emotions.
Just reading the title made me scared and curious about the exhibition. But mostly scared.
Yeah me too. Joar knows what he's doing!
What's the biggest difference between this exhibition and your last one, Totems?
I guess the new 3D artworks, and that Totems was only made by up large wallpaper artwork. In this exhibition you're going to see some really small and big stuff, but I kind of do the same thing all the time, with baby steps back and forth, so there's not really that much difference. I want to be like Iron Maiden, they just keep doing good things with minor differences.
Some of your drawings remind me of the first Twilight film: the woods, the wolves, the anxious girl. Have you ever heard that reference before?
(Laughs) not really but I love Twilight…(laughs) I've read all the books and watched the movies. The only one that has picked up that reference before up is my friend Elin. I guess she got hooked on Twilight just like me.
Your previous art often takes place out in nature, can we expect the same settings in this new exhibition?
Some of it will be taking place there…but everything will mostly just be black.
What is your biggest inspiration when you draw?
It's hard to say, but a lot of the time the joy of drawing gets me a long way.
What do you hope will happen at this exhibition?
I don't know, it would just be really nice if someone showed up to the opening so I just don't have to stand there and close early. But to be honest, the fun part is really making the art and if someone likes it, well that's a big plus.
Ragnar Perssons solo exhibition "Till detta bröllop kommer bara fåglar och döda hästar" opens today at the GSB / Gallery Steinsland Berliner in Stockholm, Bondegatan 70. There will be a book release and a special reading by Joar Tiberg.
The doors will be open from 6PM to 10PM