Painters often draw from existing visual materials, such as photographs and reproductions of past works of art, to inspire and construct their work. Swedish artist Mamma Andersson (born 1962)—known for her dreamlike, faintly narrative compositions inspired by Nordic painting, folk art, newspaper photographs, and cinema—is no exception.
But Andersson takes this process a step or two further, importing images of stacks of books and stray photographs, clipped from various sources, directly into her painted compositions. With careful observation, Andersson’s dreamy landscapes and interiors (often combined) slowly come to reveal common imagery and accumulated biblio-ephemera filtered through, and sharing space with, the artist’s muted palette, melancholic scenery, and textural paint. Mamma Andersson: Memory Banks focuses on this aspect of Andersson’s painting practice, exploring how her use of appropriated imagery and collaged elements charges her paintings with an eerie, uncanny sense of familiarity while indulging in wholehearted fantasy and suggestive narrative.
Karin Mamma Andersson was born in 1962 in Luleå, Sweden. She studied at the Royal College of Fine Arts in Stockholm, where she continues to live and work. Solo exhibitions of her work have been presented at Museum Haus Esters in Krefeld, Germany; the Aspen Art Museum; and the Moderna Museet, Stockholm. In 2003, she represented the Nordic Pavilion in the 50th Venice Biennale. In addition to Memory Banks, she is the 2018 recipient of the Guerlain Drawing Prize, Paris, and a participant in the 33rd Bienal de São Paulo.
Mamma Andersson: Memory Banks (Damiani) is published on the occasion of the FotoFocus Biennial 2018 and Andersson’s exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati.