With precise and poetic displacements, Runo Lagomarsino creates frictions in his works between language, materiality and history writing. See the exhibition of the recipient of the Sculpture Prize 2019, awarded by the Friends of Moderna Museet.

Runo Lagomarsino once said, ”Art has the power to influence our seeing and ourselves. It can narrate, astonish and alter.” In his works, he often starts with familiar, not to say traditional, forms, which he then attacks, shifts, transcends, scrutinises and confronts. One of the Museum’s walls is stamped with the phrase America Amnesia in long lines, covering the entire surface. The letters form signs, words, a phrase, a statement, and a pattern. By allowing the first letters to overlap, Lagomarsino both connects and dissolves them in one simple gesture.

Language, geography, historiography and power are themes that Lagomarsino revisits in his artistic practice, using materials that often evoke memories or a relationship to something, only to ask us to reflect on the conditions enabling these connections. In ”The Faculty of Seeing”, several school maps are collected in a wooden contraption. For some, these maps will be familiar from childhood, with fond memories of tracing their finger along national borders in schoolbooks. But maps can also be associated with entirely different conditions, as reminders of threat, exclusion and fear.

Lagomarsino seems to allude persistently to the relationship between the institutional and private spheres. The burned, broken light bulbs in glass jars are from apartments the artist has inhabited with his family in the past four years. A form of monument, perhaps, over loss? A way of remembering? Or a collection reminding us of the possibilities that an unilluminated room involve, an ambition to make the invisible visible.

Runo Lagomarsino is born 1977 and has been featured at the Venice Biennale, the Guggenheim (New York), Reina Sofía (Madrid), Malmö Konsthall, the São Paulo Biennale, the Dallas Museum of Art, and LACMA (Los Angeles). Lagomarsino was awarded the Friends of Moderna Museet 2019 Sculpture Prize.

The Friends of Moderna Museet Sculpture Prize – the K. A. Lind Honorary Award is one of Sweden’s major artist prizes and has been presented biannually since 1950. The Award was founded by the textile artist Sigrid Lind in memory of her parents. Members of the Friends of Moderna Museet nominate practising artists, and a jury selects one of the nominees, awarding the winner the sum of SEK 300,000, an exhibition at Moderna Museet and a specially-produced publication. Previous Sculpture Prize winners include Elis Eriksson, Lars Englund, Ulf Rollof, Ann-Sofi Sidén and Johanna Gustafsson Fürst.

The 2019 jury consisted of Lena Josefsson, chairperson of the Friends of Moderna Museet, Ebba Matz, artist, Marti Manen, curator and director of Index Foundation, Nils Forsberg, journalist, and Fredrik Liew, curator at Moderna Museet.

“Runo Lagomarsino is an artist whose works offer a multifaceted picture of what working with sculpture can include. With careful attention to the material, but without ever ignoring its conceptual aspect, Lagomarsino shapes his narrative, acutely aware of the significance of political positionings. He oscillates between temporalities and identities and perceives art as a unit of time and space in a historic context. A sentence written on a baggage carousel, sand poured out in front of a Greek sculpture at a museum, material confronted with a colonial past. In his practice, Lagomarsino incorporates power and geography, mythology and national identity, objects and memories, invisible situations and opportunities for diverse dialogue.”