Between Realities. Photography in Sweden 1970–2000

February 8–May 11, 2014

Gothenburg Museum of Art and Hasselblad Center

From black-and-white protest photographs to conceptual large-format colour photography. This comprehensive exhibition is the first attempt to gauge Sweden’s photographic history during the period 1970-2000. It presents both classical images and photographs that have never before been shown, by more than 50 photographers from different generations.

Between Realities. Photography in Sweden 1970-2000 investigates the photographic landscape in Sweden over three decades. This was a dynamic period in Swedish photography, and one that has hitherto not been explored to this extent, where one of the most pronounced tendencies is the development from politically-coloured documentary photography to the photograph’s current prominence in contemporary art and mass culture. The exhibition fills in a large gap in the understanding of photography’s recent history and is a unique collaboration between the University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg Museum of Art and the Hasselblad Foundation.

The exhibition features works by more than 50 photographers from different generations. The project surveys and analyses various leading photographic practices and styles. 1970s photography was strongly influenced by documentary ambitions. In the 1980s, more subjective and artistic approaches came to the fore, and in the 1990s, photography enjoyed a prominent position in postmodern contemporary art. The purpose of Between Realities is also to look beyond the division into decades, to show how different tendencies impact on each other and stretch over longer time periods. In order to achieve a complex historical picture, the exhibition also highlights the anomalies and continuities in the photographic field, and the boundaries between different realities.

The project was initiated by Niclas Östlind, doctoral student at the Valand Academy, as part of his doctoral thesis, Performing History. Photography in Sweden 1970-2014. The thesis will be submitted to the Valand Academy in Gothenburg in June 2014.