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Síndrome: Swedish art rolls in to town

Curator Martí Manen presents a different kind of Sweden at La Capella

Is it possible to send messages from the future? Ronald Mallett, a renowned North American scientist, claims it is, according to Einstein's theories. And artist Lina Persson, who takes on the lines that separate science, technology and contemporary art, exhibits a representation of the time machine that Mallett claims he can build (no, it's not a DeLorean) and a series of documents about time travel to create a suitable site for the potential arrival of a visitor from the future.

It's no joke. Swedish art has many faces, and some are on dispaly in 'Síndrome. Context, modes and structure'. In modern Stockholm, artists have been trying to approach the reality of life in a welfare society, where social and cultural rights are torn apart at the speed of light. The purpose here is not to create a map of art made in Sweden, but, according to curator Martí Manen, 'to observe other places, ways of doing things and rhythms; seeing how things work at other latitudes can be a useful thing.'

Around here, the Scandinavian country is perceived as a tranquil habitat, a calm, place suitable for artists. Manen recommends artists from Barcelona for IASP (Centre for the Internationalisation of Local Art) and also goes in the other direction, inviting Swedish curators to the Catalan capital via Institut Ramon Llull. He emphasises that 'the artistic system is very well-established in Stockholm; however, the high level of institutionalisation leaves little room for individual proposals'.

Síndrome presents interviews with some of those responsible for the major artistic institutions in the city. These interviews explain the creative world in Stockholm and prepare the visitor, serving as a gateway for works that have recently arrived from the Nordic country, such as the feminist documentary 'Sisters!' by Petra Bauer; the video art endeavour 'The Cabinet' by Asa Cederqvist, where a variety of scenes charged with poetry and symbolism focus on the multiple appearances of mud; or the curtain installation that displays a domestic scene that doesn't fit in and must be hidden in an exhibition space, by Carl Palm.

'The point,' Manen says, 'is not to see or understand a place, but to be conscious of how it's structured to see if this affects creation.' The Síndrome project ends outside La Capella, with meetings between artists and culture agents from here and from there. For Manen, 'it's important for everyone to see that there is someone physically far away who uses the same artistic language or touches on similar themes and methods'.

'Síndrome' is a tribute and play on words that makes reference to the exhibition 'The Stockholm Syndrome', from the end of the last century, which explained the hostage situation in a bank in the Swedish capital that gave Stockholm Syndrome its name. 'I believe that talking about syndromes today can be productive,' says the curator. 'We're in a broken system and we need to see the symptoms for what they are, and the comparison of realities is one of them.'

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