18.30-19.00 3 x book release with artists MAJA DANIELS, CHARLIE HAY and ERIK BERGLIN at Exercishallen

Join us at the release of the books GetrudeNo one left to blame and Stories Concerning Heimaey and mingle with the artists!

Gertrud
Maja Daniels

In 1667 a 12-year-old girl, Gertrud Svensdotter, was accused of walking on water in Älvdalen, Sweden. This event marked the beginning of the Swedish witch-hunts, a period of mass hysteria and horror in Älvdalen and its neighbouring regions. The forthcoming book Gertrud by artist Maja Daniels uses photography to reconfigure the history and myth of these events, igniting a contemporary dialogue around Gertrud. 

Daniels—who has family ties to the town of Älvdalen—grew up hearing her grandmother speak of the stories surrounding Gertrud Svensdotter. The resulting witch trials, now known as ‘Det stora oväsendet’ (the big clamour), claimed the lives of over 300 people across 8-years. Centuries later, these events, almost incomprehensible to modern sensibilities, are still viewed as one of the most macabre and dark periods in Sweden’s history. 

Most of the photographs in Gertrud were created by Daniels through interventions in the forest. Utilising the landscape, a cast of characters and seemingly talismanic objects, she has drawn upon a surrealist desire to ‘re-enchant the world’. In reaction to the present-day view diminishing the value of forests to mere ‘resources’, her work re-envisions them as once more places of stories, myth and magic. Interspersed with Daniel’s photographs are those from the archive of Tenn Lars Persson (1878-1938) whose work she engaged with in her previous book Elf Dalia. As the book Gertrud unfolds the intertwined sets of photographs disorientate the viewer, unsettling ideas around place and linear time.

‘Within this series I use photography as a tool for mythmaking. Myths are open to interpretations but refuse to be fully locked down. Photographs function in a similar way. The core of what is expressed in an image lies somewhere in the unseen or in its silent associations.

The act of shaping my own rituals and creating new myths that draw on the elements of already existing onesbecomesa way for me to expand on and challenge certain historical constructs and to show how a visual narrative can recreate our relationship with the past, present and future.’

©Nisse Schmidt

Maja Daniels (b. 1985) is a Swedish photography-based artist and filmmaker whose work centres on history, memory, and how these notions affect our view of the present. Her work includes sociological methodology, sound, moving image and archive materials, aiming to further explore each medium’s narrative and performative functions.

Currently based between Malmö and Gothenburg, her work has been exhibited and published world-wide, she is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships and is a senior lecturer in film and photography at the unit for Film, Photography and Literary Composition at Gothenburg University (HDK-Valand).

Maja’s first book ‘Elf Dalia’ (MACK, 2019) received international acclaim. It was nominated for the Aperture-Paris Photo First book Award 2019 and won the Swedish Photo Book of the Year Award 2020.  Elf Dalia has since expanded into an internationally touring exhibition.

Daniels made her first short film My other Half in 2015, followed by My friend Barbro in 2018 which won the Fotografiska Documentary Award the same year. Her most recent short film Her Little Reds will premiere in 2025.  

No one left to blame  
Charlie Hay

Last summer at a funeral, the priest said ”it is not our job to ask why, there is only one person who knows why, and he is no longer with us”. The priest had long been friends with the man lying in the coffin in front of us – longer than my 33-year-old life. They have hunted moose together all my life, I think back to a memory from my childhood that the priest always had to sleep on the floor in the hunting lodge because he was so very tall. Is he really so tall that the beds were too short? Or was it just something they said to me as a child? I’ve seen taller people in my life. 

What can you say as a priest and friend when a person takes his life and his family and children are sitting in the church? How can you explain that? Or is it, as the pastor said, that we should not ask ourselves why? 

I was on my way to a festival to exhibit pictures from the project No One Left to Blame, when I got a phone call letting me know that the person I am now in funeral with had taken his life, it was and still is very difficult to understand.  

I was there to show pictures about suicide, photographs I took because I never understood why you do it, the night I hung up the pictures feel completely unreal. And now the priest makes me question why I have been asking myself that question for so many years. Why? 

After a friend committed suicide in 2011, I have tried to understand just that; why? Why does a 21-year-old take his own life? I do not know why and no one else knows why he is no longer with us. 

No one left to blame is a project about suicide. I know that there are many who struggle with mental health and I want to help normalize the conversation about it.

I’m Charlie Hay (1987, Orrmo Sweden) an artist and activist with an International MFA from Trondheim Academy, Norway. My work is often political and some of my projects have a dark sense of humor. From Suicide to countryside politics and philosophical views on life, I use my camera to focus on important subjects in our society. My work have been shown both nationally and internationally with solo shows in Kiel, Germany at Kunstraum B, House of photography in Oslo Norway, Anexet in Sveg, Sweden. Bergen Kjøtt, Bergen and Vasli Souza Oslo. In 2013, I received my BA from The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass) 

Since 2016 I’m the cofounder of Uncertain States Scandinavia an art paper that focus 
on lens based art. Uncertain States also curate festivals, gallery exhibitions and artist 
talks.  

My work is made out of necessity, my images are at their best when there’s something at stake. Sometimes it can feel like life itself is at stake, simply exposing emotions in order to move on in everyday life. Anxiety, worry, and sadness are often the starting points of a work and its processes, and yet simultaneously, it’s driven just as much by love.  

Stories Concerning Heimaey 
Erik Berglin

At 01:55 the inhabitants on a small island just south of the Icelandic mainland, are awakened by a strong earthquake. The volcano has not erupted for over five thousand years, but on January 23, 1973, a powerful cascade of lava was suddenly projected into the air. The police drive around with their sirens, waking up the residents. Within a few hours all of the five thousand inhabitants are evacuated on fishing boats. 

I heard about this incident after watching the movie Sans Soleil by the French director Chris Marker. In one sequence, the town of Heimaey was depicted, everything was buried by ashes and lava. The sight of the white roof tops glimpsing out of the black, inhospitable land mass was very compelling for me. On a blog I read that one person died during the eruption. Instead of fleeing, the man had broken into the village’s pharmacy. Although I can’t explain why, something was strange about the man’s death. Why would he promptly break into the pharmacy at the very moment the island was hit by the first eruption in five thousand years? I got a strange urge to find out what really happened that winter night so many years ago and decided to travel to Heimaey.  

The book consists of fragmentary and voyeuristic observations in images and text. The reader is taken on a trip to Iceland and gets to follow historical events and phenomena that relate in various ways to the small island of Heimaey. Fact and fiction are mixed with text, landscape images and collages made with analog and digital retouching. This hybrid genre book is a portrait of the creator’s manic process as well as a depiction of a volcanic eruption. 

Erik Berglins practice is devoted to exploring the boundaries of what photography is and can be today. His works usually have an unexpected twist. They range from interventions in public space, fact/fictional storytelling and appropriation of material found in old books or online. His practice is based around text and photographs but he rarely uses a camera, instead he generates imagery using customized computer algorithms or scissors. 

His works stem from a conceptual tradition but feature coincidental, accidental and unexpected connections. Found images are altered or detached from their natural function with references to documentaries, art history and popular culture. Each project is made with an aesthetic aiming to maximize the visual logic for that specific set of images. Subject matters also vary but often circulate around questioning the authenticity of photography. He is more interested in how the images are made, rather than what they depict. Having that said Berglins work is always trying to be visually interesting. 
 
He received an MFA from Valand Academy in Gothenburg 2010. His first book The Bird Project 2006 – 2017 won the Swedish Book Art Award and the Swedish Photo Book Price 2022. The work Tulip Variations was selected for the The Challenges of Photography and its Museum for To