The exhibition Borderland takes as its starting point Malmö Konstmuseum’s and Ystads konstmuseum’s comprehensive collections of Scanian landscape paintings from the period 1850–1950. Here, a large number of artists that depict the areas around Scania are presented in dialogue with contemporary works.

Using landscape painting as a lens, we can see our relationship to nature and ourselves through different times. Today, issues of national identity and belonging as depicted through art and culture have once again been brought up in Swedish politics. Borderland problematizes the role of landscape painting in relation to notions of a culturally homogeneous, original place in the past and how artistic representations have been used to create a sense of belonging.

At Malmö Konstmuseum, the exhibition focuses on the years between 1850 and 1915, when urbanization and industrialization pick up speed in Sweden and increasing numbers of people leave the country for a life in the growing cities. The countryside and depictions of it become a backdrop for all that is unchanging and safe in an uncertain time. Modernization also means that a national consciousness is being formed. The people are supposed to become united under a shared concept of Swedishness, and artistic depictions of Sweden’s landscapes are used as tools in this process. But certain landscapes and motifs are seen as not “Swedish” enough to fit in – among them the Scanian plains. In Scania, though, a strong local patriotism grows forth, which is strengthened by landscape painting, museum collections and exhibition programs.

At Ystads konstmuseum, Borderland focuses on the first half of the 1900s and five landscape painters who are well represented in the collections. Here, their paintings meet contemporary works that examine questions of place and identity. In this encounter, we catch a glimpse of how cultural heritage impacts our view of the landscape and the countryside today.

Images of the landscape not only come from art, but also from contexts such as advertising and marketing. Stereotypical images of Scania are used to attract tourists and investors. Landscape images are also employed in political campaigns, both to communicate hopes for a greener future and conservative ideas about how life was better in the past.

The exhibition is a part of Flatlands – a network for the artistic examination of Scania.

At the end of the 1800s, the search for a Swedish national character intensified. The earlier idea of a kingdom united under a monarch was replaced by the idea of a nation whose people are marked by the place where they live. Nature takes on a primary role and there is talk of nature as a democratic form of nationalism. People believe that nature creates the Swedish mindset and folk character. Motifs and the states of mind depicted in national landscape painting at the turn of the century establish norms for what even today is thought to be interesting. These have since been reproduced through countless films and TV series, tourist brochures and postcards.

Emphasizing the uniqueness of every landscape becomes important in the national rhetoric. At Malmö Museum’s division of art and cultural history, now the Malmö Konstmuseum, the majority of art exhibitions are about the characteristically Scanian, where artists who were born and are active in the region are thought to have a particular ability to highlight the authentically Scanian.

Several organizations work to spread and strengthen Scanian art, among them the Scanian Artists’ Association, established in 1902, and Scania’s Art Association, established in 1904. An interest in locality is also prominent in literature through nature poets such as Ola Hansson. In addition, there is a great desire to preserve one’s native soil and what is considered original, which is seen through the establishment of foundations and museums around Scania, such as Kulturen in Lund in 1892.

From a national perspective, Scania is seen as a landscape with characteristic nature and as a historic part of the country, but not as a region worth depicting for aesthetic reasons. The nature worth depicting is wild, and the Scanian plains landscape is thought to be far too sanitized. The landscape’s unique appearance acts as fertilizer for prejudices against Scanians as arrogant, boastful, conservative, and having a thick dialect.

At the same time as urbanization and industrialization speed up in Sweden, new ideals within landscape painting grow forth. Many artists live in the cities but depict the areas around their summer houses, or travel by train in order to capture the landscape. The combination of the railway network and the fact that around the turn of the century there were portable, fully-mixed tubes of paint that could be taken with on journeys contributed to the artists being able to paint directly out in nature.

It is primarily environments seen as undamaged by modern times that attract the artists. One such environment is Arild on the Scanian west coast, whose dramatic nature, fishing village, and local people are seen as particularly interesting to depict. Many artists around the turn of the century travel there, and an artist colony is formed in the summers. But it isn’t only Arild that tempts artists. The paintings in the exhibition also points to places such as Kävlinge, Råå, Röstånga, Ven, and more.

The artists are attracted by broad fields, expansive beaches, and open sea. They are interested in capturing the light and motifs such as tree-lined roads, cabbage fields, and white plaster houses, which are seen as reflecting the Scanian landscape. The paintings show a rich landscape with fertile farmland. People are seldom depicted, but wheel ruts, stone fences, and crops stand as testimony to human activity.

The landscape paintings also tell of the landscape’s transformation. With the land reform laws of 1827, the villages were dissolved and settlement was spread out like islands in the landscape and encampments alongside the consolidated strips of arable land. The reform also contributes to land being drained, new roads being established, and meadows being cultivated. Around the turn of the century, the landscape was characterized by smaller farmed areas and crop rotation, far from the enormous fields of today.

The concept of landscape contains a distance, where the human is observing a part of nature from a distance. The landscape is created; it is landskap in Swedish, –skap relating to skapa, to create. The landscape is limited in the artistic process, while nature is more or less continuous and outstretched. Regardless whether it is “wild” nature or cultivated fields that are depicted, the human gaze has framed and arranged the landscape.

In the summer of 1795, Count Carl August Ehrensvärd (1745–1800) traveled around Scania. He had quit his job as head of the Swedish Navy and had temporarily moved in with his mother-in-law at Tosterup Castle, situated northeast of Ystad. Now, he could focus on what he was truly interested in: art, philosophy, architecture, social issues, and farming experiments. On his journeys, he drew what he saw and wrote short observations about the landscape and the people. He compiled the material in the manuscript Fem dagars resa i Skåne för att se, och hämta rörelse – och förargelse (Five Days’ Journey in Scania to See and Gain Movement – and to be Annoyed).

In his encounter with Scania, Ehrensvärd was initially provoked by the happy, fertile landscape that stood in sharp contrast to his own experience of a different, poorer Sweden that was marked by destitution. But when the initial grumpiness had passed, he instead came to view the landscape as a Europe in miniature. The northern backwoods came to represent the disagreeable Northern Europe with its pale, wan population, and the southeastern parts corresponded to the ampleness of Southern Europe where the people were healthy and ruddy.

Ehrensvärd’s goal with the journey was to show how the cli- mate impacts people’s character, appearance, and behavior, but also their laws and artistic potential. After a longer stay in Italy, Ehrensvärd had arrived at the conclusion that both people and landscapes became increasingly ugly the further he got from southern Italy. His final judgment was that a bad climate produced a bad society with bad taste. With the help of science and laws, however, there was hope for a happier and more enlightened Sweden. The inspiration was the climate theory – a central idea in Europe in the 1700s with roots in antiquity that connected climate and geography to people’s appearance, character, and opportunities.

Traditionally, landscape painting has been done by and for people in the cities. For those in the country, especially those who live off the land, the landscape is less a picture and more a complex and encompassing environment.

The first half of the 1900s saw the continuation of movement to cities where jobs could be found. Increasingly few people were needed on the farms with the new, modern, more efficient methods. In the transition from agrarian society to welfare society that Sweden experiences at this time, a strong and specific citizen ideal is formed. The Swedish people should be united around a new sort of love for their nation that rests on visions of welfare and progress. Modern democracy should be carried by healthy souls in healthy bodies.

When working time regulations and mandatory leave are written into law, the concept of “leisure time” is coined. This new phenomenon is launched with festivities in the exhibition Fritiden in Ystad in 1936. The same year, Ystads konstmuseum opens in a completely new building that also contains a library and a concert hall. The message is clear: It is up to every one of us to fill our newly-won free time with meaning. The ideal is an edifying blend of sport, fresh air, and education.

The ideal citizen should spend their vacations somewhere other than home. Domestic travel is popularized among increasing portions of the population. “Know your country!” is the advice of the Swedish Tourist Board in a 1932 campaign. A change of scenery is said to be good for your health. It is particularly good for you to swap the city’s noise for fresh country air.

In this context, the idea of the countryside as a recreation space for the modern–that is, urban–person becomes cemented. This dynamic between city and country is re- cognizable in many places, not least in Scania. In our age, some Swedish vacation paradises have established themselves as brands with status and prestige, and these are often places that we have seen depicted in art, such as nearby Österlen.

The cosmopolitan city of Paris was the artistic center of the early 1900s. Here, artists and styles from different places came together. Ideas of liberating art from 1800s conventions take on varying forms that we today collect under the umbrella of Modernism.

Colonialism had, at this time, increased travel outside the European borders, and many artists were tempted by what was perceived as exotic, unfamiliar, and original. People and cultural expressions from other parts of the world, but even the domestic countryside, were set in contrast to the modern and urban that were increasingly becoming the norm.

Even artists from Scania came to Paris to study the pioneering art and artists that could be found there. It was artists such as French Impressionist Paul Cézanne who would come to influence Johan Johansson, Tora Vega Holmström, Emil Olsson, and Svante Bergh, who met in Paris in the 1920s. From 1924, they were part of the artists’ group De tolv (The Twelve), which contributed to the popularization of modern art in Scania by combining new stylistic ideals with traditional motifs such as landscapes. Ten years earlier, the Baltic Exhibition had taken place in Malmö. One of the exhibition’s sections aimed to introduce modern art to the Scanian audience. Participants included Tora Vega Holmström, who at that time was criticized harshly for her radical expression.

Johansson, Holmström, Olsson, and Bergh experienced two World Wars. When world politics forced them to return to Scania from their stays abroad, their motifs had to to be taken from the local area. They were highlighted by local interest-based organizations and art institutions as some of the foremost interpreters of Scanian nature. With time they earned the epithet “Scanian Modernists.” This group of artists, along with Gerhard Wihlborg, were active when Ystads konstmuseum opened in 1936 and have had a great impact on the identity of the museum and the local arts scene.

Ideas about what is considered worth preserving are strongly associated with representations of a nation and how these contribute to the formation of a national identity. With the work Refugee Heritage, architect collective DAAR instead raises questions about cultural heritage beyond the nationstate. What would happen if the refugee camp Dheisheh in Palestine were named one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites, with the same status as, for example, the pyramids in Giza, the Acropolis, or the royal palaces in Europe? For two years, DAAR worked together with organizations and individuals, politi- cians, and activists in order to submit the suggestion that Dheisheh should be made a world cultural heritage site according to UNESCO’s nomination system, a system that contributes to power and cultural expropriation. The camp was established in 1949 and is simultaneously a permanent and a tem- porary community in a stateless nation that exists both within and in conflict with the United Nations’ framework. “Dheisheh was built as a temporary solution, but it became a place where people have lived and resided for more than seventy years. Yet refugee camps are seen as lacking both a history and a future,” says Alessandro Petti, one of the founders of DAAR. In the form of lightboxes, video, audio, and photo albums, the installation presented in the exhibition reflects the villages that a large number of people were forced to leave in 1948.

The painting Landskap, Österlen (Landscape, Österlen) from 1914 is typical of Ellen Trotzig’s dramatic landscape paintings in which light plays a decisive role and nature takes on mystical qualities. In the same year, she contributed to the Baltic Exhibition in Malmö with four paintings. Trotzig spent the majority of her life in Scania, where she was part of a circle of women artists established by, among others, Ester Almqvist and Tora Vega Holmström.

Trotzig often depicted the landscape around Österlen in a characteristically muted palette and with an expressionist feel. In her early career, she was more influenced by National Romanticism, however, and among her creations are story illustrations in a considerably lighter palette.

Ellen Trotzig was born in Malmö and studied at the School for Drawing and Applied Art for Women in Copenhagen in the late 1890s. In 1903, Trotzig continued her studies at what was then called the Valand School of Painting, now HDK-Valand – Academy of Art and Design, in Gothenburg, after which she traveled to Paris and studied at the Académie Colarossi until 1907.

The exhibition The Collection includes more works by Ellen Trotzig.

With degrees from the Technical School in Lund with Fredrik Krebs as teacher, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, Académie Colarossi in Paris, and the Artists’ Association School in Stockholm with Richard Bergh, and as one of few women members in the Scanian Artists’ Association, Endis Bergström was an exception. The Scanian Artists’ Association was formed in 1902 with around twenty artists as members. Ten years later, the Association had grown to 41 members, of which seven were women. Bergström could support herself with her artwork and primarily painted still lifes, interiors, landscapes, and finely-tuned portraits of working people such as cleaners and maids. To support herself, she also painted por- traits of the businessmen of Scania’s upper crust. She conducted a study trip to the Netherlands 1912–13 and in 1914, she participated along with the Scanian Artists’ Association in the Baltic Exhibition in Malmö with four works.

Endis Bergström’s atmospheric painting Slättlandskap (Plains Landscape) from 1909 depicts equal parts cloudy sky and fertile ground, where white stucco houses and red farmhouses can be seen on the horizon, among stone fences and tracts of farmland. Bergström was born in Nässjö, lived the greater part of her life in Scania, and died in Lund in 1950.

After Microsoft

After Microsoft takes as its point of departure a photograph of a hill in Napa, California, taken by photo grapher Charles O’Rear in 1996. Since 2001, the image has appeared on at least a billion computer screens around the world, as the default background of Microsoft Windows.

In their video work, artist duo Goldin+Senneby revisit the place where the picture was taken, and the photog- rapher describes in a voice-over the moment he captured it, and why there was newly planted grass growing on a hill that was typically covered by grapevines. In the photograph, the bright green grass stands in striking contrast to the blue sky – the same two colors also used in Microsoft’s branding strategy. Goldin+Senneby see the work in light of landscape painting tradition and the role of these depictions in forming ideas of a nation. But the photograph from Napa instead symbolizes a multinational, global landscape according to Microsoft, thereby increasing the company’s profits.

Not Approved

In 2003, the EU enacted a reform that liberated farming subventions from production, which transformed the farmer’s role from producing a certain amount of crops to offering an open landscape. Artist duo Goldin+Senneby’s work Not Approved is about this reform and the regulation of the landscape’s visual qualities. The work consists of small photographs taken by Swedish bureaucrats for the purpose of judging whether the landscape lives up to the aesthetic norms of an open landscape. As suggested by the title, Not Approved shows the photo graphs in which the landscape did not fulfill the necessary qualities for receiving EU funds. The work discusses what functions nature serves, what aesthetic expectations exist in relation to the nation, and how these values are regulated by the EU.

Goldin+Senneby is a Swedish artist duo consisting of Simon Goldin and Jakob Senneby. They have worked together under this shared name since 2004.

In addition to being a painter, Gustaf Carleman was also a photographer, graphic artist, and inventor. When he graduated high school in Lund, he began working with lithographic prints and motifs from the city. After studying law, Carleman traveled to Stockholm to study at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts and then to Düsseldorf. After this, he returned to Sweden and became one of the first photographers in the country. He had his own photo graphy studio and contributed to the establishment of both the Swedish Amateur Photographers’ Association (later the Photography Association) and the Artists’ Club.

Carleman was one of the first to dedicate himself to landscape photography in Sweden. Due to economic recession and over-crowding within photography as a profession, however, he left photography in 1846 and returned completely to painting. Slättlandskap med kvarn (Plains Landscape with Mill) is painted with realistic precision and depicts pastureland with a mill, three cows, and a milkmaid at work. Cows were a large part of the landscape at this time and were kept by all social classes.

Axel Kleimer studied at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm and then at the Acadèmie Colarossi in Paris. After his studies, he traveled to Normandy, where he primarily studied landscapes, and then to the USA, where he focused on portraits and decorative painting. In 1910, Kleimer settled in Malmö, but he primarily found the inspiration for his motifs in the areas around Kristianstad where he grew up. His depictions of the cultural landscape stand witness to a painterly interest in the interplay of surface and paint. The painting På väg till mjölkning (Going Milking) consists of dilute color fields where the cow and the milkmaid, the grass and the bushes in the background, appear as silhouettes against the atmospheric sky. The work can be seen as a historical documentation of a time when cows were still milked by hand, out in the fresh air.

Malmö Konstmuseum’s collection comprises 399 works by Kleimer, of which the greatest part consists of sketches and drawings. Model studies of humans and animals as well as caricatures are included among these. Among the paintings, overwhelmingly small in format, several works stand witness to his travels to Italy and France.

Axel Hjalmar Lindqvist, also called “Ritis,” studied at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm and then made study trips to Denmark, Germany, and France. His work primarily circled around landscape painting and he often found his motifs around Ringsjön and the areas surrounding Lund, where he also worked as a drawing teacher at the Cathedral School. Lindqvist was a member of the Lukas Guild, established in 1898 with the aim of “holding the standards of art over the plains.”

He was also the last at Lund University to hold the title of Drawing Master, which, together with titles such as Language Master, Fencing Master, and Dance Master, was established during Sweden’s period as a great world power in the 1600s to educate both civil and military servicemen in what were thought to be important and sought-after disciplines.

In the painting Höststämning (Autumn Mood) from 1911, Lindqvist depicts the freshly-plowed field by a three-winged Scanian manor. The building’s placement alongside the field is testimony of the earlier land reform in which the villages were split up and the settlements were spread out like islands in the landscape, surrounded by cultivated fields. Malmö Konstmuseum’s collection includes seven paintings by Lindqvist, which, in addition to one portrait, depicts landscapes with Scanian farms.

Axel Nordgren was educated at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm. Supported by his patron, then-crown prince Karl Ludvig Eugen (who later became Karl XV), he then traveled to Düsseldorf to study with Norwegian landscape painter Hans Gude. Düsseldorf became his home for the rest of his life, but over the years, he made several journeys both in Sweden and in Norway. He also became a board member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts.

In Düsseldorf, the key phrase was “nur nach der Natur” (only according to nature), which among other things meant completing careful detailed studies out in nature. Precision in the reproduction of nature is obvious in the landscape sketches and studies of farming equipment and trees that are found in Malmö Konstmuseum’s collection. At the same time, Nordgren developed an independent, austere, and objective relationship to the Düsseldorf tradition. He was especially fascinated by the coast, the cliffs, and the moonlight, exemplified in the painting Landskap från Arild (Landscape from Arild).

Nordgren, like Gustaf Rydberg, was interested in Arild’s landscape as early as the 1870s. There, he primarily depicted the reflection of moonlight in the water, contrasted against the austere coast. The paintings from Arild have a melancholy, fateful, and deserted feeling, heavily marked by the natural lyricism of the time.

Runestones erected during the Viking Age in memory of someone who died still stand in many places around Scandinavia and in other sites as a natural part of the landscape. Rasmus Myrup’s works Runestone (Non-Binary), Runestore (Foredaddies), and Runestone (COP15 for Ragnarok) consist of three pieces of authentically-sized runestones with contemporary messages carved into them. In Scandinavia, the White Power movement has extensively used the Viking Age and Old Norse as symbols of what is “genuinely Nordic” and an embodiment of hypermasculinity. Belief in the Old Norse gods was also a key aspect of the German National Socialists, and together with the Viking Age, this continues to be a central theme within White Power music. By bringing in non-binary and queer perspectives and COP15, the UN Biodiversity Conference, in runes, Myrup asks questions about both the future and historiography, and how ideologies and ideas of nation and history are formed in relation to cultural heritage.

Rasmus Myrup studied at the Funen Art Academy and is based in Copenhagen.

Wilhelm von Gegerfelt first studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, then at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm, and later in Düsseldorf. After his studies, he moved to Paris, where his home became a gathering place for Scandinavian artists such as Carl Fredrik Hill and Ernst Josephson. Gegerfelt made several study trips to France’s northern coast and the Netherlands, but he also portrayed motifs in Sweden and Denmark, and was the first Swede to reside in the artists’ colony on Skagen.

Gegerfelt was an early representative of realist plein-air painting, at the same time as he stood for a more modern and expressive way of interpreting nature. During the last decades of his life, he lived in Torekov and made several depictions of these surroundings, including the nearby island Halland’s Väderö. It is possible that he produced the expressive painting Strandparti (A Stretch of Beach) there, but it is also possible that it depicts an area such as Bretagne or Normandy. In the painting, the austere mood is central, and the severe sea and the weather’s forces are primary. Gegerfelt’s painting stands in contrast to the National Romantic nature depictions in Sweden that emerged at the same time.

In the installation Memories Have Tongue, whose title is borrowed from poet and historian Dr. Afua Cooper, Eric Magassa creates a colorful and multifaceted collage that raises questions of the processes of identity creation connected to both the museum and the surrounding landscape. The installation includes objects from Malmö Museum’s ethnographic collection which originates from the so-called “explorations” at the end of the 1800s. Masks, furniture, and sculptures that were once called “primitive art” were used by museums across the Western world to define the Other. Through this, museums simultaneously defined the progress and greatness of their own place and nation according to the prevailing imperialistic world view.

The objects in Magassa’s work were last shown in an ethnographic exhibi- tion at the museum between 1969 and 1996. Here, the installation is shown in a side gallery, partially hidden just as the ethnographic material has been since the exhibition closed, but it also spills out into the room to give the objects a new power and voice in a completely new context. The colorful walls and music contrast the idea of the white cube where canonical Western art has been shown throughout the 1900s. The installation also includes works from The Lost Series, in which Magassa examines experiences and notions of the Other by acting in front of the camera as a strange figure in the landscape. Together, the installation’s different elements ask pointed questions of belonging and shared experience.

Mycelium Orgasm Report finds its starting point in mycelium, the vegetative part of fungi that spreads out in enormous networks underground and that is a vital component of many ecosystems. In this work we are able to enter a psychedelic nocturnal promenade through a virtual landscape, through a forest of fungi and a baroque garden with sculptures, symbols and fragments. The walk is accompanied by whisperings, pulsing lights, and organic techno in a sort of timeless zone; the experience becomes an exercise in releasing control. The work reflects on how everything is connected and destabilizes the division of humans and nature, past and present, dreams and memories.

Monika Czyżyk’s monumental window painting Milking Hole that faces Slottsparken is as much a site-specific work as an act in which material and body meet. Czyżyk sees the work with the painting as a healing and cleansing process that takes place in dialogue with nature. The painting is done with clay that Czyżyk gathered from different places in Scania as well as Poland, Finland, and Iceland, which results in different nuances. Guided by animals and tracks in nature, she looks for clay in the soil strata. The clay contains the presence of geological time, but she also sees the use of it as a preparation for times of crisis. The painting’s patterns and motif are created intuitively with inspiration from meditation, shamanic drumming techniques, and psychoactive medicinal herbs.

In the process of painting with clay on glass, a series of tools are used, which Czyżyk sees as instruments. These create, in turn, a sound image that Czyżyk paints into being. The act of creation is sonic, rhythmic, and repetitive and generates a meditative state in which to rest.

Monika Czyżyk is a visual artist based in Helsinki. She primarily works with moving pictures and VR within the framework of experimental documentaries and socially-engaged projects.

After private studies in Copenhagen, as well as studies at Académie Colarossi in Paris and Valand School of Painting in Gothenburg, Agnes Wieslander traveled to Germany to study with Adolf Hölzel.

The time in Germany carried great significance for Wieslander’s artistic practice. Hölzel’s lessons included exercises in the divisionist technique, which entails the dissolution of the pictorial surface into a rough structure of stains, as well as a focus on colors and their inherent relationships. Both parts of the education had a strong influence on her style.

Wieslander’s art consists primarily of still lifes, interiors, and landscapes with motifs from the Hallandsås Ridge area. Here, she often depicted the hilly landscape, the light, and the shifting shades of color.

In the work Vår i backarna (Spring in the Hills) from 1912, the marked color shifts appear most clearly in the foreground, where every brushstroke has its own color. As a partial component in a greater whole, every feature creates an expressive element of spring color.

Axel Theodor Kulle studied in Paris and at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm. He exhibited in Rome, Copenhagen, and Sweden, including the Baltic Exhibition in Malmö in 1914. Kulle also belonged to the Scanian Artists’ Association, which was the first regionally-bounded artists’ association in Sweden.

In relation to motifs, he was very taken with the Scanian landscape formations, and he often let the landscape spread out like a map. In a complex composite harmony, every farm field, ridge, and slope is highlighted in a collected examination of the landscape. With the use of impasto, in which the color is applied so thickly that the brushstrokes are visible, he creates a relief-inspired, textile-like effect. The marked edges of the surfaces lead the thoughts to a quilt where every piece is unique.

Carl Fredrik Hill studied at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm and then traveled to Paris to work on his own. This led to an intensive artistic development that came to challenge the stylistic norms of the time – and of the future. He was inspired by the soft French perception of nature, but it wasn’t the optical truth demands of realism that occupied him. In contrast to the earlier idealized and whitewashed landscape depictions, new ideals for landscape painting grew forth: light, airy, and true; Hill became its progressive representative in Sweden. With an open-minded and subjective depiction of nature and landscape, his works point outward in time and toward new artistic currents.

Despite the new significance attributed to Hill in recent years, his artistic pro- duction includes relatively few paintings as he began to suffer from mental illness at 28 years old and slipped into his own world. The thousands of expressive drawings that followed stand as witness to this period. The increased interest in Hill as a person and artist have resulted in the fact that he is seen today to represent the peak of Swedish landscape painting in the 1800s.

In 1864, the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm opened its doors to women, giving them the opportunity to gain the formal art education that had previously only been afforded to men. During her time there, Charlotte Wahlström developed a great fondness for landscape painting.

The genre experienced a significant upswing in the second half of the 1800s, with origins in France, the new center of art, where plein-air painting and various artists’ groups had a great influence on Western art. Wahlström spent a long time in Barbizon, where a realist-oriented artists’ group was living. She found her subjects in various places, but often returned to the area around Arild, which in this period was an important gathering place for artists and writers.

In the work Åkermark om hösten (Fields in the Fall), we see inspiration from French plein-air painting in the easy brushstrokes, the bluish shadows in the trees, as well as the subject’s composition where the field takes up an overwhelming portion of the canvas. In a descriptive manner, she depicts the shifting colors of the treetops, the birds’ travels, and the uneven ground of the cool, plowed autumnal earth.

Ernst Norlind was active in art, literature, and music. In his youth, he studied philosophy in Lund, and later shifted to art studies in Dachau and Paris. He found his primary subjects in the Scanian landscape, and today he is mostly known for his paintings of storks, although his art comprises much more than that.

After marriage, he settled at Borgeby Castle in Scania, where he ran salons for the cultural community together with his partner. Norlind was also musically gifted and passing on Scanian folk music traditions was close to his heart. Later in life, he also worked with graphic prints and literature, and he authored around twenty novels, short stories, and poetry collections.

Ernst Norlind’s earlier works are characterized by a melancholy that, through muted colors, reflect nature in a lyrical way. Slättlandskap, Skåne (Plains Landscape, Scania) is painted in dusky tones and depicts naked, austere willow trees reflected in diagonal water-filled ditches leading toward the horizon.

Fritz Kärfve began his artistic path as a fourteen-year-old decorative painter in Trelleborg. Later, he studied at the Artists’ Association School in Stockholm, Académie Colarossi in Paris, and the Kunstnernes Frie Studieskoler (Artists’ Free Study Schools) in Copenhagen.

Kärfve mainly depicted landscapes from southeastern Scania, and in our time, he has become particularly well-known for his depictions of the nature around Österlen. The works in this exhibition show in simple compositions the artist’s inner state and emotional world. He captures the Nordic nature and its “soul” in unity with the mood-based, subjective, and personally-reflective aesthetic.

Lördagkväll på skånska slätten (Saturday Evening on the Scanian Plains) from 1902 can be understood in the light of symbolism’s break with the realitydevoted naturalism that had previously been dominant. Instead of focusing on an objective representation of nature, Kärfve emphasizes the spiritual, intimate, and invisible connection that arises between the observer and nature.

Gustaf Rydberg studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen and later at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm, where Edvard Bergh conducted the first line of study in land- scape painting in Sweden. Afterwards, Rydberg traveled to Düsseldorf, which at that point was the center of wildly Romantic landscape painting, to study with the Norwegian landscape painter Hans Gude.

The geographical and cultural proximity to Denmark and Germany is an important component in the development of Scanian art. Rydberg’s early works were Romantic with a great influence from Düsseldorf, but around 1870, he became one of Sweden’s first plein-air painters. Similar to the Danish Golden Age tradition, he found beauty in everyday motifs.

Rydberg’s admiration of nature is clear in his subjects regardless whether he was depicting the Scanian coast in the morning fog or a beach garden on a sunny day. He primarily depicted Scanian nature and is represented by over 200 paintings and sketches in the Malmö Konstmuseum collection.

Herman Österlund grew up outside Löberöd, which he came to consider his hometown and artistic territory. Many of his primary subjects also come from there. He studied at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm but then moved back to Scania, where he was very active in the local arts and culture scene.

Österlund can be seen as a representative of Scanian turn-of-the-century atmospheric painting, and he made a name for himself as the beech forest’s dedicated interpreter. The beech forest is a well-known and interesting subject that defines the Scanian landscape painting from the rest of the country, where coniferous trees symbolized Swedish nature. In Denmark, however, the beech tree came to replace the oak tree as an unofficial symbol for rule by the people and a more democratic kingdom.

One example of Österlund’s Romantic atmospheric painting is the work Rövarekulan, which in the pink sunset depicts a valley surrounded by a mature beech forest. The beautiful representa- tion of nature’s afternoon light, the easy brushwork, and the painting’s monumental size contribute to the sense that it is a tribute to the Scanian landscape.

After a comprehensive art education in Sweden, Denmark, and Germany, in 1907, Hjalmar Asp returned to Scania, where he was born and raised. Here, he would subsequently find his primary subjects.

During his education, he developed a great passion for animal depictions, which he complemented with studies in animal anatomy and lithography, his preferred medium later on. Judging from his practice, he was very inter- ested in animals and their calm and natural existence in the world. His motifs consisted primarily of animals depicted in Scanian forest and landscape environments, and he captured the animals’ movements and quiet lives in the landscape in an intuitive way.

The motifs that are shown in the exhibition are from Barsebäck, around 30 km north of Malmö. In small format, the works depict the red-and-white cows that at this time were crossed with other breeds for the purpose of selective breeding. The goal was to create a national red-and-white breed that would unite a high milk production with a strong body frame. The size of the paintings steers our thoughts to souvenir postcards.

Jakob Kulle was born in Lund and worked as a goldsmith, painter, and art weaver. Shared by all of his different modes of expression was his great interest in the Scanian country people, where folk costumes, weaving patterns, and interior decorating were reproduced with immense detail and faithfulness. This ethnographic care has contributed to his work’s significant culturalhistorical value.

In Kulle’s Scanian farm cottage interiors, the Scanian peasants are depicted in an idealized manner. They are shown as hard-working and round-cheeked with clean clothes and, through the muted colors, they appear untroubled and peaceful.

With his great sympathy for the Scanian peasantry and their weavings, Kulle became a pioneer within artisanal textile handicrafts. He established weaving schools in Stockholm and Lund to preserve Scanian weaving traditions.

After finishing his studies at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm, Justus Lundegård traveled to Munich and then Paris. His time in Paris in 1891 was very formative; he studied the art and was in contact with the Impressionists, which resulted in an artistic awakening. His newly- found insights about the significance of light and its impact on the color scale made a big impression on his work. When he returned to Sweden, his light and ethereal tonal painting shifted into a more layered style in richer colors, which characterizes his Scanian landscape motifs.

The work Sädesskylar (Haystacks) is a significant example of the Impressionist impact and leads our thoughts to Claude Monet’s series of the same subject. In quick brushstrokes, a fleeting glance gives the impression of light and atmosphere. The optical effects are prominent on the right side of the work, where the haystacks’ uniform contours are broken by solitary pieces of straw illuminated by the backlighting. The gray flecks in the sky, which look like they were made with the thumb, contribute to an instantaneous impression of a shimmering orange late-summer sky.

Lars Theodor Billing studied at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm and completed a number of study trips around Europe. He was very interested in nature, which he depicted in a way that aligned with the Romantic currents that characterized Western art in the mid-1800s.

In the works that are shown in the exhibition, the Romantic dualism is noti ceably present. Humans can depict nature and objectify it for their own aesthetic pleasure, but are simultaneously left defenseless before its superior forces.

In Strandlandskap efter solnedgång (Beach Landscape After Sunset), the landscape is depicted as both poetic and beautiful but also dramatic, foggy, and threatening. The firm brushwork as well as the dark color palette give a solemn view of nature.

After studying in Copenhagen, Paris, and Rome, Ossian Gyllenberg settled in his birthplace of Malmö. Here he was an active participant in the Scanian art scene – both as an artist and as an exhibition coordinator for Scania’s Art Association.

Gyllenberg gathered his subjects from the landscapes around him, the plains and the villages, which he depicted with sensitivity. He was very interested in the atmospheric and created light-filled, grandiose cloud images with a mosaiclike technique.

In the work Mot kvällen (Toward Evening), we can see how he has been fascinated by the soft, golden evening light that casts shadows on the building façade and the enormous haystack. Only the top of the haystack peeks out from the shadows. The shimmering sky is depicted so atmospherically that the observer can almost feel the density of the air. Inspired by French tendencies in plein-air painting, Gyllenberg captured the landscape as it appeared to him.

At the end of the 1800s, after studying at the Technical Society’s School in Copenhagen and the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm, Per Gummeson settled in Röstånga. He intended to stay a couple of months, but it is said that he was so taken with the surrounding nature that he remained there until his death.

Gummeson came from a large family of farmers, and during his childhood in Österlen, he participated in the activities on the farm and the grounds. It is easy to imagine that this early foundational understanding of nature left marks in his art. In small images, he depicted his north Scanian home area’s cottages and farms as well as the characteristic half-timbered house-rows. He was also occupied with how colors shifted in the forests, plains landscape, heathlands, and the idyllic ridge that he depicted in a blue-hued light in the work Vårmorgon, Röstånga (Spring Morning, Röstånga).

Through the years, his artistic idiom developed from the naturalistically faithful, following Danish tradition, to a painting style characterized by the French art trends with freer and broader brush work and harmonic coloring.

In light of national currents that flourished around the turn of the century, a strong local country romanticism also emerged. In Scania, this came to materialize itself in the admiration of the Scanian landscape, which was often depicted in art and literature.

Peter Adolf Persson was educated at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm but was also influenced by trips to France. He showed the Scanian landscape through soft lyrical tones and with a particular eye for the countryside’s local character. Over the years, he also became known for his Scanian winter motifs in which the white illuminated snow took up large areas of the canvas.

As a tribute to the fertile Scanian landscape, he captured the daily work in the fields in an objective manner. In light compositions and a muted palette, he also depicted the landscape with its stone walls, tree-lined roads, and farms.

The proximity to Denmark and the Danish art tradition was an important component in the development of the Scanian art. A clear example is seen in Persson’s work Skåneslätt med stendös (Scanian Plains with Stone Dolmen), which has a direct connection to the Danish Golden Age tradition of depicting ancient stone dolmens.

Johan Johansson is often described as the most prominent figure in Scanian modernism. When Ystads konstmuseum was inaugurated in 1936, he was the first artist to be shown in a solo exhibition here. Since then, he has had several exhibitions at the museum, and works by him have been shown in the former Scania Room and later in displays of the museum’s collection. The Scanian landscape’s various guises are depicted in Johansson’s paintings–plains, coast, hills, and forest. In his self-portrait, we see him with his sketchbook against a background of farm fields, sea, and sky.

Johansson was born in Lund in 1879. After working for a couple of years as a decorative painter, he traveled to Germany to dedicate himself to artistic studies at such institutions as the art academy in Dresden. He also traveled to Paris and Italy, destinations that were considered almost obligatory at the time for an artist seeking inspiration. For fifteen years, Johansson was based in Germany. He spent his summers on the Scanian coast. When World War One broke out in 1914, he was in Scania and could not return to Germany, so he established a new home base in his hometown of Lund.

In Svante Bergh’s paintings, the landscape is emphasized as a place for recreation. Solbad from 1935 shows the ideals of the time in terms of physique and health as well as the connection to nature. Bergh was one of the Scanian artists that arts patron Herman Gotthardt supported through purchase of artworks, encouragement, and travel stipends. In 1944, Gotthardt donated 760 works that today comprise one of the cores of the Malmö Konstmuseum collection.

Bergh was born in Malmö in 1885. As a fourteen-year-old, he took evening courses in decorative painting at Malmö Technical School. In 1903, he traveled to Dresden to study painting. After four years, he returned to Sweden to assist artist Julius Kronberg with the scenery at the Royal Dramatic Theater. He then continued his studies in Copenhagen for a couple of years before traveling to Paris. There, Bergh was heavily influenced by Impressionist painting before the outbreak of war forced him to return to Malmö in 1914. When the war was over, he returned to attend artist André Lhote’s newly-established art school.

Gerhard Wihlborg lived and worked in Österlen his whole life. With a particular love for the rolling hills of Kåseberga, he documented the landscape and the folk life around him. With his solo exhibition at Ystads konst­ museum in 1937, he became one of the first artists to exhibit at the new museum. Wihlborg’s works have been shown on a recurring basis in solo and group exhibitions at the museum ever since.

Wihlborg was born in 1897 at the Grimshög farm just outside Löderup. In 1916, he moved to Stockholm to study decorative painting at the Technical School. The following year, he studied painting at Althins School of Painting before he began at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts. When he finished his studies at the Academy in 1920, he went on a six-month stipend-funded journey in Italy before returning to Scania, where he shared his time between Ystad and his parents’ farm for more than sixty years.

Tora Vega Holmström is perhaps primarily associated with her intensely -colored portraits. In a letter from 1906, she uses the formulation “the landscape of the face.” Her letters and journals are full of literary landscape depictions, but it was only after many years of working as an artist and the influence of her colleague, painter Ester Almqvist, that she developed an interest in landscape motifs in painting. She found inspiration in such places as Kåseberga, where she had a studio from 1937 on. Through Holmström’s gaze, the Scanian landscape took on stylized forms.

Holmström was born in Tottarp in 1880 and grew up at Hvilan folk high school in Åkarp, which was run by her parents. As a young woman, she challenged the gender norms of the time and studied art in Copenhagen, at the Valand Academy in Gothenburg, and in Germany. She completed many journeys of inspiration in Europe and North Africa and developed a comprehensive network of creative and intellectual contacts during her lifetime. Holmström is one of the Scanian modernists who has received the most attention in recent years.

Emil Olsson grew up on a farm in Söderslätt in Scania. Instead of becoming a farmer like his parents, he studied to become an artist. A lush agrarian landscape, not seldom populated by working people, is depicted in Olsson’s paintings. He also painted many portraits of his mother where she is shown as reliable and steady. For Olsson, she represented the ideal Scanian farm woman. One of these portraits can be seen in the Portrait Gallery on the museum’s second floor.

Olsson was born in 1890 in Svenstorp. He began his artistic studies in 1907 at Bruno Hoppe’s painting school in Malmö and then also studied in Copenhagen and at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm. Throughout his career, he made numerous study trips to Europe, including Paris, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Spain. One part of his legacy is a foundation aimed at supporting the care of visual artists in Scania who are elderly or ill and need assistance. Every year, Malmö konstmuseum awards stipends from this foundation.

Sigrid Holmwood investigates Western painting traditions by tracing the material history of painting. Where do the paint pigments come from? From what raw materials have they been made throughout history? And by whom? In the answers to these questions, Holmwood finds connections between European art history and colonial trade routes.

She is also interested in “the peasant,” which is a typical motif in art. The English word is often used in a degrading manner and can be interpreted as farmer, farmhand, or bumpkin. This character, Holmwood thinks, has been formed in contrast to ideas about what is modern. Farmers are often painted as backwards, stupid, and uneducated. At the same time, they symbolize romantic ideas of old-fashioned lifestyles despite the fact that there are millions of farmers in the world today.

Borderland shows works that trace the importance of textile printing techniques, pigments, and patterns from India, Central America, and South America in Swedish folk costumes. In her own interpretations, Holmwood refers to the witch and the cannibal, two stereotypes of “peasants” that have historically been demonized and oppressed. In Holmwood’s imagination, they are united in a shared fight for liberation.

Erlend Rødsten’s Wood Stove is a CNC-milled replica in wood of a traditional cast-iron stove. The object sparks associations with simple lifestyles that many connect to life in the country. But the sculpture also carries traces of digital manufacture that, upon closer examination, give it a somewhat paradoxical expression.

A similar tension exists in Blink and you missed it kind of town, which consists of a stack of firewood with an origin story typical of our time. The firewood comes from a farmer that thought of using the warm air from computer server halls to speed up the drying time and in this way increase production. The server halls in question were built a few years ago and are used for the extraction of cryptocurrency, an energy-consuming process that produces a lot of heat.

Cryptocurrency and firewood comprise the extremes of a spectrum of abstract and concrete values. Rødsten incorporates them into a system of art commodities by signing every piece of firewood and selling them in the museum shop. Through Rødsten’s conceptual sculptures, a contemporary image of the countryside as an economic game field emerges, along with a self-destructive logic.

John Skoog comes back time and again to his hometown of Kvidinge in his films. Late on Earth depicts the Scanian plains landscape in the evening light. In the transition between day and night, life among fields, humans, animals, and machines plays out. Over all of it lies a quiet feeling, perhaps even a deliberateness, like a feeling of fatigue when faced with modern civiliza­ tion. The work’s title is taken from Gunnar Ekelöf’s innovative poetry debut from 1932.

It is above all the medium of film and its history that informs Skoog’s work. Seen through a tradition of Scanian landscape depictions, Late on Earth awakens associations to the previous century’s dusk paintings in which the true essence of existence was sought in a saturated atmosphere. Skoog’s imagery challenges romanticized ideas of the countryside and embraces all of its conflicts. Late on Earth alludes to twilight as a borderland where daylight and the familiar give way to the un-familiar and unexplored.

Nicola Godman was born and raised on a dairy farm on the island of Gotland. Today, she lives and works in Visby. Through her art, she examines place and identity from different positions and perspectives. Through a Window Darkly is a series of photographs of reflections against dark windowpanes. The pictures are taken with an analog camera in northern Gotland, where a large number of houses function as vacation homes and therefore stand empty during the winter months. The title plays on Through a Glass Darkly, the English title of Ingmar Bergman’s famous film recorded on Fårö, Gotland.

In the video triptych Walker, Shoe & Jacket, Godman herself takes on the position of tourist at the Curonian Spit in Lithuania. The landscape is on UNESCO’s list of cultural heritage sites as a cultural landscape marked by humans’ persistent efforts to protect it from erosion, but also as being a place of recreation, especially for artists. In the middle of this landscape today is the border of Kaliningrad. The three video loops are filmed as a panorama from outlooks created for tourists.

Curators: Julia Björnberg, Anna Johansson & Ellen Klintenberg

Research: Emma Juel Justesen & Jeff Werner
Curator of the section on Carl August Ehrensvärd: Emma Reichert

Participating artists in Malmö:
Pia Arke, Hjalmar Asp, Endis ­Bergström, Lars Theodor Billing, Gustaf Carleman, Monika Czyżyk, Decolonizing Architecture Art Research (DAAR), Gabriel de la Cruz, Carl August Ehrensvärd, Wilhelm von Gegerfelt, Goldin+Senneby, Per Gummeson, Ossian Gyllenberg, Carl Fredrik Hill, Axel Kleimer, Axel Theodor Kulle, Jakob Kulle, Fritz Kärfve, Axel Hjalmar Lindqvist, Neil Luck, Justus Lundegård, Eric Magassa, Rasmus Myrup, Axel Nordgren, Ernst Norlind, Peter Adolf Persson, Gustaf Rydberg, Stalker, Superflex, Ellen Trotzig, Mateusz Úcibor, Charlotte Wahlström, Agnes Wieslander och Herman Österlund.

Participating artists in Ystad:
Svante Bergh, Nicola Godman, Tora Vega Holmström, Sigrid Holmwood, Johan Johansson, Emil Olsson, Erlend Rødsten, John Skoog och Gerhard Wihlborg.