For my final solo trip into Stockholm, I decided to revisit the Moderna Museet. I wanted to see the collection, then I found out there was a new exhibition so, obviously, that was where I was going. I also wanted to do a final bus, ferry, tram trip. While the exhibition happened, I didn’t actually catch a tram.
The thing is, there’s a little ferry service which regularly makes the short trip between Djurgården and Slussen with a short stop at Skeppsholmen on the way. The ferry leaves from the dock right next to the one where the ferry from Nacka Strand arrives.
Given the ferry was sitting there when I arrived, what could I do? Besides, the combined tram and bus would have taken me a lot longer than a simple hop across the water.
That did mean I was at the museum a lot earlier, but that just meant I had more time to wander around the collection.
Among a lot of weird stuff, I found this cabinet.
I figured it was going to be some sort of comment on the visually boring, but that wasn’t so. I opened the cabinet. (Mirinda asked me how I knew to open the cabinet. I told her it was instinctive but, honestly, I have no idea.) Both sides were doors, the drawers being fake. Inside the cabinet was a padded seat facing a small screen. I sat down and closed the doors behind me.
The artist had played a game, going through and shooting lots of characters, then stitched together lots of the scenes. He then recorded a soundtrack of his memories of home and various observations about his life.
At one stage, someone opened the cabinet door only to close it with an apologetic “Förlåt!“
It was delightfully odd though I think Mirinda would have found the experience rather claustrophobic. I rather liked the fact that it was close and cosy – the seat was comfortable – because it gave the experience a sense of being between just the artist and the viewer. It made it somehow personal.
Further into the collection, I also discovered a rather lovely Kandinsky.
It’s probably just me but I think it’s beautiful. To my mind it represents the intractability of time. The inevitability and mathematical certainty of relentlessly moving forward.
After bathing in the glory of various works of modern art, it was time to visit the café for a light lunch (räksmörgås and an IPA) before heading into the exhibition.
I’d never heard of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye before. I guess there’s no reason I would have. She’s a London born artist who graduated from the Royal Academy Schools in 2003. Her style is quite distinctive. Her oil paintings are at once intriguing and familiar.
As I wandered around the first rooms, I was struck by her subjects. Were these people from her life? Friends and relatives? Were these her models? Boy was I wrong.
While they give the impression of being portraits of real people, they are actually amalgams of images taken from various places and combined to create one single, person.
Her titles are also quite distinctive: Geranium Love Sonnet, A Passion Like No Other, To Improvise a Mountain being just three. Yiadom-Boakye is described as an artist and a writer. Her titles are an extension of the paintings rather than an explanation.
I loved her use of dark and shadow, making a few of the paintings difficult to make out until you stand quite close. Which is why, when I entered the second room, I was instantly struck by a large, bright painting of two little girls playing at the beach.
This was my favourite.
As I studied this beautiful painting, a voice beside me said as much. I turned to find one of the museum people standing next to me admiring the work. I recognised her as the same young woman who had discussed an amazing Giacometti statue with me, when we visited back in May.
I can’t imagine that she recognised me. There was another person wandering around the room at the same time, and she didn’t talk to her. Perhaps the museum person recognised someone who likes the same style. I don’t know. It seemed a bit coincidental, though very pleasant to discuss modern art with a fellow disciple.
Having immersed myself in the exhibition, it was time to head back home. Though not before indulging in an Italian ice cream from a van down by the water. While I was sitting and enjoying my hazelnut and salted caramel delight, a total of three big tourist coaches arrived on the island. I acknowledged that my timing was impeccable as I left the hordes to their wanderings and headed for the bus stop at Kungsträdgården.
It was an all round, excellent day for my last visit to the Moderna Museet. Mind you, as well as the amazing art, I’m really going to miss the café.