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< 8. November - 7. December >

Annika Ström

“Dear Randi,

I am so much looking forward to this show and I am glad to tell you that I have skipped the film. I now have a much better idea. You know, for some time I have made these random drawings and paintings and I kept some of them for years and I don’t know what to do with them. These water colours are made during very rare moments where I am strolling around in my studio thinking about a new work, and while doing so just out of the blue I have painted an elephant, my nose, a hand, whatever, and I haven’t known what to do with them. Some of them I later transferred into a happy birthday card but most of them have been lying around without purpose.

But, as I was thinking, the other day, about a title for your show I passed a copy shop and the title copies came up. For some reason I thought it was a splendid name and thought I should follow the title and so I decided to do copies of these drawings and give them a proper role. I am so happy to give them some dignity in the conceptual world of art and I really hope you like the idea. When I told my friend Monica here in Brighton about this, who is a big Walter Benjamin fan, she said:

Reproducing a work of art by hand, rather than technically, photographically, at this point could seem like a laborious or unnecessary process - redundant. So why would you do it? To copy by hand has been described as an act of devotion, it recalls the dedication of medieval scribes or art students dutifully transcribing the work of the master, painting or plaster cast. Copying your own work calls on traditional art processes of scaling up from sketches; of ‘working up’ from an original idea, but it also draws attention to ‘genuine’- and perhaps redundant- ideas about the values of art and its making: the authentic status of the signature work, the aura of the original, hand made, and therefore unique and irreproducible, work of art. At the same time, you are displacing these values, including those on which their prices depend. A handmade copy can only be inexact. In the hand made copy, the idea of an ‘original’ work of art collapses. The ‘original’ and the copy become both distinct and equivalent: each is as authentic -or inauthentic- or valuable, as the other.” But in a further irony, you also call on tradition as a means to re-instate something, which might otherwise become redundant. There is a sense of nostalgia, a desire for something to be rescued from the past, which copying these “worthless” works seems to exemplify. As in your other works, performing desire is the means to portray its conflicts.

Ps please note the stain on this letter is a copy of a coffee stain I made on The letter to Anna 2005.”



In her works, Annika Ström often dwells on ideas surrounding the making of art. With a personal and bittersweet humoristic twist, she deals with her fears of failure; the idea of the original and what being a human and artist consists of to her.

Annika Ström is educated from the Royal Academy of Fine Art in Copenhagen, Denmark. In 2008, she had solo shows at Uddevalla Konsthall, Ystad Art Museum in Sweden and c/o Atle Gerhardsen in Berlin and group shows as at De Appel in Amsterdam, Malmö Konsthall and ACCA in Melbourne. She just had her first monograph published by one starpress (www.onestarpress.com) and Fälth & Hässler. Annika Ström is a Swedish artist based in Hove in the UK.

The artist wishes to thank Monica Ross and Anne Katrine Dolven.


AS celebration

Jubileumsmålning bara till mig - tio år utställande verksamhet 1995-2005
Anniversary painting just for me - ten years of exhibitions, 2008
Water colour on paper
40 x 50 cm
copy of "Anniversary painting just for me - ten years of exhibitions", 2005