When the SEB bank’s management realised that their art collection was no longer reflective of the times, they reached out to CFHILL. By selling their fine collection of older paintings at auctions, and then making strategic purchases from gallery exhibitions and auctioneers, the bank managed to turn its collection into one of the largest (and best) in Scandinavia. On 15 August, the collection was unveiled before a crowd consisting of invited artists and employees at the bank. Among the invited guests where international superstar Olafur Eliasson and Daniel Birnbaum, the outgoing director of Moderna Museet.
“Our ambition for the site at Arenastaden was to make it an exceptional workplace. An inspiring building, with open spaces that facilitate meetings. Art is one aspect of this. It occupies space, and triggers emotions. Also, we’ve been collecting contemporary art for a very long time.”
– Viveka Hirdman-Ryberg, Head of Group Communications and Group Marketing (CMO).
“Businesses that make serious investments in art always do so with a long-term goal in mind. It’s a matter of the company’s self-image, and how being surrounded by great art will make the employees feel – as well as a way to provide a great experience for visitors! Art can do all those things.”
Michael Storåkers, Chairman of CFHILL, who has been highly involved in building this collection, has selected ten of its one hundred or so pieces.
Karin Mamma Andersson, Svanesång
This piece caused quite a stir in the media and among art collectors. We’re delighted to have managed to get it before anybody else did!
Jockum Nordström, Pengarna på banken
Mamma Andersson and Jockum Nordström, who met as students, are a couple. They were both painters, but when Jockum developed an allergy to oil paints, he began working with collage instead. Jockum has an incredible sense of humour. Here, he’s created a stunningly beautiful and sombre gallery, executed by Handarbetets Vänner (Friends of Handicraft), and titled it Pengarna på banken (“Money in the Bank”). He certainly doesn’t mince words!
Andreas Eriksson, Ted Kaczynski’s Cabin, 2004
His style of painting is, in every aspect, the absolute opposite of timidity and restraint. This is serious stuff, and he always paints as though this day were his last. His brush strokes are forceful and frenzied, and he always has to discard the brushes once a painting is finished. We glimpse a simple cabin deep inside the lush, virginal foliage. One of the world’s most notorious serial killers, the UNA bomber, is hiding inside. He was a mathematician who hated technological progress, and thought that it could be halted by the horrendous deeds he committed. What a painting!
Liselotte Watkins, A series of portraits
When Liselotte Watkins found out that SEB had decided that their new collection was to include works by the ten most prominent female artists from Sweden, she was inspired to create a special piece: A series of portraits of Hilma af Klint, Marie-Louise Ekman, Karin Mamma Andersson, Sigrid Hjertén, Lena Cronqvist, Nathalie Djurberg, Vera Nilsson, Agnes Cleve, Julia Beck, and Lena Svedberg. A fitting celebration of their greatness!
Olafur Eliasson, Power Sharing Planet, 2017
It was amazing to see Olafur Eliasson at the opening! He must be one of the busiest artists in the world. The studio he shares with Ai Weiwei in Berlin occupies an entire city block. The geometry of the modules that make up this polyhedron was co-designed by the artist’s collaboration partner, Icelandic mathematician Einar Thorsteinn.
Ann Edholm, Trotz/Oswiecim 1–4
It is as though Ann Edholm had put her vision to work to ensure the eternal preservation of a vital body of picture proof.
Her works are like distilled signs. She is ranked among the greatest painters of her generation. It seems very appropriate that her monumental work Dialogos has been on display in the United Nations Economic and Social Council’s chamber in the UN’s New York headquarters since 2013.
Cajsa von Zeipel, Stamina
This is an obvious pick, as it was made specifically for SEB, and specifically for this site. Cajsa von Zeipel’s works revolve around young women and our perceptions of classical sculpture, i.e., white, godlike statues. And while her own portraits of women tend to be a rather demanding and aggressive, this one is a lot more welcoming. You can even go inside the girl’s head to enjoy a moment of solitude!
Hilma af Klint
How amazing is it that Hilma af Klint is going to have her very own show at the Guggenheim in New York? Now, the whole world is getting wise to the fact that she was the first artist to make completely abstract paintings, way back in 1906. This is definitely the art event of the year. Also, it makes us feel even more honoured to have an agreement in place with the Hilma af Klint Foundation, which allows us to loan new works from them once a year. Anybody who visits us gets a dose of her spiritual magic.
Peter Frie, Vandring
Landscapes have been one of the most beloved genres of art ever since the Renaissance (at the very least), but their meanings have changed with the times. Even today, artists keep returning to this motif, which has gone in and out of fashion as the years have gone by. This piece was also specially commissioned. At first, it appears to be a romantic, twilight landscape, perhaps something from the 19th century, but soon, the coarse brush strokes become apparent, and the painting takes on a more abstract appearance.
Goldin+Senneby, Banca Rotta
What could be more appropriate than a reminder of the origins of banking? Money, and the ways that it flows through the world, are matters of particular interest to Goldin+Senneby. This work consists of a piece of furniture that was first used in Renaissance Italy: a money-lender’s table, or “banca.” If a money-lender became insolvent, an official would turn up and close down his business. They did that by breaking his table – “banca rotta!”