Why Sculpture?

Interview with Michael Storåkers, Curator & Co-Founder of CFHILL


Paulina Sokolow (PS): What is your relationship to sculpture like?

Michael Storåkers (MS): It’s a loving one. We’re very fond of one another. Sculpture invades space in a disturbing way that stimulates every cog in my mind. When I visited Athens and saw the Parthenon for the first time, it was as though the whole puzzle came together for me right there in the Acropolis Museum. All sculpture is in some way related to those marble figures in there. It’s magical. 


(PS): Can you elucidate?

(MS): Well, it’s all very touching and impressive, but it’s not really as though those sculptures outshine everything else. Rather, they’re ancestors, in a way. For instance, take a look at Kajsa von Zeipel’s white giants. Obviously their great-great-great grandchildren!


(PS): ‘Shitting Boy’ by Nathalie Djurberg, though… quite far removed from the Acropolis, no?

(MS): Haha, yes. And yet, somehow, not really! It’s still all about communication of a deeply human kind. I’m sure the Athenians would understand and laugh themselves silly at Nathalie Djurberg/Hans Berg’s humorous piece. They started out with moving pictures, but then, they discovered that even something static can tell a story. 


(PS): But not all sculpture is three-dimensional depictions of human beings. What are your thoughts on abstract sculpture? 

(MS): The whole concept of abstract sculpture is a little absurd, really. After all, it’s really very concrete. Just look at Baertling! It’s a shame that there aren’t more of his works in public spaces. His paintings are familiar to us, of course, but I think we’re about to witness something of a renaissance for his astounding cast-iron objects.

The initial plan for the Sergels torg square was to put one of his works there, a sculpture that would have been 85 meters high. It’s typical of our excessive Swedish modesty that we ended up settling for a far meeker glass obelisk of just over 40 meters.

Another abstract sculptor, one with a more contemporary style, is Annie Morris. But there is really nothing abstract about her works. They’re like living creatures… Like colour itself embodied. 


(PS): How do you think sculpture has evolved over the past few decades?

(MS): The choices of materials have obviously become far less orthodox. On the one hand, we see a return to the origins of the genre, like the ceramics of Watkins and Kristalova. On the other hand, industrially produced materials are now permissible, like the polyurethane plastic used by Carsten Höller. And then, of course, there is also an increasingly conceptual aspect, too, like in Goldin+Senneby’s books containing stock market algorithms. 


(PS): What’s your favourite thing about _Sculpture, Sculpture, Sculpture_?

(MS): It’s pretty much the exhibition of my dreams, but I also find myself extra happy to note that without any explicit intention on our part, we ended up with more than half of the participating artists being female. Lena Cronquist is our own Acropolis, I’d say. And Katrine Helmersson is our own Louise Bourgeois. 

Klara Kristalova, Annie Morris, Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg, Katrine Helmersson, Carsten Höller, Lena Cronqvist, Olle Baertling, Alfred Boman, Åke Persson, Anders Krisàr, Zheng Lu, Tony Cragg, Eva Hild, Goldin+Senneby, Hanna Hansdotter, Klara Lidén, Liselotte Watkins, Carl Milles & Wilhelm Mundt

Zheng Lu  ‘Wave’ , Carsten Höller  ‘Giant Triple Mushroom’,  Katrine Helmersson  ‘Pochoir’ .

Zheng Lu ‘Wave’, Carsten Höller ‘Giant Triple Mushroom’, Katrine Helmersson ‘Pochoir’.

Olle Baertling  ‘KERAK’  and Annie Morris ‘ Stack 9, Studio Violet’.

Olle Baertling ‘KERAK’ and Annie Morris ‘Stack 9, Studio Violet’.