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Anna-Maria Hällgren

Publications

A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • Zorn: A Swedish Superstar

    2021. Anna-Maria Hällgren. Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide 20 (3)

    Article

    After visiting the exhibition Zorn: A Swedish Superstar at the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, I was reminded of an earlier visit to the artist’s home in Mora. Zorn placed the lights in the dining room there directly above the rear end of the table, where he sat. This might very well have been mere chance, or for practical reasons, but in hindsight it reminds us that Zorn was well aware of being a superstar in the spotlight. As an artist however, Zorn managed perfectly well to shine on his own. This becomes clear during a visit to the exhibition.

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  • På en kolonilott lär man sig odla sin förnöjsamhet

    2021. Anna-Maria Hällgren. Svenska dagbladet

    Article

    Det verkar vara svårt för människan att upprätthålla en sund relation till naturen – mycket vill ha mer, och snart nog har vi förvandlat alla grisar till matindustrivaror och all urskog till virkesåkrar. I farten riskerar vi även att förlora respekten för varandra.

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  • Det kännbara landskapet

    2020. Anna-Maria Hällgren. Bebyggelsehistorisk tidskrift (78), 8-23

    Article

    The main aim of the article is to historicise the view from above, which is recurrent when the ecological crisis is being addressed within contemporary art and visual culture today. The view from above may be considered a reasonable way to picture environmentally harmful land use and its consequences. In many ways this is perfectly justifiable. However, it also contains a few, but essential, problematic traits. The view from above – of deforestation, opencast coal mining and extreme urbanisation – corresponds with an ideal viewing position established in around the mid-19th century. This viewing position responded, according to art historian Jonathan Crary, to a need for objective perception. It allowed the observer to become supposedly detached, objective and disembodied, yet it also created a distance that was both physical and mental. The starting point in the article is that this viewing position cannot be decoupled from an anthropocentric understanding of the world, through which man has been assigned hegemony over other beings and has become the measure of all things.

    This ideal viewing position, however, was not the only one developed during the 19th century. In both art and literature, a multisensory experience of nature and its landscape was articulated, one which anchored people to – rather than separated them from – their surroundings. The examples discussed in the text – J.M.W. Turner’s increasing disassociation from the picturesque landscape; John Ruskin’s exhortations to visit alpine regions, observe geological detail, and viscerally experience the landscape; and Leslie Stephen’s phenomenological experiences of mountain landscapes and his ability to erase the boundary between the Self and the mountain – all testify to a multisensory experience of the surrounding natural world. With Ruskin and Stephen in particular, what emerges is an individual connected and at one with – rather than separated from – the surroundings. Thus, a non-anthropocentric, holistic worldview was fashioned, one which we have reason to re-actualise today.

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  • Markens ärr blir också våra

    2020. Anna-Maria Hällgren. Svenska dagbladet

    Article

    Destruktiv markanvändning hotar inte bara djurliv och ekosystem, vår behandling av jorden har också skapat möjligheter för virus att överföras från naturliga värdar till oss människor. Om människan och marken handlar en angelägen och aktuell utställning på Göteborgs konsthall.

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  • (Un)steady as a Rock

    2019. Anna-Maria Hällgren. Konsthistorisk Tidskrift 88 (1), 33-42

    Article

    In order to broaden the possibilities for further, in-depth analysis of contemporary art in the light of climate change, the essay identifies and explores a recurrent phenomenon within contemporary art today: The frequent use of rocks and stones. Stones have, of course, played a quite significant role in the history of art, not least through skillfully crafted marble and grand earthworks. Within contemporary art today, however, everyday pebbles, cobbles and boulders have become a means to address the ecological crisis. By drawing upon the ongoing debate about the reorganization of knowledge, fostered by the awareness of climate change and discussed by Matthew Omelsky and Ian Baucom amongst others, this essay examines when and how stones became such a means. By reflecting upon artworks by Jimmie Durham, Adriane Wachholz, Silvia Noronha and Julian Charrière, it is suggested that stones are often used as a medium to transgress habitual and anthropocentric notions of time and temporality. Further, through their work, these artists have the potential to make us believe, in times of make-believe: Not only in the urgency of climate change, but also in a future to come.

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  • Låt kärnavfallet bli en hävstång för tanken

    2019. Anna-Maria Hällgren.

    Article

    Kan en kultur präglad av kortsiktiga beslut lära sig att rikta tanken 100 000 år framåt? Klimatkrisen kräver, precis som det använda kärnbränsle som väntar på slut­förvaring, ett långsiktigt tänkande. I sin nya bok undersöker författaren Axel Andersson om vi kan förvandla gift till botemedel.

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  • Skåda all världens uselhet

    2013. Anna-Maria Hällgren (et al.).

    Thesis (Doc)

    This doctoral dissertation analyzes practices of looking within popular culture during the late nineteenth century. Visual attractions, illustrated press and traveling amusement shows included representations of social ills, such as poverty, criminality and prostitution. These representations were criticized in the Swedish public debate, because of their presumed negative impact on society. They were considered “far too realistic” and thus demoralizing, allegedly causing faulty ideals and creating inaccurate understandings of society. However, others emphasized the importance of beholding images, tableaus and depictions of this kind. I argue that by governing vision, certain practices of looking enabled otherwise problematic representations to become a valuable resource.

    While the governing of vision in educational contexts has been frequently analyzed, the way in which vision was also governed in popular culture is less well understood. This is not surprising. At the time, it was often assumed that popular culture endangered the attentive spectator, generating an uncaring, detached mind. In addition, popular culture contained various representations of social ills, which were not educational in any obvious way. However, I argue that even these representations were potentially instructional. They were part of the creation of an orderly, responsible citizen – aware of the social problems generated by the rapidly developing society and aware of his or her responsibility to actively engage in their solutions. Hence, I argue that the governing of vision within popular culture became a means of social reform during the late nineteenth century.

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