Södrakull Frösakull

FK01.2000 ©Mikael Olsson


Södrakull Frösakull

Södrakull Frösakull is an investigation into ideas about perception and representation through two architectural works by Bruno Mathsson, one of Sweden’s best-known modernist designers. The images taken between 2000 and 2006 oscillate between factual recordings and a personal account of an intimate relation and attraction to two of Mathsson’s houses. The work is an attempt to dig deep into the architecture and body of the buildings, and to uncover their intrinsic character amidst the omnipresent palpable deterioration. Through the photographic reproduction of the buildings, their subjacent architecture is revealed. They become psychologically charged stages and objects of projection for personal memories and histories.

The photographs of Frösakull are the result of a long lasting engagement with the house at different intensities. Staying between one hour and a week at a time, Olsson is able to emphasise the substance of the building and the psychological dimension of the act of looking against the backdrop of Mathsson’s architectural heritage. Like him, Olsson used the house as space for experiments to test its possibilities. He rearranged the interiors of the rooms and transformed them into stages, often using light, shadow and emptiness as the only props. For instance, the living room is reorganised and photographed twenty times, and appears completely different in each of the pictures.

As for Södrakull, the photographs were taken from the outside through half-drawn curtains. Olsson assumes the position of a voyeur, who doesn’t have access to the building, but is drawn towards the hidden to take a hasty glance. The pictures are more abstract than the images in the Frösakull series. In this sense they oppose the idea of a precise memory, while adding a personal dimension to the project, which is closely related to the act of perceiving. The photographs constitute an interplay of intimacy and distance, and a subjective approach to Mathsson’s legacy.

Olsson’s fastidious attention to the design of the houses, and to the residue of their occupation delivers an archaeology of both Swedish modernist domesticity and Mathsson’s own inhabitation. The houses display a characteristic obsession with air, sun and oxygen, and performed for Mathsson as setting for his interests in naturism, fitness and nudism. In this sense the photographs provide a condensation of modernist biologically oriented preoccupations, for which the houses are an extreme Swedish concentrate.

FK = Frösakull
SK = Södrakull

The work contain 84 images.

The book Södrakull Frösakull, published by Steidl Verlag 2011. Texts by Beatriz Colomina, Hans Irrek and Helena Mattsson.

© Mikael Olsson