Stig Sjölund with Ronny Hansson,
Jonas Kjellgren and Birgitta Tholander

The two works by the Swedish artist Stig Sjölund shown in Populism are both collaborative projects. The newest work, The Danish Rat is made together with Ronny Hansson (*1962) and Jonas Kjellgren (*1962), and consists of a fully functional Ferris wheel. Different from other Ferris wheels The Danish Rat is for one person only, and after you have been strapped to the chair it takes two minutes to complete the 360 degree ride, during which you hang upside down for some of the time. Those who have tried the Rat describe it as ‘a different experience.’ The title signals a challenge typical of ‘dangerous’ fun fair rides – and perhaps a Danish person would see an unmotivated chauvinism in it too!

The two performances from his exhibition The Scanning, which was shown at the Uppsala Konstmuseum in Sweden in 2003–4, will also be performed in Populism. Here, Sjölund collaborates with the Swedish spiritualist Birgitta Tholander (*1958), and together they will carry out various site-specific (art) séances together with visitors. Sjölund performs his New Age Express, a performance with tarot cards, where he tells the fortunes of the visitors. What he foresees about the life of the spectator is broadcasted over speakers to the rest of the audience. Tholander carries out séances in which she seeks to establish contact with a deceased person who has, in his/her physical life, had contact with someone in the audience.

In The Danish Rat and The Scanning Sjölund and his collaborators investigate and enact our concepts and perceptions of what we consider to be real and unreal, truth and fiction. Through pop cultural means they challenge the meanings of morality and spirituality: in these works, it is impossible to take any moral high ground. You will have to join the show.



(2004) (Installation: Photo, ferriswheel, detail of the installation)
Photo: Ronny Hansson. Courtesy: Malmö Konstmuseum.