For this exhibition, a prince arrived at the art gallery on a raft. It was the tree prince / artist Jan-Erik Andersson who came up with his exhibition The Golden Red Castle’s secret and enchanted the children and staff who became involved as co-creators in the story.
The art performance in the fairy tale installation began with the children coming in and seeing the tree prince who arrived asleep on his wooden raft. Together with art teacher Maarit Nilsson-Polet, they approached him. Maarit wakes the prince. As a reversal of the tale of Sleeping Beauty, where the princess is awakened by the prince at the end of the tale. He jumps down from the raft and tells that he is the tree prince and that his fire princess has been enchanted by a black polar bear. Now the questions are raised and together the group sets off to look for what the secret should look like. The secret that breaks the spell of the fire princess.
In the art gallery, they meet and talk to various fairy tale characters. It’s the ice princess, the ice prince, the rocket man, the girl and the bird etc .. A flying pig talks about the stars. Maybe the answers were in the stars. Inside the golden-red castle, the stars become decorations in its red interior. As a beautiful open end to the story. Like a whisper that we are all stars in the mystery of the mysterious sky.
In Södertälje konsthall´s archive, you can take part in the communication between Maarit and Jan-Erik that has prompted the exhibition. Maarit mentions in one of the letters that there has been some computer trouble. Faxes and telephone calls seem to have been the most common means of communication. In a letter, Maarit refers to a previous exhibition at the art gallery, Timescape-95, which she worked with, where Jan-Erik was one of the participants (see attached letter). Jan-Erik tells in another letter about a time-constrained schedule. He is currently exhibiting at Amos Andersson’s Art Museum in Helsinki, and tells about the heart-shaped house that was shown there, and he would like to take to bring it to Södertälje. “It has computer-controlled lights that follow my breathing and a small heart of 200 light fibers.”
The idea is to build a three meter high castle inside the art gallery, a wooden frame with side surfaces. He writes in the letter dated October 13, 1997, that he sends drawings. In a letter reply January 15, 1998, Maarit writes “We are really now in the process of preparing your exhibition. Ola Nilsson (substitute for head-technician Werner Näslund) and I have looked through the drawings for the castle and the table and now the material has been downloaded for this and Ola has started sawing etc. ”. A little further down in the letter, she wonders about Jan-Erik who is from Turku Finland, ordered transport of the exhibition from there to Södertälje until February 2 and “Have you ordered boat tickets for yourself? What day are you coming?”.
The exhibition, which lasted seven and a half weeks, was extremely well attended. Many groups. A total of 57 screenings for preschools / schools and others (see scanned document). There is a rich image archive for the exhibition as it is well documented by photographer Olof Näslund. At the same time, a slide show was shown in the visual theater with Hanna Al Haek’s art.
Sources: Södertälje konsthalls archive folder, text and compilation: Anneli Karlsson.