Today we turn our eyes away – yesterday we had lively discussions. The art of that time reflected important events in the world, which in some way affected everyone. Today, it is extremely rare for the concept of art to address current events, such as the civil war in Syria, the earthquake in Japan, the conflict in Mali and so on.
We have botanized in the municipality’s art collection and found a lot of works with political messages purchased during the 1960s and 70s when Eje Högestätt was cultural curator and director of Södertälje konsthall. Eje Högestätt was succeeded in 1973 by Per Drougge, who continued with the purchase of innovative art.
Compared to today, the artists at that time were much more politically aware and outgoing. Social commitment was important. Posts in the Vietnam debate, the Biafra war, the six-day war in Israel, the massacre in Sharpville South Africa, the invasion of the former Czechoslovakia and man in space. Evil imminent death – the murders of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Che Guevara – an endless series of world events to attack.
The exhibitions we showed in Södertälje konsthall at the time were in the same spirit: Underground, Henck Wognum and Björn Runeborg – “The new man” – a commentary on research where the guinea pigs were real people. Jacques Zadig and Gerhard Nordström (“Summer 1970”) with comments on the Hiroshima bomb and the Vietnam War. The artist as agitator, Multikonst, Skåne 70s, Wladyslaw Hasior and Josef Beréz, art from Cuba, Roj Friberg, Petter Pettersson, Petter Zennström, Christer Themptander, Young Denmark, Røde Mor, Portugal: the galleries and streets’ pictures, Resistance Museum Salvador Allende, Palle Nielsen. The art scene at the time was very male-dominated, which is why we have now also chosen to pick in some women: Birgit Ståhl-Nyberg, Helga Henschen, Kerstin Abram-Nilsson and Marja Ruta. They all worked with political themes on the big and small level.
Later this autumn, we will, in the City Hall’s front exhibition, show art on the Chilean theme in connection with the fact that it is 40 years since the coup. Rolando Perez, Juan Castillo, Hector Siluchi, Sebastian Matta, Roj Friberg, Olof Sandahl, Carlos Hermosilla are some of the artists’ works we will show.
With these two exhibitions, we hope to start a contemporary debate, which in the autumn of 2013 is intended to be followed up in the form of a number of programs in Luna culture house.