Opening, October 16, 2008, 6 pm
Exhibition, October 17 – November 28, 2008
The painting “Will You Be Profitable, Little Friend?” (1972) by the Swedish artist Peter Tillberg is arguably one of the most famous and beloved post-1968 artworks in Sweden. It depicts an ordinary school class of what appears to be an ordinary small city. In his realistic manner, Tillberg has chosen the frontal perspective of the teacher, who seems to be asking the question in the title. The message is obvious: the painting is criticizing a society in which you are educated to be a wage slave, regardless of whether you work for the State or Capital. When the Russian/Swedish artist Alexander Vaindorf returned to the painting 34 years later, he took a contemporary standpoint. “Useless/Open Letter to the Government #2, Will You Be Profitable, Little Friend?” consists of a 26-minute DVD, one photograph, personal letters from students to the Swedish government, a blackboard and posters. A graduating class at a senior high school in Stockholm was instructed by Vaindorf to view Tillberg’s painting and write a letter to the government. The letters were included in the regular education as essays in Swedish, and the students had to read what the others had written. Last of all, Vaindorf gathered the students in a situation similar to Tillberg’s painting for a filmed session in which the students discussed each other’s letters. This video is sent to the Swedish government. (John Peter Nilsson)
Alexander Vaindorf (b. 1965 in Russia) lives and works in Stockholm.
Curated by Christian Kravagna and Hedwig Saxenhuber.