Mamma Andersson was born in 1962 in Luleå, Sweden.
She studied at the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, where she lives.
Her first exhibition was held in 1985 at the Norrbottens Museum, Luleå, and in 2017 she has had shows in galleries such as Magnus Karlsson (Stockholm), Victoria Miro (London) and Stephen Friedman (London). She is also represented by David Zwirner (New York) and features in several museum collections: the Centre Pompidou (Paris), the Broad Foundation (Santa Monica), the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas), the Museum of Modern Art (Stockholm), the Museum of Contemporary Art and UCLA Hammer Museum (Los Angeles) and the MoMA (New York).
Photo : ©PATRICK MILLER.
Mamma Andersson delves into and plays with the theatre and film worlds, which she deconstructs and recomposes over and over again, inspired by a host of images from art history or the press, then reworked in the manner of storyboards. The starting point for her work can be found on her bookshelf, which stands right in the middle of her studio and is the source of her raw materials. She says that she needs to be “surrounded” by art history, but has also always collected magazine photographs. She picks out numerous photos of landscapes or interior scenes, which are often mysterious and make reference – be it unconsciously – to the history of Nordic painting. She also favours silhouettes, which remind her of those produced by the artist Kara Walker, or pictures of characters hiding behind masks. Mamma Andersson ofen works in series, immersing herself in one world before clambering out of it, sometimes painfully, to embark on a new narrative. Swathed in poetic pale tones, her images do not seek to be attractive, yet ask questions to which she offers no answers. Obvious expressions are not part of her world; the mood is diffuse. The artist finds beauty in what may be considered sombre or profoundly intense. For Mamma Andersson, visual images have always been a privileged means of communication, or even her frst language for many years, although, today, she happily cites authors such as Hans Christian Andersen, Tomas Bernhard, Marguerite Duras and J. M. Coetzee. One of her other passions is the cinema. She has had an appetite for flms since she was very young. Furthermore, she feels as if she works like a films director, recomposing hundreds of shots in different combinations, changing the choreography, cutting sequences or characters. She removes overly obvious linearity while allowing herself to be inspired by other types of resurgence, an Eva Hesse installation or a Louise Bourgeois sculpture. Her creative process is not governed by a search for linear narrative, for, in order to be an artist, she believes she needs to remain open to all interpretations. In her case, by continually seeking a lost form of utopia, or even by revealing a dystopia.
Her enigmatic viewpoints, which seem like momentary pauses, are ideal scenic spaces in which everyone may implant their own psyche.