BASED ON A TRUE STORY (2014)

The Gallery, Gothia Towers – The Swedish exhibition Congress Centre, Gothenburg

WHERE DO WE COME FROM? WHO ARE WE? WHERE ARE WE GOING?

To tell stories is symptomatic of the human condition; we all tell them, be they tall or short tales, meandering yarn or crisp, sharp fact. The rich tapestry of our existence is made up of hundreds of thousands of memories and narratives that are part of our very soul. At the end of our time, we will, in fact, find that our very reason to be alive is tied up in memories.

Situated on the edge of the great ocean, Gothenburg has always been a riotous mix of endurance, sparks and glamour – of beautiful buildings and heavy machinery. It’s this mixture that makes it unique. The harbour is the largest port of the Nordic countries and the dockyard (founded in 1841) is an integral part of Gothenburg’s identity. On 19th May 2014 the Götaverken dockyard was declared bankrupt and issued six months to find a new buyer or else, planned residential construction would commence. The exhibition signals this crucial fork in the road – one where we stand to lose the beating heart of our community and a piece of living history.

This exhibition sets out to explore the parallels between an industry that has lost its competitive foothold in a globalized marketplace with the work of low-tech artists; whose relevance in a highly developed marketplace has diminished due to market trends and technology. Furthermore, the exhibition will explore the transformation from the macro perspective to the human aspect; whilst standing shoulder to shoulder with many workers who have worked their entire lives in this place, and for whom this might be the end of a long tradition of passing down a heritage of work from one generation to the next. This is the telling of their story.

WILL THIS BE THE END OF A DREAM, AND THE VICTORY OF REALITY?

For the past decade, people have asked me why I still take an interest in painting the harbour. My answer is simple: “Because it’s still there”. To paint old windmills, for example, in the Netherlands has little contextual relevance with the present and at best is nothing more than a romanticized throwback that has little to say about our contemporary world. However, what I see before me in Götaverken is a thriving living and working culture, and if we’ve reached the final chapter in this maritime story my aim is to give it a fitting and dignified send off that will hopefully contribute to the way we remember what used to be.

Public Debate – concerning the past and future of Gothenburg Harbour. Featuring City Architect Björn Siesjö, sociologist Catharina Thörn, Gothenburg Dockyard Heritage Society, artist Alexander Lumsden and many more.