Jan Håfström, 2003

The perpetual return

20 september – 9 november
Tues–Fri 12–16, Wed 12–21
sat–Sun 13–17

Throughout his artistic career, Håfström has remained open to trying new forms of artistic expression. These divergences are followed by the continual return to the memory of the place of childhood, which lives on in a far from uncomplicated manner in Jan Håfström and his artistic work. He returns to this world of Sunday School and Jules Verne to meet the unknown embodied in Tarzan’s jungle or within the Phantom or Robinson Crusoe. When he comes back he brings an intellectual analysis of the colonial exoticism as distinctive portrayals of “the other world”. Håfström uses language, the analytical observations, alongside an intuitive approach.

With this exhibition at the Baltic Art Center, Jan Håfström closes the circle. The exhibition includes a large number of his earliest works, children’s drawings in comic book format. The Phantom is the obvious centerpiece. This good hero is deputy to the Sunday School Jesus or to the father figure who is continuously en route to new adventures. But when the Phantom returns now he is more complicated and multifaceted. A good person can conceal an evil person, which is the case with Walker. He conceals Joseph Conrad’s Kurtz, colonialism and our western attitude.

Jan Håfström is one of the country’s foremost artists and, since his debut in 1966, has had an extensive number of exhibitions in Sweden and internationally. He has represented Sweden at the Venice Biennial, participated in the inception of PS1 in New York and has received the prestigious Carnegie Art Award.

Click on the images to enlarge them.