Agneta Stening

Agneta Stening wurde in Malmö (Südschweden) geboren und lebt heute in Grebbestad und Götheborg. Nach ihrem Kunststudium wurde sie Bildhauerin. Sie unterrichtet auch Steinhauen. Ihre Arbeit ist im öffentlichen Raum zu sehen, zum Beispiel auf Schulplätzen, und auch in Kunstmuseen und Sammlungen. Sie wurde verschiedentlich ausgezeichnet, so war Agneta Stening 2006 Artist in Residence in Mexico.


01.01. - 31.03.2012

Ausstellung: Licht, Zeichen und Berge

Agneta Stening, «Stair», detail, card-board, 2012

Introduction to the exhibition

Agneta Stening was born in Malmö (South Sweden) and lives today in Grebbestad and Gothenburg. After her art studies she decided she wanted to be a stone carver. This wasn’t so easy, because there weren’t many possibilities to learn stone carving then, but she managed to get the training, and by now she teaches stone carving herself. Her work can be seen in public places, like schoolyards, and also in art museums and collections, and was rewarded several times. In 2006, for instance, she was artist in residence in Mexico.

When she arrived in Bedigliora at the beginning of the year, she was amazed by the light and by the mild temperatures: it was sunny weather and it was very clear. But it shouldn’t stay this way all the time – since afterwards she would also experience very cold and snowy days. Of course she hadn’t taken stones and carving instruments with her; that would have been far too heavy. She just had some oil sticks, paint, cardboard and paper. She decided to do a project on the light that fascinated her. She cut a frame out of black paper, put photo paper in it and exposed it to the light, every day at the same time, for the same amount of hours. When it was very sunny, the figure is sharper and darker than when it was cloudy. The artist arranged those papers like a diary, and noted every day the exact time the sun would rise and set in Gothenburg, not far from where she lives in Sweden, and in Milano, not so far from here.

The light was also at the origin of another work you can see in the house, the photographs in the kitchen: they show the shadows of the wastebasket on the wall. When you look at the wastebasket, you would never make the connection to those mysterious photographs – here again, the sun is responsible for the transformation of the object.

Another motif that fascinated Agneta Stening in her new environment were the stairs: she noticed there were stairs everywhere: outside, in the walking trails, in the gardens, in the village lanes, in front of the houses – and also inside the Casa Atelier. She was intrigued by the stairs and started making them herself, out of the cardboard she had taken with her. When you got the invitation card, maybe you wondered, like me, what size the stair on the photo would be. In my imagination it was quite big, and I was amazed when I saw it really was rather little. This might be because they are so perfectly made, with the black lining emphasizing the contour, and the broken edges, making it look a bit rough and irregular and thus more lively. Maybe it’s also because when we see a stair, we just imagine ourselves on it. A stair is a very concrete thing we use every day, but it is also a symbol for our life. Not that we always climb upstairs – sometimes we also go downstairs, and sometimes, as we can see here, stairs don’t lead anywhere really, we take steps and when we’re up, we see we just have to return downstairs and try some other steps.

Like stairs, roads and walking trails are also an image of our life. Agneta Stening walked around a lot; she explored the whole area around the Casa Atelier. Here again, she was inspired by what she saw: On the streets, there are special signs she didn’t know from Sweden – you might have seen them on the asphalt just before the entrance of Bedigliora. For the car drivers, those signs have specific meanings. They’re meant to point out something, to pass a message – but when you see them on the wall, painted by Agneta Stening, they acquire a new signification. They live through the visual effect of colour and shape. They don’t make us act, but they make us look or be different.

Agneta Stening’s many walks around Bedigliora can be followed on the wall: She knitted the track with a golden and a silver wire and put them in the shape of the itinerary on the card. In between, she printed the height marking of the places she passed on her way. She also painted the shapes of the itineraries, making them look like strange black animals. The knot or the black point on these works is the point she left and she came back to – it’s Bedigliora. Agneta Stening thought she had taken a tube of black painting, but she suddenly discovered the tube she had brought was really a yellow one. At first she was so mad at herself that she didn’t open the yellow tube for six weeks – but finally she opened it and she used it. And now we can see that what seems to be a mistake in art (as well as in life) may sometimes turn out well.

Finally, the linings of the hills and the mountains accompanied the artist, looking out of the windows, staying on the balcony, walking around. She shaped those lines with cardboard as well, making them into a different kind of objects: they are not regular, human made artefacts like stairs, but natural forms grown over many, many years she reshaped in her way.

«Light, Signs, Mountains»: This is the title Agneta Stening has given her exhibition, and these three words may well stand for three concrete aspects of her stay in Bedigliora – but also for three important aspects of life.


Ruth Gantert