SSE Art Initiative is very pleased to present a new site-specific installation by the internationally active artist Ylva Snöfrid, through a donation by Alexandra and Michael Storåkers. During a two-week long ritual painting performance outside the school's great oak door, Ylva Snöfrid created four paintings that have now been installed through a ritual dinner performance in the school's grand Auditorium, in a building designed by Ivar Tengbom in 1925. The work From the Eyes of the Painter, An Outdoor Performance Ritual, 2018 is a multi-part installation that has been created for several weeks on-site at the School of Economics in front of the school's students and passers-by who have been able to follow the creative process hour by hour, day by day. In a personal reflective text, President of SSE, Lars Strannegård writes about the significance of the work in our time as well as its historical connotations.
Text about Ylva Snöfrid's work for the Stockholm School of Economics
by Lars Strannegård, President of the Stockholm School of Economics and Professor of Business Administration
This summer, the artist Ylva Snöfrid sat outside the Business School's gate with a mirror in one hand and his brush in the other. She painted what she saw in the mirror: her own eye and the pictures from the School's surroundings that were reflected in the eye.
This performance resulted in four paintings titled "From the Eyes of the Painter". The next step in the artistic work was to install the four paintings in the School of Applied Sciences' aula, in the four niches there. The result has become four eyes that see the one in the aula: lecturer as well as the audience.
The associations go to the French philosopher Michel Foucault's idea of panoptism, which in many ways describes the time we live in. Panopticon is a form of construction for prisons where the prison cells are located in a round building with openings in the courtyard. In the middle of the courtyard stands a tower where a prison guard has a total overview. The prisoners do not know whether they are supervised or not, but the architecture creates a feeling and reminder of constant monitoring.
Today's digital world has made surveillance ubiquitous. Our computers and mobile phones leave digital tracks. Big data makes it possible to map our behaviors, the cashless society charts our lives, and what is called the Social Credit System in China makes it possible to quantify the citizens' friendliness, adherence and emotional expression. Big brothers and big sisters are everywhere.
"From the Eyes of the Painter" is a work that is completely in line with the School of Economics' ambition to increase reflection among students and visitors. In all its simplicity, Ylva Snöfrid's artwork is both a picture of the mind and an image of the possibilities of reflection to make us see the world from other perspectives. The art installation is in its entirety a generous donation from the HHS alumni Alexandra and Michael Storåkers.