When it comes to the work of Gunnel Wåhlstrand I don’t really know where to begin. This picture doesn’t do it justice; it looks like a photo when in fact is a painting of a photo, which in real life is as tall as I am. When you go up close the details is incredible, I can only imagine the time that went into it.
Time is rather the point of the works I guess. Wåhlstrand lost her father early in life and has expressed the painstaking time reproducing photos of him as a way of spending time with him; then she started on the rest of the family. In the process of rendering these photographs so much bigger there is also an intimacy conveyed, with every brushstroke visible to see.
They are very emotional, even for someone who has no connections to her family; these photographs are the kind found in every old album. From before a time when a photo is taken in an instant with a phone, when it had a different kind of worth and function.
The exhibit that is currently at Magasin III in Stockholm was wonderful to see; as you can gather I’m a fan of her work. I’ve seen some before and I’m fascinated by them as well as soothed. There is something very comforting about them. They are not showy, they don’t aim to provoke but rather make you reflect. Their stillness invites contemplation and the slow pace of their production feels almost revolutionary in this day and age.
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