Karin Mamma Andersson

Karin Mamma Andersson

Paintings as Weapons

“It is the psyche of the artist that is the product, it sprung from your own well, it’s your own water,” says Sweden’s great painter Karin Mamma Andersson in this portrait. “The moment you dig into something, it becomes a sort of self-image.”

In this video Karin Mamma Andersson takes us on a tour of her studio and her extensive library of books and images that inspire her paintings – from Edward Munch to images of stripping athletes who embody the act of painting: “It struck me that the nakedness was probably the biggest parallel. You have to strip down to be seen and understood.” She describes painting and drawing as “her first language,” but painting is hard work for Mamma Andersson, a long and vulnerable process. So the artist has kept an athlete’s mind-set from her childhood days of doing sports: “When I'm on the verge of giving up, I think: ‘One more lap. You can do it!’”

The interview gives a thorough insight into Mamma Andersson’s way of working with figurative painting, which she describes as “treading on slippery ice … To work figuratively without coming off as pathetic is extremely difficult.” The artist also reflects on the vulnerability of finishing an exhibition and what it means to be an artist. “Being an artist,” says Mamma Andersson, ”is to go around in circles in different directions. You always go back to start like in a game of Monopoly.” It is a professional development that is akin to personal growth, a constant coming back to core issues to understand yourself.” For Mamma Andersson, this means always returning to painting and images: “It's through painting that I reach a psychological or political level.”

Karin Mamma Andersson (b. 1962) is one of Sweden’s most internationally acknowledged artists. She studied at the Royal University College of Fine Arts in Stockholm, at which time her nickname ‘Mamma’ was added to differentiate herself from another student with the same name. Her dreamlike, expressive compositions are often inspired by filmic imagery, theatre sets and private interiors. She is represented by Gallery Magnus Karlsson in Stockholm, and by David Zwirner Gallery in New York. Karin Mamma Andersson resides in Stockholm.

Karin Mamma Andersson was interviewed by Christian Lund in her studio in Stockholm, Sweden, February 2015.

Camera: Kasper Kiertzner
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produce by: Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017

Supported by Nordea-fonden

  • Yona Friedman

    Architecture of Trial and Error

    “Don't forget that very important cities today started by immigration.” Meet the 94-year-old architect behind 'L’Architecture Mobile', Yona Friedman. He here shares the story of how his years as a refugee sparked his desire to make architecture adaptable.

  • Nástio Mosquito

    'Mama Africa' is a Construct

    In this short interview Angolan artist Nástio Mosquito discusses his provocative video work, in which he through three blazing speeches addresses the legacy of the western logic of ownership and debt, not least regarding a construct like ‘Africa’.

  • Nástio Mosquito

    What are You Willing to Die for?

    Angolan artist Nástio Mosquito has been dubbed “the future star of the art world.” He here talks about his invigorating multidisciplinary practice, which investigates universally human characteristics in a teasing, polemic and humorous way.

  • Bill Viola

    Cameras are Soul Keepers

    When video artist Bill Viola was 6 years old he fell into a lake, all the way to the bottom, to a place which seemed like paradise. "There's more than just the surface of life." Viola explains. "The real things are under the surface".

  • 11 Artists

    on Photography

    “We are so oversaturated with images, so it’s about one question: Can I hold you - can I get you to look at an image for longer than a second?” Watch Catherine Opie, Wim Wenders, Jeff Wall and 8 other artists on the power and potential of photography.

  • The Story of Marina Abramović & Ulay

    Legendary couple in performance art – Marina Abramović and Ulay – lived together for 12 years and made pioneering work as a duo. In this extraordinary double interview the artists look back on their relationship – from their first meeting in 1975 until now.

  • Wang Shu

    Architecture is a Job for God

    The Chinese architect Wang Shu’s buildings – a crossover between traditional Chinese culture and large-scale modern architecture – have earned him prestigious awards. “Democracy means a really diverse society,” says the architect in this inspiring interview.

  • Margrethe Odgaard

    Colour Diary of New York

    Becoming more aware of your surroundings can “open a new dimension inside as well as outside yourself.” Meet award-winning Danish designer Margrethe Odgaard who has trained herself to register the world through colours.

  • Nick Cave

    The World is my Skin

    Have you ever wished that you could put on a suit which would open up the imagination and take you to the world of your dreams? In this video artist Nick Cave presents his wearable sculptures, the 'Soundsuits', made from discarded everyday materials.

  • Gerhard Richter

    In Art We Find Beauty and Comfort

    “I don’t really believe art has power. But it does have value. Those who take an interest in it find solace in art. It gives them huge comfort.” Gerhard Richter, one of the greatest painters of our time, discusses beauty in the era of the internet.

  • Daniel Libeskind

    Tribute to New York

    “If you took the whole world and collapsed it into one little ball, you’d find it here, in this city.” Daniel Libeskind, world-renowned architect behind the new World Trade Center site, gives tribute to his city in this short and colourful video.

  • Marina Abramović

    Electricity Passing Through

    For more than 50 years trailblazing performance artist Marina Abramović has used her own body and energy as her main artistic material. In this powerful interview, the artist looks back on her radical practice: “It was like the first woman walking on the moon.”