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

  • 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.

  • Joan Jonas

    Advice to the Young

    “Love what you do. Because it’s not easy. It’s not easy to make art.” Watch as the iconic video and performance artist Joan Jonas advises her younger colleagues to enjoy what they’re doing as you never know how people will respond to your work.

  • 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.

  • Siri Hustvedt

    A Person Apart

    According to bestselling author Siri Hustvedt, the election of Donald Trump marks a new split in the population of the US. Hear Hustvedt on her political awakening, the biases in contemporary society and writing in challenging times.

  • Dan Graham

    Advice to the Young

    “Don’t make art as a career,” says award-winning American artist Dan Graham. “Because that means you’re just doing the same boring things that you reacted against in the beginning.”

  • Catherine Opie

    A World Beyond Selfies

    “I was never an optimist in thinking that my images would change laws. But I certainly thought that I would be able to create a history.” Catherine Opie, photographer of minority groups and subcultures, can be both political and very internal.

  • Katinka

    No Glitter Added

    “I’m just a girl with a ukulele,” says up-and-coming Danish singer-songwriter Katinka, who tries hard not to become too self-conscious. “It’s not an image or a persona. It’s just me.”

  • Ed Ruscha

    Tribute to L.A.

    “New York was the absolute centre of the art world. We were like Australia.” Ed Ruscha, the quintessential Los Angeles artist, remembers L.A. in the 1950s: a dusty outback of the establishment. Hear about the city that continues to fascinate him.

  • 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.”

  • Daniel Richter

    On Vienna vs. Berlin

    “As ‘a working tourist’ in Vienna you see all these smells of the past and not all of them are disgusting.” Hear why German painter Daniel Richter prefers Vienna – where he works as professor at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste Wien – over Berlin.

  • Sjón

    Advice to the Young

    Remember what excited you when you were a child, and carry that enthusiasm onwards. Award-winning writer Sjón here advises young writers not to be embarrassed by what initially inspired them: “All of us come to culture through trash.”