1 June – 25 August 2024

Åsa Sonjasdotter: Cultivating Abundance

The combination of plant cultivation and sourced archival material forms the basis of Åsa Sonjasdotter’s artistic practice, which investigates social and ecological relations.

The combination of plant cultivation and sourced archival material forms the basis of Åsa Sonjasdotter’s artistic practice, which investigates social and ecological relations. In her work, Sonjasdotter reactivates overlooked knowledges of cultivation and demonstrates how the genetic information coded in crops is also a memory bank common to both humans and plants.

The exhibition features three central works by Sonjasdotter, addressing eco-political questions through collaboration with artists, farmers, and researchers from various geographic and social backgrounds.

Cultivating Abundance (2022) is a film that revisits the period, from the 1880s onwards, when industrial farming techniques for breeding monoculture crops were invented at the Swedish Seed Association at Svalöv. The film also lets us follow how the seed association Allkorn retrieves the peasant-bred grains that were lost with this change. In the inner courtyard of Lunds konsthall, Sonjasdotter will build a site-specific highrise bed for the cultivation of crops included in her work, as well as those used by Agnes Denes.

The film is shown alongside two collaborative projects: It Is Called a Kale Bed, Because There Is Always Kale in It (Kålgården kallas så för att det alltid finns kål i den, with Mercè Torres Ràfols, 2023) and Andretta – Om minne som praktik, potatisodling och en socialistisk modellby i DDR (Adretta:On Memory as Practice, Potato Cultivation and a Socialist Model Village in the GDR, with Elske Rosenfeld and Mikhail Lylov, 2012–ongoing).

Åsa Sonjasdotter (born in Helsingborg, raised in Lund, Sweden, in 1966) lives and works on the island of Ven in Sweden and in the city of Berlin in Germany. She is a doctoral researcher of artistic practice at HDK-Valand – Academy of Art and Design at the University of Gothenburg.

Her projects and exhibitions have been presented in contexts such as the Singapore Biennale, the EVA International biennale in Limerick, the Bergen Assembly, Biennale Warszawa, the Gothenburg Biennale, the Delfina Foundation in London, M HKA in Antwerp, nGbK and the Botanical Museum in Berlin, Badischer Kunstverein in Karlsruhe, Kasseler Kunstverein (forthcoming), the Henie Onstad Art Centre in Oslo, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Fransisco, Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris and the Museum of Natural History in Berlin.

Sonjasdotter participated in the Sapporo International Arts Festival in Japan, dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel and the 3rd Guangzhou Triennial in China. She is the author of the publication Peace with the Earth – Tracing Agricultural Memory, Refiguring Practice (Berlin: Archive Books, 2018). She is the editor of the English translation of Elisabeth Tamm’s and Elin Wägner’s book Peace with the Earth (Berlin: Archive Books, 2021, original title Fred med Jorden. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1940).

Between 2015 and 2019, Åsa Sonjasdotter was a founding member of Nachbarschaftsakademie, a bottom-up learning site in Prinzessinnengarten in Berlin. From 2007, she led the foundation of the Academy of Contemporary Art in Tromsø, North Norway,

Image: Åsa Sonjasdotter, Film still: Cultivating Abundance. 64 min. film, 2022, made in dialogue with the Grain Association Allkorn, plant breeder Hans Larsson. Courtesy of the artist.

Curators: Laura Goldschmidt and Åsa Nacking

 

Public defence of Åsa Sonjasdotter's PhD titled "Towards Peasant Cultivation of Abundance"