Åsa Jungnelius 1975, Sweden
Åsa Jungnelius could, along with predecessors Eric Höglund and Kjell Engman, be considered among the most expressive practitioners of Swedish glass art. Her work displays a grandiose and absolutely fearless wielding of the authority of the glass in contexts that bring to mind both flashy design and the world of advertising. Many think of giant lipsticks, perfume bottles and red lips when Jungnelius’ name is mentioned. Or for that matter, the colossal vagina that often features in her exhibits.
Participating in OpenART often means that the artist must make some concessions to the space in which their work will be shown. In Jungnelius’ case, she has chosen to open a discourse with an existing work in Henry Allards park: the statue of The Liberator by Karl Hultström . There, she presents the integrated installation The Constant Struggle, which both equivocally and implicitly takes up a recurring theme for the artist – the battle between the sexes and the fight for gender equality. It is also an address to the masculine national romantic culture that prevailed at the turn of the previous century.
Jungnelius takes this titan lifting the stone block one step further and liberates the life-giving wellspring from Hultström’s statue. An indeterminate sculptural creation now stands behind Hultström’s titan, provocative in its stark contrast in both material and form with that of the naturalistic male figure cast in bronze.
By constructing a well, Åsa Jungnelius has harnessed the source of power in the original sculpture and made it into a structure that benefits all of society. The kitchen garden planted nearby receives its water from this wellspring to cultivate the potatoes to feed us all.
A clear position is taken here, one that points away from the solitary male titan to a more positive and protective (and more female) force that can convey us onward.