Jockum Nordström | Bruno Knutman

Aug 16, 2020


Sep 27, 2020

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Exhibition opening: 15.08.2020 at 1 p.m.

Jockum Nordström (b. 1963) and Bruno Knutman (1930-2017) are two distinctive artists who, through patience, have created personal and unique worlds of images. They have both made a great impression in their time, and have inspired many other artists. Despite the fact that they come from different generations and backgrounds, there are several points of contact, both on an artistic and personal level. In their art, Nordström and Knutman have worked transgressive with different materials and techniques, but drawing has been fundamental them for both.

Work on the exhibition, "Vem gick i trappan?" began with Jockum Nordström being invited by Tegnerforbundet to exhibit in Oslo. Nordström is an internationally recknown artist, but his work has rarely been shown in Norway. Therefore it was important and exciting for him to do this exhibition. It was clear that this was going to be an exhibition of drawings. Although the term drawing can be seen in a broad sense, and includes large parts of Nordström's art, he chose to focus on pencil drawings for this exhibition at Tegnerforbundet . 

When we started discussing the work and content, Bruno Knutman's name appeared. Knutman, who passed away in 2017, was an early role model for Nordström. They met regularly over the years and a mutual respect and sense of kinship grew. Knutman's art has seldom been exhibited in Norway, most recently at the exhibition Ung Skandinavisk Kunst at Galleri F15 in Moss in 1968.

In the exhibition, we are presented with a personal selection of Jockum Nordström's pencil drawings from the mid-90s until today. Drawing has not only been a common thread throughout his art, but throughout his whole life. Nordström has said that he never stopped drawing - from his childhood, creating images continued on into adulthood. Here we find a direct parallel to Bruno Knutman's world of images. Knutman often returned to his own childhood drawings, for him vital motifs, and he created his own iconography that developed throughout his life. Both artists have a strong connection with their inner child: In Knutman's case, more directly in terms of motifs and the autobiographical, with Nordström as an incomplete chaper and a search for something authentic and not overly processed. The works of Bruno Knutman in the exhibition has been chosen by Jockum Nordström. It is a series of felt-tip pen drawings that Knutman made in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Some of them have been exhibited before, but also gained cult status through the book Runt hörnet (Kalejdoskops förlag, 1986).

In a catalog text for Bruno Knutman's exhibition Här står vargen för dörren at Lund Art Gallery 2010, Anders Kreuger tries to capture the essence of Knutman's art:
One is impressed by his visual and technical skill, but perhaps even more so by his unpredictability, his work beyond any movements in art history and his lack of interest in any measurement of quality. His ability to set aside and reevaluate all acquired knowledge every single time to get where he wants to go is crucial. - to the eternal new picture story about the Self.

It does not seem like a coincidennce that Jockum Nordström a few years later calls his exhibition at the museum LaM in Lille Tout ce que j'ai appris puis oublié , ie Here is everything I learned and forgotten . In both artists there is a deep concentration and a presence that is manifested in their works. It is creation of images that is not result-oriented, but rather created out of necessity. Jockum describes drawing as follows in the book For the Insects and the Hounds (Zeno X / Koenig Books 2019):
“The line is primitive and simple. It's hard to draw. It always requires full concentration. Without concentration, it is hopeless. It's like sleeping without sleep. A whole world must start. The line is close to the hand. At an arm's length distance. You have to draw again and again for something to happen. Or at least until you think there is something there. I do not draw to create good pictures. There is another driving force. It is not an exercise either, but it is a precondition."

The interest in history, both the past and the narrative, is also something that unites the artists. Dan Jönsson writes in the catalog text of the exhibition Nattstycke at Galleri Magnus Karlsson 2018 about Bruno Knutman's relationship to time:
Knutman uses moods and memories from a bygone era not to reconstruct and facilitate what was, but rather the opposite, to save it from the past and highlight it in the light of the present. The visual world he builds is the universe of the contemporary, outside of stories and in middle of it. A world where the past and the present are intertwined. Round and round.

Katarina Wadstein Macleod discusses a similar notions about Jockum Nordström in the book For the Insects and the Hounds :
Nordström shows with his art that we are in the time of dialogue. In a give-and-take relationship, between artist and viewer, between the human world and animals, between high society and popular culture, between past and present. The world that meets us in "For the Insects and the Hounds" takes place for several periods of time at the same time. There we are both in a contemporary and in a historical time and art.

It may be interesting to compare two artists in this way to see what unites them, but of course there are as many differences as similarities. The hope is that the exhibition creates an exciting dialogue between them, at the same time as it illuminates and deepens the understanding of the two individual artists.

We would like to thank Jockum Nordström and Galleri Magnus Karlsson for their cooperation, and for giving us this opportunity. Thanks to Västerås Art Museum, Royal. Akademien för de fria konsterna, Stockholm, Birgitta Knutman and family, and to private owners, for loans of works for the exhibition.



Jockum Nordström (b. 1963) is one of Sweden's most outstanding artists. He has exhibited regularly since the late 1980s, and had an international breakthrough in 2000. In 2005, the solo exhibition A Stick in the Forest was shown at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. In 2013, the solo exhibition All I Have Learned and Forgotten Again from LaM Lille toured the Camden Arts Center in London. In 2018, the solo exhibition Why is Everything a Rag was shown at CAC, New Orleans. During 2020, in addition to the exhibition in Oslo, two major solo exhibitions will be arranged, at Skissernas Museum in Lund and Le Criée in Rennes, France. Jockum Nordström is represented in the collections at e.g. MoMA, New York, George Pompidou Center, Paris, LaM, Lille, SFMoMA, San Francisco, Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Magazine III, Stockholm, Moderna Museet Stockholm, SMAK Gent. He is represented by Gallery Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm, Zeno X, Antwerp and David Zwirner, New York / London.

Bruno Knutman (1930–2017) received his education at Valand Art Academy and Polytechnic Art School in London in the 1950s. He made his debut in Stockholm at Lilla Paviljongen in 1957 and had a retrospective solo exhibition in Lund konsthall and Södertälje konsthall in 1982. During the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s he received much attention for his ink drawings, many of which have been collected in the book Runt Hörnet ( Kaleidoscope Publishers, 1986). In 1998, the exhibition Homo Sapiens was shown at Ystad Art Museum and Liljevalch Art Gallery. In the 2000s, he returned with the solo exhibition Here the Wolf is at the Door in Lund Art Gallery and Allvarstider at Galleri Magnus Karlsson. In addition, since the 1960s he has regularly had both solo and group exhibitions, as well as made decorations. His art can be found in many private collections and museums, among others. a. Moderna Museet and Nationalmuseum in Stockholm. When Bruno Knutman passed away in 2017, he had completed the exhibition Nightpiece , which was posthumously shown at Galleri Magnus Karlsson in the spring of 2018. During 2018, a selection of his paintings was shown at the São Paulo Biennale in Brazil.


On the occasion of the exhibition Vem gick i trappan? Tegnerforbundet and Numer presents an artist talk between Jockum Nordström and Kim Hiorthøy.