When does craft become art?

Last week we visited EMBODIED – an exhibition at the Kulturhuset Stadsteatern in Stockholm - try pronouncing that after a few drinks! It celebrates the theme of the body in contemporary crafts. With a sound understanding of materials and techniques, the work created is meant to tear down the boundary between craft and art. There were some 'interesting' pieces...

This instillation was entitled THOSE WHO AFFECT ME by Malin Bobeck. It invited us to enter into a dark room paved with mirrors. Above was an interactive fabric which reacted to touch. Made from woven optic fibres and electrically conductive yarn that achieves a shiny surface. Apparently the work talks about the artists’ physical and emotional sense. Install some speakers and a lit dance floor and it would have definitely won me over!

The next instillation was entitled MOTHER AND FATHER (WE ARE WAITING TIL IT HAS PASSED) by Christian-Pontus Andersson. This was the most eerie piece as it looked so realistic. I watched Chuckie when I was young - there was no way I was hanging around! The wigs are made from real hair and the figures look like enlarged dolls made from hand painted porcelain. The artist explains how shifting death to a different time and place makes it easier to deal with, and the 18th Century aesthetic really appeals to him??? Awesome craftsmanship!

These pieces entitled HIDE and WATCHER by Matilda Kastel take feminist strategies as it’s starting point and are based on the artists’ experience of being objectified as a woman. HIDE was an opportunity for her to climb out of her own skin and to see it from the outside. Adding shards of glass to her work adds a contradiction to the fragility and beauty of the silicone. A great way to stop people from touching her work too I bet....I see you Matilda!

TO THE VERY SKIN by Marit Runsten is a textile sculpture made up of all the garments that the artist has worn during a normal day. They are cut into pieces and compressed and reworked into a full size skeleton. It was like looking in the mirror ;-) The garments normally represent an exterior layer have now been shifted inwards – thus becoming a supportive structure.

SURGICAL ORNAMENTATION also by Marit Runsten expresses the imagination of the brain. These works become a still life of the anatomy of thinking. We dominate our own bodies and the artist wants to rebuild it beyond its normal surface – fusing parts into surgical ornamentation and sculptural representations. I don't care what it represents - it looks cool!

An art exhibition would not be art without some penis reference now would it! FLOJTER (FLUITS), by Per B Sundberg didn't disappoint. He explains his focus is constantly changing. These 'figurations' humanly express a track he enjoys going down apparently...ok then. "Many porcelain objects have become so commonplace that one hardly notices the expression anymore. I try to see them. Some figurines are partially modeled while others I have sculpted entirely myself, for example sexual organs, dicks". Who are we to judge? ;-)