EXHIBITION: SWEDENBORG’S LUSTHUS: ON MEMORY AND PLACE
EVENT: EXHIBITION: SWEDENBORG’S LUSTHUS: ON MEMORY AND PLACE
DATE: 29th January 2024 - 5th April 2024
TIME: 10AM to 5PM MONDAY to FRIDAY
VENUE: SWEDENBORG HOUSE GALLERY
ARTIST/S: SHOWCASING PREVIOUSLY UNSEEN ITEMS FROM THE SWEDENBORG COLLECTION PLUS WORKS BY CHLOE ARIDJIS, DANIEL BIRNBAUM, ANONYMOUS BOSCH, PETER CARTWRIGHT, JOHN CHRISTIE, S T COLERIDGE, MARK RILEY, IAIN SINCLAIR, BRIDGET SMITH, EMANUEL SWEDENBORG, BEN WICKEY, KEN WORPOLE
CURATOR/S: STEPHEN MCNEILLY
Part reliquary, part sanctum and part tourist attraction, Swedenborg’s lusthus has long been an object of pilgrimage and curiosity.
Built as a wooden retreat at the far end of his garden in Stockholm in 1747 and serving as a focal point for his writing and otherworldly conversations, it has come to stand as an emblematic presence of his visionary legacy for over 250 years.
Described as early as 1766 as ‘a kind of temple, to which he often retired for contemplation’ with ‘dim religious light’ it has since been used as a shed for storage, a hideout for a gang of thieves, a house of repose, the site of musical performances and poetry incantations and also as a filmic backdrop. Today it sits in Skansen, the open-air museum in Stockholm, and has been an inspiration for writers and artists for over 200 years.
Showcasing new works by Bridget Smith, Anonymous Bosch, Mark Riley, Ben Wickey, John Christie, Daniel Birnbaum, Iain Sinclair and others — and in conjunction with previously unseen artefacts on loan from the Center of Swedenborgian Studies in the US — this immersive and multi-media exhibition explores the unique spatial conditions of this enigmatic eighteenth-century building and the broader question of the relationship between place, dwelling and the conditions of our visionary states.
The exhibition is curated by the Society’s Museum Director Stephen McNeilly and is part of a series of ongoing projects connecting artefacts held in the collection at Swedenborg House to the broader framework of contemporary art practices. Previous exhibitions include Concerning an Idea about Place. The launch coincides with the publication of a new book of the same name. For more information please click on the thumbnail image above.
PHOTO: Stephen McNeilly
CHLOE ARIDJIS is the author of three novels, Book of Clouds, which won the Prix du premier roman étranger in France, Asunder, set in London’s National Gallery, and Sea Monsters, awarded the 2020 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.
ANONYMOUS BOSCH is a photographer, cinematographer and filmmaker. He is known for his work on Sea Fever (2012), By Our Selves (2015) Aisling Sheòrais Mhicdhòmhnaill (George Macdonald’s Dreams) (2015) and The Whalebone Box (2019).
PETER CARTWRIGHT is one of the leading artists to emerge from the Royal College of Art, and is a contemporary of David Hockney and R B Kitaj. He has exhibited widely throughout the UK, and his work has been purchased by several major collections.
JOHN CHRISTIE is a visual artist, broadcast film-maker, and maker of artists’ books. He has produced more than 20 limited editions for Circle Press and Objectif, and is a founding member of the award-winning East Anglian publisher Full Circle Editions. Alongside John Berger, he co-authored the award-winning book I Send You This Cadmium Red.
DANIEL BIRNBAUM is the artistic director of Acute Art, a laboratory for art and digital media in London. 2010-2018 he was the director of Moderna Museet in Stockholm. He is a contributing editor of Artforum. In 2009 he curated the Venice Biennale.
MARK RILEY is an artist, writer, and senior Lecturer in Photography at the University of Roehampton. He has exhibited installation projects at the Manchester Metropolitan University, The APT Gallery and the Oxford House Gallery. He has also written widely on Heidegger, Tarkovsky and place.
IAIN SINCLAIR has lived in and written about London since 1969. A renowned poet, essayist and writer of fiction, his novels include Downriver, for which he won the James Tait Black Prize and the Encore Prize, and Dining on Stones which was shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize.
BRIDGET SMITH is a London-based artist represented by Frith Street Gallery. She has exhibited her work internationally, featuring in public collections in Austria, Spain, Mexico, the USA and the UK (including the V&A and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art).
BEN WICKEY is an artist, writer, and animator from Cape Ann, Massachusetts. His illustrations can be found in such books as Ki Longfellow’s The Illustrated Vivian Stanshall and Alan Moore and Steve Moore’s The Moon and Serpent Bumper Book of Magic.
KEN WORPOLE is a writer and social historian whose distinctive work includes books on architecture, landscape and public policy. A new edition of his pioneering book, Modern Hospice Design: the architecture of palliative and social care, has just been published.
STEPHEN MCNEILLY is an editor, writer, artist, curator and museum director of Swedenborg House, and one of the leading scholars on Swedenborg in the UK. He has curated numerous exhibitions and events, the most recent being Concerning an Idea about Place (2023) and is the editor of numerous books including Swedenborg’s Lusthus.
Also including an audio recording by organist KARIN STRID.
Header and poster images by Anonymous Bosch. Poster designs by the Quinn Fizzlers.
Swedenborg House Team
Assistant Curator: Anya Reeve
Exhibition Manager: Jacob Cartwright
Social Media: Rebekka Cartwright
Audio and Technical: Alex Murray
Archive and Research: James Wilson
Marketing: Denise Prentise
Financial Planning: Anthony Finnigan
Gallery lighting: Jason Conroy
Head of Contractors: Bill Osment
Special thanks to Devin Zuber and Rebekka Esterson of the Center for Swedenborgian Studies (CSS) in the US and to the Skansen open-air Museum, in Sweden.