Scattered across Sweden’s coastal islands are a vast number of museums celebrating different aspects of Swedish and global culture – and many of them are hosting exciting exhibitions throughout the summer.
With its rich maritime heritage and vibrant contemporary art and design scenes, the Nordic nation of Sweden has plenty to showcase when it comes to cultural and creative output. We’ve picked out some of the best exhibitions taking place across the country over the coming summer months, which you’ll find below.
Zorn – A Swedish Superstar and Snowcrash
This major exhibition celebrates the extensive works and well-lived life of Anders Zorn, one of Sweden’s best-known artists. Visitors can marvel at the enormous breath of his talent and artistry, which is demonstrated in both famous classic works and lesser-known sides of Zorn the artist. Works on display include everything from watercolour portraits painted in London to the most famous motifs from Dalarö, via Paris and the USA and finally back to Mora in Sweden.
Nationalmuseum, Södra Blasieholmshamnen 2, Stockholm / Through 29 August 2021
MAMMA MIA! Behind The Movie Magic
Charting the making of the magical MAMMA MIA! movies – inspired by the treasure trove of songs by iconic Swedish band ABBA – this captivating interactive exhibition invites visitors to admire the spectacular costumes, see the original script and glimpse some of the props that appeared in the silver screen extravaganzas. Among the sartorial items on display include Meryl Streep’s famous dungarees, Stellan Skarsgård’s disco outfit and Lily James’s jeans.
Abba the Museum, Djurgårdsvägen 68, 115 21 Stockholm / Through December 2021
Hyperinflation – Involuntary Millionaires and Worthless Money
What happens to everyday life when money becomes worthless? This exhibition delves deep into the topic of hyperinflation, exploring what causes this kind of economic crisis, and what strategies are needed to escape it. On display are a diverse assortment of objects relating to hyperinflation throughout the ages, including the highest denomination ever – 100 million pengo – issued in Hungary after World War II, German emergency notes, a wallet and bag made from worthless Venezuelan banknotes, and a cheese coin from Russia. The exhibition also features films co-created with the Swedish National Bank about how money is created, what inflation really is and how central banks tackle it.
Economy Museum, Swedish History Museum, Historiska museet, Box 5428, 114 84 Stockholm / Through 9 January 2022
Focus on Europe: New Objectivities 1919-1939
Featuring realist works from the interwar period, this exhibition celebrates a style of painting that broke with modernism’s development towards abstraction and came to the fore in Europe during the 1920s. Exponents of this new art movement – known as ‘New Objectivity’ – depicted the world around them, the big city with its modern architecture, modes of transport and funfairs, but also still lifes and portraits. This exhibition places Swedish New Objectivity in a broader European context, featuring paintings and works on paper that provide a dynamic overview of the period and its cultural climate.
Gothenburg Museum of Art, Götaplatsen 6, 412 56 Göteborg / 12 June-19 September 2021
The Thin Line
This exhibition features works by Helsingborg-born – and now Stockholm resident – art photographer Björn Persson and offers a thought-provoking view of the magnificent animal world and its perpetual riding of the thin line between survival and extinction. Comprising of some 30 photographs, it showcases a dazzling array of African wildlife species, many of which have inhabited our planet for over 50 million years. The exhibition is a collaboration with Dunkers Culture House, a museum and art centre located in Helsingborg.
Museum of Natural History, Frescativägen 40, 114 18 Stockholm / Through 12 December 2021
This fashion-themed exhibition provides lets us peer through a window to a bygone era, inviting us to question what can be learned from a single piece of clothing, and what fashion can reveal about its time. Focusing on the period spanning 1880-1930, when clothing factories began rapidly springing up in burgeoning Gothenburg, the exhibition features everything from studio-sewn dream dresses, to a little patched up child’s jacket, which ended up as insulation for a croft.
Gothenburg City Museum, Norra Hamngatan 12, 411 14 Göteborg / Through 25 September 2021
Moving to Mars
Undertaking the first stop on its international tour, this critically acclaimed exhibition transports you to the Red Planet, a source of fascination for humans for thousands of years. Through interactive exhibits and displays, visitors can feel what it’s like to stand on the bleak and barren surface of the planet, hundreds of millions of kilometres from Earth, experiencing the smells, the light and the sand beneath your feet – all designed to tell the story of the great challenge of one day landing humans on Mars.
National Museum of Science and Technology / Through 9 January 2022
Lovisa Ringborg: Mirage
Swedish artist Lovisa Ringborg often returns to the theme of parallel states of consciousness, exploring how dreams allow us to view and experience our surroundings and even our own bodies in a new light. This exhibition features a range of her more recent photographic and video works, along with a new sculpture installation, titled Stray Dogs, consisting of a group of feline bodies set out on the floor, intended to demonstrate how dogs are so often a reflection of humankind, bred to be our companions that can appear both vulnerable and frightening when stray, without context, and undefined by their owners.
Fotografiska, Stadsgårdshamnen 22, 116 45 Stockholm / Through 29 August 2021
Contemporary fashion designers of African origin meet classic textiles from the collections of Gothenburg’s Museum of World Culture at this kaleidoscopic exhibition. Charting the story of West Africa’s ancient dynamic textile traditions through to the techniques and styles of today’s designers, it follows the thread all the way back to West Africa’s weavers, tailors, markets, colours, materials, and cuts.
Museum of World Culture, Södra Vägen 54, 412 54 Göteborg / Through 29 August 2021
Boro – The Art of Necessity
In northern Japan, the winters are cold and the people have historically been poor. A century ago, among farmers and fishermen, a distinctive craft – known as boro – was developed in which no textiles went to waste. For a long time this craft was considered a shameful reminder of poorer times in Japan, yet today boro objects are copied by luxury fashion brands and showcased in international art galleries. This exhibition features a unique collection of boro objects, as well as newly produced works by Swedish artists who were invited to create their own interpretation of the historic practice.
Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Tyghusplan, 111 49 Stockholm / Through 9 January 2022