The interdisciplinary group VAVD Editions worked on “The Aerial Kit” from 1984 to 1989, in the shadow of the 1980s art boom. This group consisted of the artists Peter Andersson (project manager) and Måns Wrange, the designer and literary historian Lars Svensson, the international law researcher Pål Wrange, and the aviation expert Roland Zinders.
By Efi Michalarou
Photo: Moderna Museet Archive
VAVD Editions was assisted by a loose network of experts and specialists. Based on some 15 more or less life stories, events and phenomena between 1809 and 1989, the project “The Aerial Kit” (1983-89) explores how air space has been used for existential, visionary or subversive purposes in the Nordic region. The stories are all locally rooted but their content is universal and is based on extensive research of documents, artefacts, recordings, news articles, photographs, rumors and oral history spanning from 1809 to 1989. The work deals with Norwegian ski jumping as existential philosophy, how the accordion hit Säkkijärven Polkka was used to prevent radio detonation of mines during the Finnish-Soviet Winter War, the architect Olof Timme’s utopian plans for his home town of Örebro, the writer Carl Fredrik Gyllembourg’s failed plot against King Gustav IV Adolf with balloons made of hog’s bladders, and how the farmer Martin Swingberg in the late 1960s built an air strip in his field and became a precursor to today’s bloggers through his creative use of answerphones. “The Aerial Kit” resulted in a multiple similar to the artist Marcel Duchamp’s mini museum “boite a valise”. The yellow box contains sound, objects, moving images, text and documents, and a book based on investigations in museums, libraries, archives, oral sources and documentation tours in the Nordic countries. The work evoked a lukewarm response when it was first presented in Sweden, but has recently achieved cult status, and was mentioned, in the magazine OEI’s history of Swedish conceptualism. Parts of the project were exhibited at Kunstverein Hamburg in 1988, and the critic and curator Bruce W. Ferguson wrote an essay about it in 1990.
Info: Curator: Måns Wrange, Moderna Museet, Skeppsholmen, Stockholm, Duration: 25/11/17-18/2/18, Days & Hours: Tue-Sun 11:00-18:00, www.modernamuseet.se